Casework: Upholding the Federal Impact Assessment Act

In June 2019, Parliament repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and replaced it with the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). The new legislation establishes a broad, science-based, and participatory process for gathering information and making decisions about the potential impacts of designated major projects (including mines, pipelines or nuclear waste sites in Ontario) upon areas of federal jurisdiction.

In September 2019, the Alberta government asked the province’s Court of Appeal to hold a Judicial Reference to determine whether the IAA regime unlawfully intrudes into matters of exclusive provincial jurisdiction set out in the Constitution Act, 1867.

In early 2020, CELA decided to get involved in this important national test case. In March 2020, CELA and two client groups jointly received permission from the Court to intervene in the reference. In June 2020, CELA filed and served its written legal argument, which takes the position that the IAA and the underlying regulations are constitutionally valid from a division-of-powers perspective. The Reference hearing by the Alberta Court of Appeal is scheduled, via videoconference, for February 22-26, 2021. 

Photo credit:
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Lake Superior, Ontario by Linda Pim. 

Legal Submissions and Decisions

The legal documents posted below represent some of the key materials filed in this proceeding.

Blogs, Media Releases, about the IAA