Ottawa unveils interim plan for environment agency after court rules it unconstitutional – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – October 26, 2023)

Ottawa is suspending the environment minister’s authority to force major energy or mining projects to be judged for environmental impact as part of a temporary operating plan for the Impact Assessment Agency after the Supreme Court ruled it encroached on provincial jurisdiction.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced a series of provisions for the agency that will be in force until the government makes amendments to the Impact Assessment Act. The interim operating plan is aimed at making sure projects now in the process of seeking approvals will have “have an orderly and clear path forward,” he said in a statement.

Until the court’s ruling this month, projects that fell within a list of physical activities would be assessed by the agency, and the minister could exercise discretionary authority to bring the IAA into a regulatory process if he decided that a project could affect areas of federal jurisdiction, including species, water bodies or Indigenous lands.

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