2.4 Public Participation in Impact Assessment

over 1 year ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded
Meaningful public participation is a key element to ensure the legitimacy of Impact Assessment processes. It is also central to a renewed Impact Assessment that moves Impact Assessment towards a consensus-building exercise, grounded in face-to-face discussions.

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Please tell us your thoughts on what the Expert Panel proposed in this section.

Doug Beckett, public over 1 year ago
Would you please request Elizabeth May to recommend 3 additional representatives to be added to the panel. This enhanced panel would then assess all review comments received and would revise the report recommendations. In addition, please ensure Elizabeth May's review at http://eareview-examenee.ca/wp-content/uploads/uploaded_files/expert-panel-on-env-ass-canada.pdf is fully considered. As an intervener in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Environmental Assessment, I was very disappointed at the blatant bias in the EA process, EA rules and the EA decisions. I was very disappointed in how uninformative the proponents responses were to my enquiries, and that the EA Panel considered such non-answers as acceptable. We need an EA process that works to ensure the interests of the public are maintained over the long-term. An EA process that serves the corporate interests is no longer acceptable.
Betty Geier over 1 year ago
I agree with the expert panel that ALL Canadians should have a say in environmental decisions that they feel are of concern to them.
Meg Sears for Prevent Cancer Now over 1 year ago
Public participation and confidence in the project will be enhanced with ready access to baseline and followup data, as well as knowledge that the data will be housed to monitor and manage a project, as well as to contribute to research.
Ruby Chapman over 1 year ago
I support the recommendation for removal of barriers to public participation. This will go a long way to re establishing trust in the process, something that has been severely eroded of late. All Canadians should have the right to have a say in any IA that has the potential to negatively impact the environment, and the earlier in the process the better.
Anna Johnston, West Coast Environmental Law over 1 year ago
The Panel has made strong recommendations for achieving meaningful public participation and recognizing the value that participants bring to IA processes. We support its recommendations for early and ongoing participation opportunities that are open to all, the ability of participation to influence decisions, the need for improved capacity-building through funding that is commensurate with costs associated with meaningful public participation as well as through educational resources, and for legislation to require that all IA information be easily accessible, and permanently and publicly available. Achieving those goals will require careful attention in the law, regulations, policy and guidance. To implement these recommendations and achieve meaningful public participation, we support the recommendations made by Meinhard Doelle and John Sinclair in their paper, “EA Expert Panel Report: Reflections on Canada’s Proposed Next Generation Assessment Process” (available at http://bit.ly/2qK9cu6).
Anna Johnston, West Coast Environmental Law over 1 year ago
The Panel has made strong recommendations for achieving meaningful public participation and recognizing the value that participants bring to IA processes. We support its recommendations for early and ongoing participation opportunities that are open to all, the ability of participation to influence decisions, the need for improved capacity-building through funding that is commensurate with costs associated with meaningful public participation as well as through educational resources, and for legislation to require that all IA information be easily accessible, and permanently and publicly available. Achieving those goals will require careful attention in the law, regulations, policy and guidance. To implement these recommendations and achieve meaningful public participation, we support the recommendations made by Meinhard Doelle and John Sinclair in their paper, “EA Expert Panel Report: Reflections on Canada’s Proposed Next Generation Assessment Process” (available at http://bit.ly/2qK9cu6).
Pat Moss over 1 year ago
I strongly support the recommendation of all barriers to participation, including the test currently used by the National Energy Board to limit participation to only those people it deems are “directly affected” by projects like pipelines. Adequate funding must be provided to insure the public is able to participate effectively. The public should be involved at an early stage and assist in developing a flexible and effective consultation process appropriate to a specific project or policy.
Jane Howe over 1 year ago
I agree that public participation is an important part of the process, but it must focus on stakeholders who may be directly impacted. Stakeholders with unique and relevant information AND who are directly affected by proximity to a proposed project should be able to participate as intervenors.
Elizabeth May over 1 year ago
I strongly endorse adequate, stable and consistent intervener funding for IAs. The federal government must take this strong panel recommendation and commit to vastly increase the amount of funds dedicated to participant funding.
Blue Dot PEI over 1 year ago
We strongly support the recommendation for inclusivity during an entire IA, and that input has the potential to be impactful.We also strongly support the sharing of impact assessment data and findings with the public in accessible language.
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade over 1 year ago
While is important for stakeholders to have a voice in the public participation process, opening the process to all give influence to view-points well outside the scope of the assessment. It opens the process to being commandeered by vocal minorities, and groups with motivations beyond the project. The first step to a robust cost-benefit discussion is to determine the groups, interests, and people whom “have standing.” Opening public consultations to all undermines this important aspect of a rigorous evidence based Impact Assessment. It is important for the public to have the potential to impact decisions, there must be greater deference given to science, facts, and evidence.
Q'ul-lhanumutsun Aquatic Resources Society over 1 year ago
While we agree that the previous limitation of public participation in EAs has eroded public trust, leaving input wide-open, as is recommended by the Panel, is not the answer either. While it is important to hear all points of view, decisions should more heavily consider the input of those directly effected. This can be done through transparently designed tiered input categories. We point this out because, as an example, sometimes urban communities far from projects have a louder voice than smaller coastal and indigenous communities, and those people shouldn’t be able to dictate how local resources are used. However, to be clear, those effected may extend wider than those whose lands or resources are directly touched by the proposed project. For instance, most EAs of past pipelines have not included communities who will be directly impacted by a spill from the pipeline or a tanker vessel carrying oil when that oil spills away from the direct line or port. Meaningful EAs in those cases should consider the movement of spilled oil and provide opportunities for input from those people or communities who are likely to be effected.Once a decision is made, follow-up efforts should include monitor and enforce the conditions. First Nations and community groups can be involved in such monitoring and this will foster better trust in the process. This is recommended by the Expert Panel.
Manitoba Infrastructure over 1 year ago
2.4.3 - The federal agency will have to maintain the database to ensure permanency.
Northern Health Authority of BC over 1 year ago
Northern Health supports the following recommendations made by the Expert Panel regarding “Public Participation in Impact Assessment”:-That IA legislation require that IA provide early and ongoing public participation opportunities that are open to all, and that the results of public participation have the potential to impact decisions. -That the participant funding program for IA be commensurate with the costs associated with meaningful participation in all phases of IA, including monitoring and follow-up.-That IA legislation require that IA information be easily accessible, and permanently and publicly available. We emphasize the critical importance of ensuring participants have the capacity and resources for meaningful participation in the IA process. Additional support to communities and provincial agencies is recommended to ensure they have the capacity to participate. As noted previously, similar to concerns identified by First Nations and local governments, Health Authorities (HAs) and other social service agencies are challenged by organizational capacity to participate in assessment processes. Although HAs have clear interests and expertise related to industrial projects and are often called upon when political or health concerns are raised (either during the assessment phase or when situations arise where health is impacted after project approval), these agencies have no clear mandate or funding structure that ensures that they have the means and expertise to be able to adequately feed into the decision making process.
