Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus

Expert Panel Review of Federal Environmental Assessment Processes

The Caucus has worked since the late 1980s on various elements of the development of federal environmental assessment (EA). The current process, the Expert Panel Review of Federal Environmental Assessment Processes, was announced in June, 2016; the Panel was named in August and began hearing from the public in September. The Caucus is very engaged in the review, in mobilising public and member groups' participation and ensuring that the Panel process allows for effective public particiaption, and in helping inform the Panel's work by providing theoretical and practical background and recommendations. The Caucus is also coordinating environmental sector participation in the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee (MIAC) created by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to support the work of the Panel. The MIAC brings together industry, Indigenous, and environmental representatives, as well as relevant government agencies, to seek consensus recommendations on EA reform. The Panel's recommendations are expected to include revised legislation that will then have to pass through Parliament.

Five-Year Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

The Five-Year Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), completed in 2003, was well served by members of the caucus who participated in regional workshops and public consultations across the country. During the review process, the caucus identified issues that were considered to be priorities in seeking improvements to the Act. In addition, to help environmental and citizen's groups participate in the Five-Year Review, the Caucus prepared a citizen's report card and a citizen's briefing kit.

Caucus Working Groups and Internal Committees

Since the advent of formal environmental assessment process in Canada with the inception of the Environmental Assessment Review Process (EARP) Guidelines Order in June 1984, members of the Caucus have participated in, and contributed to, the development of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and its regulations. Caucus members have also been involved in a range of advocacy and legal efforts to strengthen the CEA Act and its application.

Regulatory Advisory Committee

The Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC) was a multi-stakeholder committee first established in 1992 to advise the Minister of Environment on the regulations and guidelines needed to implement the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Over the years, the RAC evolved and broadened to include the provision of advice on environmental assessment policy in Canada, and the undertaking of periodic reviews of CEAA and its regulations. The RAC held its last meeting, its 45th, in 2008.

RAC proved to be a viable multi-stakeholder forum for discussing environmental assessment issues with a history of constructive participants interested in seeking consensus to advance the practice of environmental assessment in Canada. Representatives of Caucus member groups participated in the RAC to lend expertise, experience, knowledge, and credibility to the RAC and its subcommittees.

Caucus Meetings

Subject to available funds, twenty to thirty delegates from member groups attend two meetings annually where delegates share experiences and consider options for action. Typically, one of the two meetings is held in Ottawa, where we can also meet with representatives of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency which administers the Act, to discuss both policy and the practical application of the Act.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the minutes from one of the recent Caucus meetings, please contact the EPA Caucus Coordinator.

Projects Outside Canada

The EPA Caucus is not currently involved in projects outside Canada.

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Steering Committee

Roberta Frampton Benefiel
Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, NL

Hugh Benevides
Montreal, QC

Meinhard Doelle
Halifax, NS

Stephen Hazell
Nature Canada, ON

Judy Huntley
Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition, AB

Anna Johnston (Co-chair)
West Coast Environmental Law, BC

Jamie Kneen (Co-chair and interim Caucus coordinator)
MiningWatch Canada, ON

Pat Moss
Northwest Institute, BC

Karine Péloffy
Centre Québécois du Droit de l'Environnement, QC

Michael Poellet
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Cooperative, SK

Justina Ray
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, ON

Gary Schneider
ECO-PEI (Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island), PEI

John Sinclair
Green Action Centre, MB

Jason Unger
Environmental Law Centre, AB

John Werring
David Suzuki Foundation, BC