OTTAWA — The Liberal government is proposing new rules that would require resource companies to consult with Ottawa and Indigenous communities on major projects well before the firms finalize their plans and apply for regulatory approval.
The companies would also be expected to provide greater opportunities for partnership with Indigenous peoples, and seek their consent for developments that impact their traditional territory, although they would not have a veto.
The Liberals released a discussion paper Thursday that proposes sweeping changes to the federal regulatory review process for major resource projects, undoing many of the controversial changes put in place by the Conservatives just five years ago. The government plans to introduce legislation by the end of the year.
Its proposals call for additional environmental protection and increased public and Indigenous involvement in decision-making in the review period, while insisting the new regime will “ensure good projects go ahead and resources get to market.”
Under the plan, the government would establish a single agency responsible for assessing federally designated projects. In addition to environmental impacts, the review would consider social, health and economic aspects of a project and require a gender-based analysis.