Cec Robinson over 1 year ago
I strongly support the panels recommendation to remove all barriers to participation, including the NEB's current policy of allowing the participation of only those people it deems are "directly affected ".Environmental damage affects everybody.Any barrier to full participation will perpetuate the existing public distrust of the process.
Ian Thomson, Oxfam Canada over 1 year ago
Participation plans collaboratively designed with input from the public are a promising development in the Expert Panel’s recommendations. Such plans should explicitly identify how gender-based barriers to participation have been considered and addressed to ensure public participation opportunities are indeed open to all.Participant funding for IA should be commensurate with the costs associated with meaningful participation, and should be allocated to ensure the participation of women’s groups and diverse gender perspectives are reflected in all phases of IA.
Joanna Skrajny, AWA over 1 year ago
AWA would agree with the Panel’s assessment that current opportunities for the public to meaningfully participate are unsatisfactory, with significant frustration shared over a seeming inability to impact an assessment outcome. We agree that the current consultation process is not meaningful, as it only seeks to inform the public. AWA would prefer for consultation to be improved towards proponents collaborating with the public. The limitations in who is allowed to participate in CEAA 2012 have only served to hinder public trust and the public’s ability to participate meaningfully. The ability for the wider Canadian public to meaningfully engage in all environmental assessments necessarily includes increased time windows for public engagement, with earlier engagement opportunities and the ability to understand decision making processes at each step of the process.In order to meaningfully participate in federal IA, AWA agrees that increased capacity – both government capacity to undertake reviews and increased funding for participants – is necessary. This, coupled with increased time for the public to review and prepare for the engagement processes, will result in better outcomes. AWA has been personally challenged by the short timelines to participate in reviews and limitations on which projects we have been able to participate in. As a provincial conservation organization, we believe that we can provide valuable input to certain projects and regional assessments.
Shane Borchardt over 1 year ago
The proposal appears to assume that time and costs are not a factor in public participation and appears to propose unlimited opportunities for participation. This needs to be narrowed and focus on those stakeholders that may be directly impacted by the project.
Kari Toews over 1 year ago
Public participation is an important part of the process and must focus on those stakeholders that may be directly impacted. I do not support the burdensome and unlimited opportunities for participation of the requirement for consensus-based decision from an infinite pool of stakeholders as proposed in the Report. As proposed there is potential that cost and timeframe to ensure participation may be infinite, which is unrealistic and unworkable, adding time, cost and complication for no benefit. Cost and time for IA process must be supported by standard costs and timelines that may be adjusted depending on the nature of the project. I agree that IA information should be easily accessible and permanently and publically available. I support public consultation as a meaningful part of the process, but do not support the proposal as stated, because it risks diverting attention from those directly impacted to create a stage for those not directly impacted to further their agendas.
Wayne Summach over 1 year ago
I do not support bureaucratic and unlimited participation of consensus-based decision from an infinite pool of stakeholders. You must only consider those that are impacted, you must streamline your process NOT complicate it. This is very alarming and unprecedented new process for your proposed IA. This new process is unworkable and unrealistic requiring unlimited financial resources and will stifle future development and investment in Canada with no environmental benefits. Industry employs professionally trained women and men committed to protection of the environment and who work hard every day to ensure Canadian industry protects the environments by meeting and exceeding already strict regulations. You need to visit mining operations to see how committed they are thru constant environmental monitoring ensuring protection for generations to come. We already have an over regulated process.
Ontario Rivers Alliance over 1 year ago
The Panel’s report is correct when it states that “It is through public engagement and participation that social license to operate – obtaining broad public support for proposed undertakings – can be built and optimal results of IA can be reached.” All Canadians should have a say in environmental decisions that concern them. ORA is in full agreement with the best practices recommended by the Panel. However, ORA does not support a “substitution”, which would allow other levels of government to carry out the IA. When other agendas come into play, so do other agendas, and requirements can be watered down or lost, but it is absolutely necessary that there be consistency in how well projects are managed and mitigated. ORA recommends that because air and water cross regional, provincial, and federal boundaries, that projects impacting on air and water should be fully managed from start to completion by federal regulators. Additionally, any regulator conducting the IA must have a culture that recognizes the value of engagement and truly respects public participants. There is a real need for ensuring transparency, openness and credibility with the body conducting the IA. ORA recommends that external audits, rights of appeal, and an independent tribunal to hear those appeals, must accompany participant funding, and capacity building to ensure participation is meaningful and fair.
Campaign for the Protection of Offshore Nova Scotia over 1 year ago
Meaningful public participation must be a key element of any new assessment process. CPONS believes that public engagement in project assessments has not been properly supported in the past. We concur with the Panel’s proposals for early and ongoing public participation opportunities, participant funding and IA information that is accessible, available and simplified. CPONS also believes that public input into the outcome of a project is a key component of any assessment, including the possibility of rejection. We are concerned with the Report’s seemingly underlying assumption that all development projects through time and effort will ultimately be approved and proceed. In CPONS view, there may be occasions when broad public support for an undertaking will not be attainable and the assessment process must accommodate such an outcome. As the Liberal Party of Canada stated prior to the last federal election, “while governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.” If broad public support is not present, the assessment agency and government must recognize it, respect it and not approve projects. Only then will people have confidence in the assessment process.
Alyse K over 1 year ago
Although I support public participation the recommended consensus-based decision and unbinding stakeholder participation could result in an extremely lengthy process. Limiting stakeholder involvement to those directly impacted does not mean outside consultation or research is prevented, it rather supports organized and focused participation. The report does not set costs or timeframe limits, which leads to ambiguity and therefore a set of standards should be developed. IA information should be easily accessible and permanently and publically available.
David Suzuki Foundation over 1 year ago
These are the comments of the David Suzuki Foundation and are intended to complement joint submission of the Environmental Assessment Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network (including the David Suzuki Foundation).We agree with the Expert Panel’s recommendations on public participation in impact assessment (section 2.4 of the report). This section of the report speaks in essence to procedural environmental rights. Recognizing every Canadian’s right to live in a healthy environment as a guiding principal in impact assessment is a necessary complement.
Anne Gent over 1 year ago
Meaningful public participation and consultation is an integral part of a transparent process. That being said, opening the process to all would make the process timely and costly, without necessarily adding value.Technical, scientific and local traditional knowledge should be used to make fact-based decisions. Stakeholders with relevant local knowledge, scientific or technical expertise relevant to the project should have priority. Opening the process to all would minimize the voices of those who have a stake in the project and allow outside groups to use the process to further their agenda - not necessarily add value to a specific project.
Robert Zurrer over 1 year ago
A significant increase in public participation with no apparent constraints ensures reasonable timelines will become impossible to achieve. It's a very foolish initiative to allow more public participation than is currently allowed.
Charlene B over 1 year ago
Participation should focus on stakeholders that may be directly impacted rather than potentially burdensome opportunities. Funding for support for programs should not be limitless. Consensus-based decision making likely won't be successful as there will always be differing opinions on projects. Costs and time for the IA process should be standardized and adjusted based on the nature of the project.
