Report Calls for Overhaul of BC’s “Weak and Discretionary” Environmental Assessment Process

Environmental assessment is essential to environmental protection and fundamental to a sustainable economy, according to a new report released today by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC), which is calling for major changes to BC’s Environmental Assessment Act.

“The recent federal decision to turn down the proposal to mine Fish Lake after it was accepted through the provincial process is just one recent example that reveals the need for reform of BC’s environmental assessment law,” says Mark Haddock, who authored the report with the assistance of ELC legal staff and the research of ELC students.

The 84-page report, Environmental Assessment in British Columbia, documents how the provincial environmental assessment law is weak and discretionary when compared to other jurisdictions, and it makes 27 recommendations for reform.

Although BC has had environmental assessment legislation for more than a decade, this is “the first time that an independent analysis of this kind has been mounted,” according to former ELC Executive Director Chris Tollefson, who also participated in writing the report.

Funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the report considers input from numerous stakeholders. It examines history of the Act, evaluates the current process for environmental assessment in BC, documents the experiences and opinions of participants, and considers how British Columbia’s environmental assessment process might be improved.

Click here to read the report.