BC Chamber presents to Senate Standing Committee on C-69: 4/9/2019
BC Chamber presents to Senate Standing Committee on Bill C-69
Yesterday in Vancouver, the BC Chamber of Commerce offered testimony on Bill C-69 in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
The Federal government hopes Bill C-69 will remedy some inherent flaws in the current Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012) and create more certainty as major linear infrastructure project attempt to “get to yes." But the Canadian and BC Chambers believe the Bill in it’s current form will fall short.
The goal of the BC Chamber was to speak to the importance of our resource sector – a driving economic force in BC and Canada – and ensure that vital amendments to the Bill were tabled for consideration. These proposed amendments will ultimately create greater clarity, transparency and accountability for both Indigenous communities and proponents alike, and allow Canada to get back on track with key projects and attract new investment.
The proposed amendments:
- Ministerial Discretion: Ministerial discretion should be spread across the cabinet table, adding the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, as well as an economic minister to provide a broader scope of decision-making authority. Additionally, economic benefits of a given project must also be considered – a practice adopted by other G7 nations.
- Public Participation: Bill C-69 must include a mechanism that defines the nature and scope of public participation.
- Federal Backstop: Indigenous communities and companies would be compensated when a project cannot proceed due to errors made by the government in either its assessment or duty to consult, or both.
- Clarification of new project criteria: Criteria for project assessment should be defined such that it will be consultative, transparent, and functional, and not simply serve as a mechanism to obstruct projects.
- Project List Clarification: Clear language should confirm which projects require assessment along with a defined list of projects which will be exempt from assessment.
- Table Regulations While Bill C-69 is reviewed by Parliament: Regulations proposed to address gaps within the legislation must be presented to the business community and others while said legislation is being tabled.
Read the full description of the six amendments.