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada over 1 year ago
The flexibility, capacity-building, and transparency proposed by the Panel are excellent. There need to be clear mechanisms for the role of the public in monitoring and follow-up, learning from experience and initiating appropriate responses from regulatory and IA authorities, whether it’s reviewing approval conditions, targeted research, a limited or full reassessment -- or even a regional IA, for example on the basis of cumulative impacts.
John Takala over 1 year ago
I am concerned with the tone of this section that implies a significant increase in public participation is needed with no apparent constraints that reasonable timelines must be an inherent part of the IA process. It must be remembered that for the vast majority of projects there are already existing regulations and associated responsible authorities that will regulate the project and it must meet these regulations. The IA process is in addition to this and does offer some opportunity to improve a project, but the IA consultation process should not be designed to setup an additional governance and oversight structure. "Early and ongoing" public participation needs to be defined and not mean practically unlimited consultation. Public participant funding needs to scaled to the scope of the project and defined, recognizing that there will often be requests for additional funding. Investing in the infrastructure to have easily accessible IA information is sensible and in the long run may help reduce the costs of and improve the quality of public involvement.
Thevenot over 1 year ago
I do not agree that it is the proponent or the government's responsibility to educate the public in the details of environmental studies; that's what university is for. However, it would be useful to build literacy from a general perspective by having information sessions and better online summaries of IA process and Project information. Comments should definitely be acknowledged and taken into account if applicable, but only experts are qualified to dissect an IA and critique its methods or findings. The definition of "expert" is wide and may be independent scientists, regulators, consultants, among others, or more broadly as knowledge holders (e.g., indigenous elders can comment on traditional knowledge, potentially affected residents can comment on impacts to well-being). Not everyone needs to review everything in detail, and some trust is needed that the expert reviewers will do their job, otherwise the cost will be exorbitant. On another note, there should be a disincentive to submitting multiple thousand page reports and an incentive to creating interactive web-based non-technical summaries.
Jon Henderson over 1 year ago
Again, in principle, I support the ongoing engagement of the public and their participation in the process and understand the restrictions that short comment periods can have on gathering feedback, but I do not think that the proposal as written with provide benefit to those directly impacted by development or to the environment. I am concerned that parties who fundamentally oppose development, who are uninformed on the actual risks of the project, and who reside in regions nowhere near the development will have an equal voice at the table and access to equal funding compared to those who are informed and most directly affected by the proposed project. Opening up participation without restrictions or criteria to a potentially unlimited number of stakeholder could dilute the conversation and overshadow meaningful concerns of local people, escalate the costs of the review process which could divert funds away from performing valuable baseline work on the ground, and reduce the efficiency of the process for all involved. At the very least, there should be limits on the amount of funding made available to each group and the amount each group receives should be proportional to their respective vested interest in the project or the potential impact that the project will have on their livelihood. Funding for participation could also be based on a percentage-match in which the stakeholder needs to provide 25 - 50% of the funding in order to qualify. Criteria for participation should require that stakeholders demonstrate that they have meaningful and valid concerns to help ensure informed and balanced perspectives.
Kirsten Ketilson over 1 year ago
I do not support unlimited opportunities for participation by an infinite pool of stakeholders Participation should focus on those stakeholders that may be directly impacted, and there should be bounds on the cost and timeframe for this participation. These boundaries seem to be infinite as outlined in the Report. I find it hard to see how achievement of consensus by this unlimited pool of stakeholders would be practical or allow any development to proceed in Canada.
Jeff Pryznyk over 1 year ago
What the panel proposes in this section seems to allow for endless participation. The concern here is that no amount of money or time may be able to satisfy the requirements for participation.
Ron Pask over 1 year ago
The taxpayer is generally not a part of this process as the need to work to fund this government industry. Only paid lobbyists, enviros and natives take part and get all the media attention.
Brady Balicki over 1 year ago
The process being proposed will require seemingly unlimited resources, as it would result in a consensus based decision from a widespread pool of stakeholders. While obtaining public input is important, stakeholders should be limited to those directly influenced by the project or activity. It is difficult to ascertain the cost or timeframe required to ensure meaningful participation as described.
Rebecca Peters over 1 year ago
Public participation is an important aspect of environmental assessment. The onus should be on the proponent to make the relevant information available to the public. However, it is important that the framework for public consultation/participation be such that it focuses on stakeholders that are or may be directly impacted. Participation of the public should be at logical steps within the process, not at unlimited stages within the process that makes the EA potentially burdensome from a cost or time perspective.
JMD over 1 year ago
Public participation is a necessity and IA information needs to be readily accessible to all, but it also needs to be managed in such a way that costs and the time frame for public participation do not negatively impact the assessment process. The focus of public participation should be stakeholders that may be directly impacted.
Mark Winfield over 1 year ago
The federal environmental assessment process should incorporate very strong provisions regarding public participation. The C-38 restrictions on participation to persons "directly affected" by projects should be removed and replaced with an open and inclusive approach to participation and consultation.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment over 1 year ago
Public participation is critical to successful IAs. Public participation can be enhanced by a) making available resources (from data to travel costs to access to expert consultants) to committed members of the public which fill facilitate their participation, and b) inserting some measure of redundancy and repetition into establishing opportunities for participation. Having limited opportunities to engage in an IA process is a form of structural anti-democracy, and the converse it true -- increase entry points into the process and one builds in fairness.
Robert Huck over 1 year ago
As seen in recent years, the environmental review process has been hijacked by radical activists with no skin in the game as a means of implementing their own selfish agendas. Everyone with the ability to speak and write is allowed to participate in the assessment process, no matter their ignorance in the subject matter or their proximity or interest in the outcomes. This is akin to some random guy off the street being allowed to testify in a criminal trial of a complete stranger. Their added value is inconsequential relative to their impact on the result of the assessment.Public participation should be focused and perhaps limited to those with a vested interest, either through their proximity to the project, their potential investment in the project, or their duties as an impacted organization or their responsibilities as a representative of an impacted community.This is not to say that the process should be hidden from public view. All relevant data on potential impacts to the environment or public should be made available free of charge, and the public should be able to participate in a limited fashion with the stakeholders as they see fit.However, allowing any more participation than this seriously compromises the integrity of the assessment, and significantly increases the time and resources spent with little to no environmental benefit.
Les Hicks over 1 year ago
I agree with the proposal.
Jule Asterisk over 1 year ago
For too long, public concern has been shunted aside in favour of industrial development. In some cases, valid public concerns are lost in ridiculous process tangles, for example the Jessica Ernst case. The public has every right to be concerned about run away industrial development, especially in Alberta, where we had a rubber stamp environment department for 40 years, and that our concerns be heard.Many people are not allowed to speak if it is considered that they are 'not directly affected' by a project, and this prejudices the opinion of government and their actions of approvals. A person may want to represent concerns that have not yet been heard about a project, but if they don't live right next door, they can't and these concerns are never represented. We need better ways to participate, more open data, more community monitoring opportunities, and more contact. We need everyone on board to help move in the best direction. Project proponents are often well funded by investors who don't represent a stake in future generations, but are only there for short term gain. How many oil companies' abandoned wells will be turned over to the public for taxpayers? How can we have new bitumen mines when that is the most expensive and difficult type of oil product to manage, and whole industry is moving in a different direction? Maybe future generations will have a better way to get oil out of bitumen, but for now, Canada may not want to approve any new bitumen projects using outdated, energy intensive, polluting technology.This is the kind of project the public needs to have input on, and those thinking of future generations are clearly more altruistic than those wanting short term gain.
