Order Fixing August 28, 2019 as the Day on which that Act Comes into Force: SI/2019-86
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 17
SI/2019-86 August 21, 2019
AN ACT TO ENACT THE IMPACT ASSESSMENT ACT AND THE CANADIAN ENERGY REGULATOR ACT, TO AMEND THE NAVIGATION PROTECTION ACT AND TO MAKE CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS TO OTHER ACTS
Order Fixing August 28, 2019 as the Day on which that Act Comes into Force
P.C. 2019-1186 August 7, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 196(1) of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, chapter 28 of the Statutes of Canada, 2019, fixes August 28, 2019 as the day on which that Act, other than sections 2 to 8, subsection 47(4), sections 55 and 60, subsection 61(5) and sections 62, 74 and 189 to 195, comes into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to section 196(1) of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (the Act), Statutes of Canada, 2019, chapter 28, this Order fixes August 28, 2019, as the date on which the Impact Assessment Act, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, and the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, come into force, except for
- Sections 2 to 8, section 60, and subsection 61(5), which come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council; and
- Subsection 47(4) and sections 55, 62, 74 and 189 to 195, which came into force upon royal assent of the Act.
This Order brings into force the Act, which directly addresses the Government’s commitment in the 2015 Speech from the Throne to introduce new environmental assessment processes. These new processes are intended to protect the environment, grow the economy, ensure public trust, and ensure meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples and communities.
In January 2016, the Government of Canada announced interim guidance and principles for project reviews and launched a comprehensive process in June 2016, to review existing laws and to seek Canadians’ input on how to improve Canada’s environmental and regulatory system. Two expert panels were mandated to 1) review Canada’s environmental assessment processes and 2) to conduct a targeted review of the National Energy Board’s structure, role and mandate under the National Energy Board Act. The expert panels engaged broadly with Indigenous peoples, interested stakeholders, provinces and territories, as well as the public. In total, the expert panels consulted with more than 2 200 Canadians, and received 597 presentations and over 1 250 comments.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities studied the Navigation Protection Act at the outset of the legislative review process. The Committee heard from 17 witnesses and received 256 written submissions. Another 92 submissions were received during government engagement on the Act.
After taking into account the recommendations from the expert panels and the parliamentary committee, the Government released a discussion paper, which presented a proposed approach to environmental and regulatory reviews, inviting Canadians to provide comments. The Government further engaged with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, environmental groups, industry, and the public, receiving more than 2 800 online comments and more than 375 written submissions.
On February 8, 2018, the Government of Canada introduced the Act in the House of Commons. Based in large part on the recommendations of the expert panels, as well as extensive consultations with Canadians, the Act, which received royal assent on June 21, 2019, seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- Ensuring public trust;
- Protecting the environment;
- Ensuring good projects go ahead and resources get to market;
- Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; and
- Introducing modern safeguards.
To provide for the orderly implementation of the new regulatory and legislative framework, the Government of Canada is providing for an appropriate transition period by setting a coming-into-force date of August 28, 2019, on which all provisions of the Act will come into force, with the exception of
- Sections 2 to 8, which pertain to the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). These sections mostly pertain to requiring the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to refer an impact assessment of a designated project that includes physical activities regulated by the CanadaNewfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board or the CanadaNova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to a review panel. The offshore provisions are subject to a separate Order in Council and will come into force on a date specified by the Governor in Council.
- The separate coming-into-force timeline respects the unique joint federal-provincial management arrangements under the Canada–Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act.
- Section 60 and subsection 61(5), which pertain to the public registry of the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, a new online registry that will contain information about projects and regulatory approvals. These amendments will come into force on a date specified by the Governor in Council that is not earlier than one day after the coming into force of the Act.
- Sections 189 to 195 of the Act, which pertain to amendments to other acts. These are coordinating amendments to ensure consistency with other acts or provisions of other acts that are not yet in force.
The Government has approved the necessary resources and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (to become the Impact Assessment Agency when the Act comes into force) and its partners have been working with other federal organizations, lifecycle regulators, provinces and territories, and stakeholders to support the implementation of the new impact assessment system once the Act comes into force.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the National Energy Board Act, and the January 2016 interim principles continue to apply until the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act come into force on August 28, 2019.
The development of the Act was significantly informed by the recommendations from two expert panels, the House of Commons including two standing committees, the Senate including one standing committee, and extensive consultation with provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, environmental groups, industry, and the public.
During the legislative process, the Act was informed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities study and was considered by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (ENVI). ENVI held 14 days of meetings, heard from 117 witnesses, and received 150 written submissions from individuals and organizations across Canada. Amendments made by the Committee focused on
- increasing certainty for industry;
- ensuring trust;
- advancing reconciliation; and
- strengthening public participation.
The Act was also studied by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. From February until May 2019, the Senate Committee conducted 37 meetings, heard from more than 275 witnesses, and received 121 written submissions. The Committee also heard from witnesses in 10 cities across eastern and western Canada. The Senate made a number of amendments to the Act, including
- enhancing public participation and transparency, within guidelines set by the Impact Assessment Agency;
- improving certainty and predictability, including by maintaining the objective of “one project, one review,” and clarifying the roles of lifecycle regulators and provinces;
- limiting ministerial discretion, by providing authority to the Impact Assessment Agency and clarifying the roles of ministers; and
- clarifying economic considerations, the role of regional and strategic assessments, and the nature of adverse effects.
The Act received royal assent on June 21, 2019.
During the transition period until the coming into force of the Act, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, and industry to prepare for the implementation of the new impact assessment system.
Assistant Deputy Minister
Interdepartmental Task Team on the Environmental and Regulatory Reviews
Environment and Climate Change Canada/Natural Resources Canada