Canadian Government Releases Interim Guidance on Environmental Law Amendment
The Canadian government has released interim guidance on amending the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) after the Supreme Court recently ruled that the current legislation was largely unconstitutional. The Interim guidance aims to provide clarity to investors and businesses as the government works to make targeted amendments to bring the IAA in line with the Supreme Court of Canada’s opinion.
The IAA assesses how major projects like coal mines and oil sands plants impact the environment. In its decision, the court said that the federal government had made the scope of the IAA too broad. As a result, the government’s discretionary authority to designate certain projects as needing to go through an impact assessment will be paused while the amendments are made.
Impact on Investment
Prior to the interim guidance, companies warned that the uncertainty surrounding environmental approval under the IAA could deter investments.
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) will now review all 23 projects currently under assessment and opine on whether they impact areas of federal jurisdiction. Consultations with Indigenous communities will continue, and project proponents can continue sharing information to advance their assessments. Three regional assessments already underway in the Ring of Fire mineral deposits in northern Ontario and offshore wind projects in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will continue without any changes.
Carbon Tax Exemption for Home Heating Oil
In a separate announcement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would introduce a three-year carbon tax exemption for home heating oil and higher carbon tax rebates for people in rural areas. Trudeau said the measures were intended to bring relief as the cost of living soars.
Automotive Industry Strike Ends
General Motors, Chrysler parent Stellantis, and United Auto Workers reached an agreement, thereby ending a six-week-old strike a day after Ford Motor reached a tentative contract deal.