Stuart Juzda over 1 year ago
Bitumen from the tar sands is 20% more harmful to global warming than conventional oil. This is a known fact. Does anyone listen. The ability to make a statement to a panel does not mean that the argument will receive the consideration that it deserves. Given the timeline regarding the panels work it is quite clear that it's conclusions had been agreed to in advance. There was no serious environmental group listed as one of the advisory panels. The report falsely states that there were six such groups listed. In fact there are only five. This alone shows how shoddy the work has been done.
Kathleen Hennig over 1 year ago
I believe that all Canadians should have the right to present their opinions/facts for or against proposed developments, such as resource developments, that will impact on their quality of life, in their environment, and the long term sustainability of the resources for future generations.
Art Jackson over 1 year ago
Our clean air and waters, our wildlife all need a voice.We the PUBLIC must speak up for ecosystems and all its life forms that otherwise have no voice. Public involvement must be open, inclusive and have meaning full positive action follow up if you are going to get the public involved. Open agendas, not ones already predetermined behind closed doors. This sad example is going on right now as the Ottawa decision was already made to waste 90 million dollars on a "proposed" bike road through the heart of Jasper National Park. All the secret meetings and documents have been revealed and this total sham of providing public consultation just turns the people against governments. When the Public says NO it means NO. The Jasper Glacier SkyWalk was another example of the public being totally ignored and behind door decisions made in Ottawa. 200,000 Canadians said NO in a petition and this government ignored it. Now we have a Brewster CONTROLED VIEWPOINT WHICH WAS OPEN AND FREE TO ALL THE PUBLIC...no Longer. I approve the Panel’s recommendation to remove all barriers to participation.
Vivian sorensen over 1 year ago
As a Streamkeeper for 9 years and working with good volunteers in Burnaby with the Stoney Creek Environmental Group and in West Vancouver with the West Vancouver Streamkeepers as a volunteer myself I see the impact of environmental and human industry on our stream health and salmon populations. The rivers are often taken for granted by our busy society. This does not mean that when citizens get the time they don't appreciate the beauty of spawning salmon populations in our urban creeks as they stroll through public path and parks. I believe that the review of environmental impact studies needs to remain transparent so that the trained volunteers can translate the impacts of projects on our rivers' health. These natural systems, while dynamic and robust have certain critical capacities. Should development, whether it is a pipeline across provinces or a construction of a skytrain, or even a private home close to a creek bed, threaten the viability of a creek, the public interests need to be protected. The health of our creeks and the ecosystems they support are critical to our quality of life. Should these systems quietly die it may be too late before the public realize what we have lost. I believe information can support dialogue for sustainable development for Canadians and our clean air and water, including invested volunteers who speak up for systems that otherwise have no voice.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce over 1 year ago
Meaningful public participation and consultation are important to ensuring a transparent process that takes the communities concerns into account. We support the idea of greater transparency, including the creation of a more comprehensive public registry. However, the Expert Panel’s proposal to make the IA process open to all is deeply problematic. It fails to account for the fact that there are some individuals who are not invested in a fair, transparent and fact-base assessment process, but who oppose certain kinds of projects under any conditions, or who would to use the EA/IA process as a forum for policy discussions beyond the scope of the project review. A completely open process based on consensus building would grant a few individuals the power to use the IA process to delay projects, perhaps indefinitely. In some cases, allowing public opinion – as opposed to technical, scientific or traditional knowledge – to influence decision making would conflict with the principal of a fact-based decision making process based on clear rules and principals. To ensure a fair and efficient process, it is important to limit participation to those with unique information, expertise or traditional knowledge that is directly relevant to the project, to community members that would would be most impacted by the proposal and to indigenous peoples whose rights would be imposed upon.
Kimm Kent over 1 year ago
Every Ministry before development that has an impact on the environment must uphold Canada’s obligations towards Indigenous peoples, including Free, Prior and Informed CONSENT. This consent must be representative of a majority of the Indigenous people of their terrirtory and must demonstrate a transparent process of decisionmaking. To ensure grassroots members of Indigenous community have had their voices heard. Further, everyone in Canada should be able to have a say in environmental decisions that concern them.
Kate Gordanier-Smith over 1 year ago
Section 2.4 I live in the Big Bend area of Burnaby near the North Arm of the Fraser River. A Kinder Morgan pipeline already crosses the river near our local beach. In 2012 the river almost overflowed its dyke and our valley full of family farms was prepared by our city for flood disaster, with white posts appearing along our ditches so we wouldn't drive into them when racing from flood waters. We met city officials in our old elementary school to discuss emergency evacuation. It was terrifying. Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion will indisputably increase carbon emissions downstream, and our house insurance has already increased to deal with "more commonplace severe weather events" like flooding that result from climate change and sea level rise. My family, my community, my city, the Lower Mainland, for heavens sake, the world are "affected" by the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We should have a voice. I approve the Panel’s recommendation to remove all barriers to participation, including the test used by the NEB to limit participation to only those “directly affected”, when downstream emissions and climate change are disallowed for evaluation.
Holly over 1 year ago
Everything is interconnected in nature. Every time industry pollutes or destroys the environment somewhere in Canada, it impacts all Canadians, therefore all Canadians should have a right to speak about issues pertaining to Canada. Often those with scientific knowledge do not live in the region (where the damage will be done) and their voices need to be heard in the assessment process too.
Holly over 1 year ago
Having presented myself at Hearings, I witnessed indigenous chiefs in the audience who did not know how to sign up to participate in hearings although they wanted to participate. It is crucial that the indigenous people not only have a right to present at hearings but are also assisted to ensure they can participate. They are often not online.
Joanna Bull over 1 year ago
The new EA process needs to truly respect ALL Canadians by letting us know about developments that will impact the places we live and work, and listening and making adjustments according to our concerns. We deserve a say in the projects that are going to affect us.
Colleen over 1 year ago
Consensus building and grounded face to face public participation needs to be more respectful with time and considering and much consensus building. This process needs to be done with much care and respect to all. We are all connected and thus need to consider the affects of any changes and impacts. This takes time and may I suggest to also use Indigenous Wisdom relating to consensus building. Each matter and all matter. Recently I did try to volunteer on a committee that was accessing a community issue. The committee did not accept my volunteering as they did accept the one person that agreed with their mandate which did not consider the flow of our beautiful river. So yes it is vital that all voices are heard and definitely not just the voices that support a change that hurts our environment and any of the beings living here. Strangely how can an impact assessment ever be fair if it only brings in the voices of the beings that support the change and not the ones that question what is going on or research that supports only one side of a story!
Nicole B over 1 year ago
All Canadians should be able to have a say in environmental decisions that concern them. That is the foundation of a good democracy. The process involving public consultation should be wide open, transparent, and accessible to all citizens. This includes providing notice. Also taking extra steps to facilitate Indigenous participation who face additional barriers in making their voices heard. All info/data collected should be considered important and valuable, not simply dismissed.
