Over the last two weeks, there has been buzz about Ontario fighting back against Canada’s Impact Assessment Act (IAA). The Supreme Court of Canada released an opinion in October arguing that the IAA was unconstitutional because it overstepped into Provincial jurisdiction, but the act is still in place, and Steven Guilbeault has stated that the federal government will simply be revising it to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling rather than scrapping it.
Since then, the Ontario government filed two legal challenges to the IAA centring around high-profile development projects being championed by Ford: Highway 413 and Ontario Place. These legal challenges have implications for the Ring of Fire: if the IAA is changed or scrapped, this would likely impact the federal regional assessment currently underway in the area. The province needs federal money to fund the project, and National Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has stated that this will not be decided until the results of the regional assessment are released. It looks like this is gearing up to be a long, complex battle as Ontario and Canada go head-to-head with competing interests and very different approaches to environmental assessment.
November 1, 2023 (Ontario Construction News):
Ontario taking legal action to get shovels in the ground on infrastructure projects
“Ontario’s Attorney General, Doug Downey says the province will ask the courts for a judicial review to stop the federal government from stalling construction on Highway 413, Ontario Place and other major infrastructure projects. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled earlier this month that the law dealing with environmental impacts of major developments is unconstitutional because it regulates activities that fall under provincial purview.” Read more here…
November 13, 2023 (The Narwhal):
How a Supreme Court ruling could affect Highway 413, Ontario Place and the Ring of Fire
Alberta got Canada’s top court to question federal reviews of big projects that could cause environmental harm. Now, Ontario is trying to get the impact assessment law struck down for good.
“There’s an intergovernmental showdown underway in Canada over who gets a say in major projects with environmental impacts, and Ontario is entering the arena in a big way. The fight revolves around the federal Impact Assessment Act, a law that gives the federal government the power to review the environmental and other effects of big projects — like mines, highways or pipelines — and even axe them if it decides they’re not in the public interest.” Read more here…