Members of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) today unveiled amendments to Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. These amendments will be proposed during the clause-by-clause process in the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources beginning at 5pm today.
The ISG amendments to Bill C-69 have four key objectives:
provide greater clarity and predictability in the project assessment and approval process;
reduce litigation risk;
reduce the overall discretion of ministers in favour of the independent Impact Assessment Agency; and
better use of the expertise and experience of the life-cycle regulators in the impact assessment process.
Senators Howard Wetston and Yuen Pau Woo prepared these amendments in collaboration with their ISG colleagues on the Committee. The amendments reflect the key issues that emerged in testimony from members of the energy industry, environmental groups, indigenous communities and other witnesses during the committee’s study of Bill C-69.
“It has become clear that Bill C-69 is flawed in a number of areas. Chief among these is the lack of clarity and predictability in the process to be established by the bill. We have crafted amendments that we believe will increase predictability and bring greater clarity, both of which will benefit every participant in the assessment process,” said Senator Wetston. “We also have prepared amendments to reduce ministerial discretion in favour of the expert and accountable independent agency.”
“The ISG amendments will strengthen the independent impact assessment process so that good projects can proceed on a timely basis. Our amendments will significantly reduce risk and uncertainty for project proponents and foster a more attractive investment climate,” said Senator Woo. “I believe the thorough and comprehensive nature of ISG amendments shows that an increasingly non-partisan Senate is providing something of value to Canadians: an honest effort to improve legislation that is not driven by an electoral motive.”
The legal text of the amendments will be made available once the Committee begins clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, scheduled at 5pm today.
Established in 2016, The Independent Senators Group (ISG) is committed to a non-partisan Senate and the modernization of the Upper House of Canada’s Parliament. With 58 members, the ISG is the largest parliamentary group in the Senate. Composed of independents not affiliated with any political caucus, ISG Senators work cooperatively but act independently.
The ISG’s Facilitator is Senator Yuen Pau Woo (BC) and the Deputy Facilitator is Raymonde Saint-Germain (QC), each elected by members on a two-year term (until 2019). ISG senators have been appointed over the years by five different Prime Ministers, with most of the current membership selected through The Independent Advisory Board for Senate appointments process.
Independent Senators Group (ISG)