Doug Beckett, public over 1 year ago
I wish I had the luxury of time and money to make the time to review and comment. Why were individuals such as myself not included on the Panel? I see representatives of industry and the corporate world, but do not see leaders of environmental or social groups, nor do I see common everyday individuals. No matter how good the results of this report are, this process is biased to the corporate interests. Knowing the results of this report are already biased to corporate interests - please ensure that through this review process the report results, with respect to ensuring improved and broader public participation, is not watered down from what is described in the report - especially as the report does not go far enough to ensuring adequate levels of public inclusion and participation.
L Daoust over 1 year ago
The truth is indigenous peoples have been practising forms of consensus-building exercises for centuries. Paying heed to meaningful public participation with a talking stick with fresh water clean air and healthy food now being protected is the way forward. I am concerned that IA is being considered the end result rather than basic human needs being protected.
Jacqueline Steffen over 1 year ago
All Canadians must have a say whether affected directly or indirectly in environmental decisions that concern us. Our communities and wildlife are deeply impacted and affected by oil spills, chemical leaks etc. It is imperative we protect our water resources for future generations.
Rylan Zimny over 1 year ago
The term "Direct assessment" is the wrong word for this document. The Environmental assessment procedure should be protecting all living things (fauna and flora) to the highest degree from the harmful byproducts of manufacturing. We are talking about full ionization of byproducts from their harmful compounds, into those which are not, within a lifespan that does not finance the future health of our children. Therefore, the interested parties for environmental assessments are all creatures affected during the entire lifetime that these byproducts exist. Corporations should no longer be able to hide behind the term "directly affected" as it is their the offloading of their indirect costs that cause most pollution, as well as cost us via healthcare and other forms of remediation. Consensus should also be a requirement. Without consensus, we would be imposing decisions against the will of others; Canadians should be practicing that form of tyranny.
Michael Herauf over 1 year ago
Not all impacted parties will be "directly" impacted by projects un assessment and as such persons or groups also "indirectly" impacted by proposed projects should have the right to participate in the public forum and present their concerns to the review panels or boards. If you really want to build consensus, this is a must!
John Bergenske, Wildsight over 1 year ago
The Canadian public are both directly and indirectly impacted by EA decisions. Impact Assessments must be fully transparent and allow for full participation of all groups and individuals who request to present information and perspectives. This issue goes to the very heart of Canadian democracy. Limiting input not only means that all the information is not available, but leads to further alienation of the public from the political process.
Michelle over 1 year ago
The environment effects us all therefore all Canadians should be able to have a say in environmental decisions that concern them.
Lynda Gagne over 1 year ago
I support the Expert Panel's recommendations. Environmental issues cross boundaries and we are a mobile population. We care about environmental issues across the country and IA should be a highly inclusive process.
Laurie~ over 1 year ago
We all live in the same country and our environment does not adhere to borders or communities. The Mt. Polley disaster did not only affect the people that live around Quesnel Lake, but everyone downstream from there. That reaches down the Frazer River and all the way to the ocean and spreads out all along the coast. Thank you for your recommendation to remove all barriers from participation and please stick to your guns on this point.
Bill Bryden over 1 year ago
Canada is managed as a unit and thus ALL Canadians should be allowed to provide input. Anything less is divisive.
Oliver Hockenhull over 1 year ago
The environment and water concerns EVERY citizen. Every citizen should have an incontrovertible right to have a say on such matters. It is a shame that this issue is even brought up as a question and that it is shows that there are problems with our democracy. Of course thoroughly open consultation should take place — without question.
Doug Allan over 1 year ago
Remove the test by the NEB that limits participation; all Canadians should be able to have a say in environmental decisions that concern them.
Brad Jones over 1 year ago
I agree!
Shawn Nielsen over 1 year ago
Public awareness and participation within the IA process is important. Especially early stages. Websites like this one serve as good example for collecting and considering public input.
Author Commented Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency over 1 year ago
Thanks for all your comments. Keep them coming!
The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada over 1 year ago
The proposals in this section are unworkable with the proposed elimination of a "standing" test to determine full participation in a review process. There are many opportunities and platforms to enable Canadians to learn about a project and submit their views (this website is an example) or open houses in communities. Only parties with unique, relevant and valuable information or who are directly affected by proximity to a proposed project should be able to participate as intervenors at a hearing.
Ole Hendrickson over 1 year ago
The Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area (CCRCA) are pleased that the Panel heard our concerns in our submission about the proposed million-cubic-meter radioactive waste dump (“Near Surface Disposal Facility”) at the Chalk River Laboratories.CCRCA told the Expert Panel that the impact assessment process led by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the proposed Chalk River dump provides limited public participation, comes too late in the process, and may have little or no effect on the CNSC’s decision on project approval. The Expert Panel report says “Meaningful public participation is a key element to ensure the legitimacy of IA processes.” It calls for “early and ongoing public participation opportunities that are open to all, and says that “Results of public participation should have the potential to impact decisions.” We agree with the Expert Panel that impact assessment needs to “better address a review of alternatives” early in the planning stages. We regret that the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories did not initially engage the public in a discussion of alternatives to a landfill-type facility. We strongly concur with the Panel’s observation that early public involvement in planning can “reduce conflict later in the IA process” and avoid “adversarial relationships with project proponents… prior to large investments of time and money into publicly contested options.”
Cassandra over 1 year ago
In Section 2.4 Public Participation, I agree with the recommendations but more amplification is needed. I am pleased the Panel suggests that the public should be able to participate early in the IA process and continue to throughout while having the potential to influence decisions. In the current system, people seem to feel that their involvement is disregarded and ignored which can be improved by the above recommendation. However, more information is needed regarding the possible impact of public input because there is no information on the weight that the input would have on the decision making process. By matching the participant funding program with the costs of participation throughout the process, it will make it easier for more individuals and groups to get involved. More facts, however, are needed on who has the authority to decide who gets funding and how much and where the funding will be coming from. The recommendation for easily accessible IA information that is permanently and publicly available will make it easier for participant to understand the IA info throughout the process. All the recommendations are strong but more details are needed.
Ashley Tod over 1 year ago
I agree with the Panel’s opinion that public participation (PP) is key to the success of all IA’s. Without PP, the viewpoint of those directly impacted by the proposed projects would be absent, therefore leading to issues that could not be foreseen. Under current IA regulations, although public participation is to be keystone within all aspects of assessments, public input is failing. Funds necessary to allow for successful PP are not available, and therefore the Panel proposes that a “participant funding program for IA be commensurate with the costs associated with meaningful participation in all phases of IA” be developed in order to mitigate these costs, allowing for more PP. While in theory this may be a viable option, the economic pressure that this would place on assessors may lead to shortcomings in other fields of IA. The public participation spectrum is a good concept to assist the public in knowing how their opinion impacts IA. Although I agree that gunning for increased PP generally is a good concept, I believe focusing on smaller groups (such as Indigenous groups) whose insight may be lacking throughout the IA rather than the public as a whole should come first.
