Law Reform: Reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) is the cornerstone of Canada’s regulatory system for protecting the environment.

CELA is urging the federal government to substantially improve amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The amendments were first introduced in April 2021 in Bill C-28 but did not proceed due to the intervening Fall 2021 election. In February 2022, a new Bill was introduced in the Senate (Bill S-5), with largely the same amendments. Having received Third Reading in the Senate, Bill S-5 now heads to the House of Commons where consideration of amendments to CEPA will resume, likely in the Fall of 2022.

Bill S-5, containing the first major amendments to CEPA in over 20 years, seeks to fix things in the Act that are not broken, and fails to correct things in the Act that are not working. The Canadian public should not have to wait another 20 years to fix what is already long overdue for reform today.

The Mazinaw Rock, Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario.
Photo credit: Ariana Kaminski

Reforming CEPA, 1999 - What's needed?

First enacted in 1988, then revised in 1999, Section 343 of CEPA, 1999 requires a periodic review by Parliament. The current review commenced in 2016 culminating in a report in 2017 from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. A government response to this review was published in 2018.  More than two years later, a Throne Speech commitment describes the federal government’s intent to proceed with CEPA revisions during 2021, now proposed in Bill C-28, about which CELA has significant concerns. CELA will continue to prepare extensive analyses about how CEPA can be improved. 

Below are collections of these detailed and summary materials, followed by a historical collection of our work during the 1990s review that culminated in CEPA, 1999.  

Media Releases, Blogs, Webinars

Publications, Presentations

From CELA's History - The First CEPA Review