Ian Carter over 1 year ago
I agree that it is important that public participation be meaningful as well as the participation starting early in the process, with there being potential influence on IA as a result of public participation. It is also good that there is an overarching criterion for this participation as this will create participation that is meaningful as well as the process having clearly outlined roles of the public and what they are able to influence. This will prevent there from being misunderstanding of the roles that the public will play and can lead to a more efficient and streamlined process that will have reduced unnecessary arguments and indecision. The public participation spectrum is a good way to present to the public what influence they can have on IA. Having a set standard will also prevent there being misunderstanding if there had been differences in influences across different jurisdictions. It is also good that there is recognition that the meaningful participation process will take time, however it must be regulated so that there is not wasted time and resources due to drawn out processes.
Emily W over 1 year ago
Achieving public participation that is meaningful not only ensures the legitimacy of IA processes, but it also brings more attention to the social aspect of IA and increases the public’s confidence in the IA process. I believe that the importance of including of public participation early in the IA process in analogous to including IA early in the project development process. I agree with the Panel recommendation to make public participation “open to all” by creating more informal opportunities for participation ‘less intimidating’. While the use of social media and web based platforms increases the accessibility of IA information in a user-friendly matter, can this create situations were public participation becomes too open? For example, the opinions and concerns of locally affected communities could potentially be outweighed by contrasting opinions from those who may not be directly affected. In other words, there needs to be more clarity defining the use of “open to all”. In theory it is important to include meaningful public participation, but it is important to note that various conflicting opinions on a topic will persist no matter how extensive the level of participation.
Jeff Anderson over 1 year ago
The current state of environmental assessment is unacceptable. The perception that Canada’s environment is for sale to any entity with the potential to generate sufficient revenue is widespread and speaks to a general mistrust of those who are governing our provinces and nation. “Inform and consult” is simply insufficient to foster any faith in the system. The IAC should have a central repository of IAs currently under consideration, with data and reports easily accessible. This repository should be publicly available, with project areas clearly identified, either via the internet or at regional IAC offices. Additionally, a straightforward system for identification and reporting projects that have failed to identify their impact to an area of federal concern should be implemented, with the process outlined and explained either online or at regional IAC offices. Public involvement needs to start early in the planning phase, with sufficient notice given, and there needs to be a defined process to ensure that public concerns are adequately dealt with.
Felysia over 1 year ago
I agree that the public needs to be informed that there is public participation needed. I agree with The Panel that the government needs to address their uses of social media in order to spread the request for participation and feedback. Newspapers work but are continually going out of print. Websites like the one we are using now are positive but need to be search friendly and shared better. Possibly using large social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could increase the amount of public feedback. The public has a strong voice but it is lost because they may not be aware they are able to give their opinion through a forum. Education of this simple system is required in order to keep the process transparent and inclusive to all people. Trust will be gained when IA information is publically available for all to review and when the public understand that their voice can have an impact in on the decision process.
Martijn Dieleman over 1 year ago
The panel’s mention that current participation opportunities are unsatisfactory is what I agree with the most. A good point mentioned is that the opportunities must be meaningful, but I believe that the definition of “meaningful” should have specific requirements in any new legislation. However, the use of the participation spectrum is done very well and helps with keeping participation from lying within a category of manipulation versus actual involvement. Another good point made by the panel is that participants should be made aware of how the input they give is used. This is important, as the perceived amount of influence from participation is a key criterion for acceptance of outcomes. But one main criticism I have of this section is that there is no mention of methods that should be used for public participation, as there are some low-quality methods for participation that allowed under current legislation. A big example is public hearings, which have low acceptance criteria and are ineffective in actually solving concerns, and are also used as the cheapest solution by proponents and only really covers the bare minimum of regulatory requirements. Essentially, there should be more motivation for using actually meaningful methods for public participation.
Carl Thiele over 1 year ago
An issue that often arises is, whose voices are heard and whose are acted upon. The IA vision of public participation works well to address this. The issue of how and who gets to decide this is also contentious as pointed out under the meaningful participation section. There is often a lacking or ambiguous definition as to who is “affected by a decision in the decision-making process” this needs to be further clarified. In addition stakeholders should also be informed as to why their considerations are not taken into account in the IA process. This has been an issue in the past and this review provides an opportunity to clarify some of these issues.
Carl Thiele over 1 year ago
Removed by moderator.
Arynn over 1 year ago
Public participation has largely lacked the ability to impact the outcome, because people are often limited to only voting on government representation, that hopefully represent the needs and concerns of the public on a development. And/or people don’t have the opportunity to voice their concerns earlier enough before a vest investment into a development project, which usually causes voiced concerns to be heard by a deaf ear. Currently, Canadians are lacking a platform to directly voice concerns on issue, such as whether we should still be allowing further developments related to oil and gas when the scientific community has overwhelming evidence of the relationship between greenhouse gases and climate change. When similar topics are voiced by the public it is often too late and not the appropriate platform to contend a development. Therefore, I agree with the Panels recommendations to increase “meaningful”, earlier and ongoing public participation in the assessment processes. That would inclusive to concern/support of impacts from local socio-economic to environmental degradation. Creating a dialog between government and the people is a challenging issue that needs to be implemented to prevent the spread of misinformation and improve the platform for participation to take place.
Abigayle over 1 year ago
I agree that it is important to include meaningful public participation throughout the project, however, comments made after major construction and financial investments should only provide projects with potential changes rather than have the power to reject projects. It is wasteful to have projects rejected after significant construction has begun because many of the impacts would already exist. The idea to have IA information easily accessible, and permanently and publicly available is important because many concerns about projects are raised after the public comment period due to the public not being aware or not being able to access IA documents. Unlike CEAA 2012, I think it is important to include all public in the public comment period rather than just the potentially affected groups of people. The public can provide key information regarding the Valued Components that may be initially missed. However, if more of the public can comment on proposed projects there should be a standardized method for providing easily understood information in one public forum. A standardized system will allow the public comment process to be efficient and would likely generate involvement in future projects if the same system exists for all projects.
Kristina over 1 year ago
I believe it is important for IAs to be easily accessible and permanently and publicly available, and agree with the recommendation set out by the Panel. They suggest utilizing a user-friendly website to communicate with the public, however I think there should be a central hub for all IAs in Canada rather than individual sites for each IA. This would provide only one site to be regulated and checked and would provide a reliable information source for all Canadians, however I would suggest the continued use of mail as it remains a good form of communication particularly with those less computer-literate.
Shawn over 1 year ago
Though I do believe the public should be able to access all relevant information about the project and have relevant input into the IA, it will be very important that the information is easily understandable and not in lengthy and technical documents. This section talks about having easily understandable information available to the public, but it will be important to develop a standardized process about how this information will be presented to the public to prevent misunderstandings and misinformation. I think it should be a standardized process on how the information is presented to the public and not simply industry discretion. If we had one government website that had all the information about current IA’s it would ensure the public has access to the information as well as knowledge about where to find it and how it will be presented.
Jordan over 1 year ago
The goals for public participation are good for introducing public to more information and allowing them to have input into the decision making process. I will admit that allowing the public to make the final decision makes me nervous as there is always a chance for people to be unreasonable no matter how much evidence you give them contrary to their opinion. I would like to know under which context you classify if any part of the public has potential to be impacted by a project. I think that this is an important part of the public participation section as you mention that participation should come from those potentially impacted.
Shelby Feniak over 1 year ago
The Panel recognizes some huge issues with the CEAA 2012 limiting public involvement. I agree that public participation should include all interested parties and not just those directly impacted by a project. I also agree that the public should be better informed on the process of IAs so that their participation is more meaningful. I believe that the use of social media, and processes such as the one set up for the expert panel report, could be beneficial to informing the public. However, public participation may also lengthen the process which reinforces the need for project specific timelines.
Caitlin Herrick over 1 year ago
I agree with the panel on their recommendation to make public participation more meaningful. By doing so, public impact should be increased regarding the decisions making process to make sure interests are considered and to increase collaboration between public and proponents. One of the other ideas that I though was interesting on this topic was the implementation of feedback mechanisms for the participants (public, stakeholders and Indigenous people) to see how their input was incorporated into the IA. I believe that this will encourage more participation if the individuals can see the influence they have on changes. If information is available, people will be more confident in the process as a whole.
Amber Longacre over 1 year ago
It is important to have a public consultation process when impacts from a project impact the people and communities near the new development. I think it is important to address improved strategies at getting more public participation that results in satisfactory outcomes and the public feels that they have been heard. I think this is a challenging process and the new IA discusses more interactive and collaborative methods to include the public. Some issues that may occur is the prolonging of projects due to concerns from the public. It will be difficult to properly address all issues without extending the preliminary timeline of projects. This extra time and more inclusive consultation period costs more dollars to industry, and may still not be fully resolved. I also think including the public should include educational opportunities. It is difficult to fully educate mass amounts of the public so they have a complete and comprehensive understanding of projects and the many implications. This education process will take extra employees or professionals, and more time needed from the public for them to fully grasp project considerations. I think public engagement is important but it can never be perfected.
Rachael Melenka over 1 year ago
I agree with providing early and ongoing public participation opportunities throughout the IA process, and making it more specific as to when the public can participate. It is a great idea to adapt the public education and feedback processes to reach out to more people and make it easy to access background information of the project, how it will impact the participant(s), and openness for the public to ask questions and receive answers. I agree with allowing the public to have the potential to impact decisions, but to an extent. There are concerns that some of the participants making statements about the project, whether positive or negative, could not be educated on the impacts, design or purpose of the project.
Lars over 1 year ago
Ensuring robust public participation without making the process too cumbersome can provide a real challenge in designing a proper method of IA. Allowing the public to have an impact on the outcome of a proposed project is essential to ensuring its integrity. The issue of only having a small portion of those interested in a project able to have a say in the formal process must change to ensure the integrity of IAs moving forward. However, there must still be some government control to provide a level of security to proponents that a properly conducted IA demonstrating very little environmental impacts can be approved and will not be stalled indefinitely by a few individuals. Care must also be taken to properly define the criteria for who is directly affected by a proposed project. This way those that are affected by the project can comment and intervene on the process not those who are relatively far removed from the impacts. The Panel’s recommendations to provide more time to review information and making the process more understandable to the public and providing easier access to the public are good steps toward an improved system.
Pauline Hondl over 1 year ago
I think public participation is an important aspect of an Impact Assessment. The public are often the most impacted by a project and therefore should have a say in what those impacts may be. For example, the indigenous people and the public often have a vast knowledge about the site that may not be accessible through existing databases. Talking to the communities encourages a positive working relationship with the industry. The recommendation of having Impact Assessment information accessible to the public allows the public to have more input and influence on the Impact Assessment. Therefore, I agree with the expert panel report for this section because it is improving the Impact Assessment process and increasing public participation.
JD over 1 year ago
There needs to be some reform of the "standing test", however, making the process "open to all" is not the panacea that the Panel has made it out to be. Perhaps legislation could be changed to allow participants who would like to submit a comment can do so but there needs to be some form of vetting of participants to create an evidence-based, scientific, timely process that still upholds the rules of natural justice. Simply letting unsophisticated parties to pile untested evidence into the process is not fair or efficient for anyone.
Casi Bouchie over 1 year ago
I support your decision to remove the restrictions introduced by CEAA 2012 and make public participation more inclusive by allowing anyone concerned with a project to be involved. However, I remain concerned about how exactly public participation will influence decision making. The report states that “results of public participation should have the potential to impact decisions” – yet this is also the expectation of the current EA process, and the public has been left largely disillusioned due to their inability to affect real change. Will proponents be required to show that concerns voiced by the public have impacted project decisions in any meaningful way? I also support your decision to improve the physical and cognitive accessibility of project information. I think that creating an online databank with a simple, user-friendly interface is an excellent idea. The report speaks of producing “non-technical summaries to communicate IA information” in addition to this. Will the creation of these documents be done by the proponent or by the responsible authority? If they are the responsibility of the proponent, I recommend that they be reviewed by the government to prevent perceptions of bias or accusations by the public of information being left out or misrepresented.
Jamie G. over 1 year ago
Clear, understandable and accessible information should be available to the public. The public should also be able to be involved and have a voice in the IA and throughout the project. I liked the IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum because people should understand how their input has affected the decision-making and planning of the project. This will definitely encourage people to participate if they are certain that their voice will be heard and acknowledged. But what happens if they miss someone’s concerns and needs, because they mean that the project can’t place at all? You can’t make everyone happy, so where will the threshold be for adequate “meaningful” participation? Participation takes time and money from the participants, the federal government, the proponent, and from the experts who have to be there to explain documents and technical terms. Who will pay for this: the federal government, the company or the public? The Panel mentioned a Participant Funding Program without explaining how money is put into it and what it’s spent on. The Panel also says that documents should be translated into “user-friendly formats” and different languages. Information can be easily lost in translation and takes a lot of time to do properly.
Erin over 1 year ago
I think that this component of the IA process can have a larger effect on a project than some would assume. For example, the Site C Clean Energy Project protests have extended the EA process for more than 3 years, which is pretty substantial. This is a great tool for the general public to use to voice their opinions and concerns, however, I think it is vital that the general public is not receiving any misinformation. I do agree with the panel’s recommendations that the information regarding the proposed activities must be easily accessible and presented in forms that the public, stakeholders and Indigenous people can understand. The project should be inclusive and allow those wishing to contribute to be able to do so, however, this may be difficult for people who are from rural areas.
Claire Merkosky over 1 year ago
While I agree that participation in IAs should be available to a wide range of members of the public, I think that some qualifications for who can provide comments should be required. I feel that if any member of the public has the opportunity to submit comments, individuals who are not aware of all project details and who are not taking into account all five aspects of sustainability (environment, economy, social, cultural and health) could submit comments that are heavily biased towards one or two aspects. I think that the CEAA 2012 definition of an interested party should be maintained, however the proponent should be required to be transparent in their decision process of which members of the public earn which status. For example, for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, for each of the 468 applications that were denied, the proponent would need to include a brief explanation of why, and make this explanation available to the public. I think that this will lead to higher quality, relevance, and applicability of comments received. This in turn could lead to a higher percentage of comments that become integrated into the project’s plans, which would increase public trust of the IA process.
Lauren Erdely over 1 year ago
The Panel discusses the notion of “meaningful public participation” and suggest that methods be improved to reduce the limitations currently restricting the public’s ability to participate. I appreciate the suggestion to develop online forums or accessible media outlets appropriate for comments. I also agree with the suggestion that the current lack of transparency tends to upset individuals who feel as though their input has been overlooked. However, the panel suggested that the current method of allowing precedence to those who are “directly affected” limits trust and does not improve efficiency. I do not necessarily agree with this largely because I believe misinformation and false ideas regarding impacts and outcomes of certain projects can plague public opinion and reduce efficiency when gathering and considering meaningful feedback. The solution to this in my opinion is to improve the “inform” step of the IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum. Reducing the amount of misinformation before individuals feel compelled to become involved will likely improve the quality of the feedback being considered. However, should public participation be “opened-up” without improving the quality and availability of factual and relevant information in regards to the proposed project, the IA process may become overwhelmed with diluted public opinions that could be easily resolved through communication.
Melissa over 1 year ago
I believe that Valued Ecosystem Components can only be determined through public participation. There must be proof of how the public was involved as well as how their comments or opinions were taken into account, and if an opinion was disregarded, any reasons why must be made public knowledge, and members of the public should be given more time to provide further arguments. Having this transparent relationship with the public and their opinions will be a step towards ensuring that they do not feel that they are being undervalued or ignored. Incorporating public opinions early on will reduce the number of projects that get approved in areas where they are opposed, and before any important decisions or alterations to the landscape are made. I definitely agree with the statement that those most affected should be given priority consideration and that it should not be limited to only them; anyone who feels strongly about a project should be given opportunity to voice their concerns. Providing the public with links to background or extended information would be extremely helpful for them, especially for the lay-person who may not have access to, or an understanding of scientific articles or journals.
Laura Hjartarson over 1 year ago
I agree meaningful participation should include two-way dialogue. It is easy for proponents to ask for feedback from the public, but difficult to know if they are truly considering the concerns of the public. Letting the public know how their input will be incorporated in decision-making will help the public in giving more meaningful input. However it may be difficult for proponents to demonstrate how their comments were incorporated and I would like to see some recommendations on how this could be done. It seems there is still uncertainty as to who has the capacity to participate in the environmental assessment process. If an overwhelming number of people are interested in providing input, how will the input be prioritized? If funding is limited, who will be able to utilize it? Should everybody have an equal opportunity to contribute no matter their connection to the project?
Tayla Lazenby over 1 year ago
Meaningful public participation historically has been hard to create. Both stakeholders and proponents face language, spatial, and financial barriers leading to ineffective public participation. Presently social media may help with some of these aspects but there are still issues with knowledge gaps and awareness of projects that can restrict the effectiveness of public participant. The Mackenzie Valley System for participation is a good reference, as this allowed public to voice concerns and have individual responses moving towards conversations rather than public information loading. This type of system could allow proponents to explain how public concerns will be addressed. I believe that public participation needs to be incorporated into an IA before any site specific designs have been finalized giving the public the ability to have an impact and feel heard. However, I recognize having all concerned citizens voice their opinion in this stage could be overwhelming and lead nowhere so a suggest waves of participation (few highly effected in first wave, than everyone else in the subsequent waves).
Janelle Goodine over 1 year ago
2.4 I agree that meaningful participation should be a central component in the IA process to facilitate public education and address potential concerns early on. I think that having participation will help identify Valued Components that may be disregarded otherwise. However, I do not believe that everyone in the public has an equal opportunity to contribute their thoughts that surround a new project. Jean Piette puts a strong emphasis on idea that “the whole society must participate in these processes.” But developing incentives like funding for increased public participation may be challenging, leaving certain communities less accessible to the tools used with collaboration such as in-person engagement. I agree that current practices are not sufficient since they only have minimal informing and consulting roles in the IAP2’s spectrum. I think at the very least, the involvement phase in the IAP2’s spectrum should be implemented into the system since public feedback is minimal given current legislation. Lastly, I think there should be a clear understanding of what information obtained from participation will be incorporated into the outcomes of the process since some data gathered from this process may not be relevant to the project.
Victoria Masquillier over 1 year ago
While it is encouraging to see that participation will be opened to all, it raises the question of how all interested parties will made aware of the opportunity to participate, gain the knowledge required to comment and have their voices heard in an efficient way. The addition of social media to broadcast participation opportunities, increases in funding and language options, and continuous consultation are good ideas that have been mentioned to address issues of accessibility. However, for people in remote communities, travelling somewhere to participate, or organizing consultations in remote communities could create high costs, which could be addressed by increased funding, so it would be interesting to see the idea of online consultation considered.
Janelle Goodine over 1 year ago
Removed by moderator.
KierstenS over 1 year ago
Outlining a place for public participation within the IA process is imperative, as this will allow for more public to get involved, as they can see how their opinions and knowledge have an impact on a project. Requiring public participation beyond the “consult” section on the spectrum of public participation will allow people with little governmental and political power to have an influence on the people and agencies who do hold this power. I think that by advancing the IA process towards the “collaboration” end of the spectrum, projects are more likely to be supported in the future. This is due to the fact that people who are increasingly affected by a certain project, will have the ability to provide inputs that have an effect on the projects themselves, and this will increase social license, which will in turn make the entirety of the IA process more trustworthy. By showing the public that their participation can make a difference, as seen in the Berger Inquiry, this will encourage more of the public to get involved and actively participate in projects which may affect them in the present and future.
Chris Arbter over 1 year ago
An aspect of public participation that I think should be improved upon is more feedback from government on opinions help by Canadian citizens. Rather than information just being thrown across to the public and allowing their opinions to be heard, government and individuals/groups of the public should continually pass information and opinions back and forth. Looking at media and comment panels such as this; government should give feedback to the opinions presented by individuals who want to make their voices heard. This allows for a greater sense of involvement for individuals, knowing that their specific thoughts and ideas are being noted. I agree that it is extremely important to involve public participation when dealing with projects that will likely have an effect on the individuals at hand, though I do not always think that it is necessary to have their opinions weighted the same. Although much of the public lost their trust with NEB for their unequal weighting of participation, I agree with NEB in how they did this. In truth, if everyone who wanted to participate in a project was granted equal weighting, the project would likely never go through because of constant concerns from different people. Priorities need to be established
Raiany Dias de Andrade Silva over 1 year ago
It is undeniable that public participation is necessary to the process of an Impact Assessment, and essential to social license. But participation is complicated, since it is not yet clear who the public should be: if people directly impacted by the project; people in an affected area or region; informed people; or the general public. While these thresholds are not defined, citizens feel misrepresented and frustrated by the process. What meaningful public participation is? I think it is letting those who want to participate have knowledge enough to be heard. Thus, communities should be informed to become capable to have a meaningful participation. Costs related to building this knowledge should not be a considered as a problem, since not having social license to operate could create a barrier to projects’ activities.
Ashley Sarauer over 1 year ago
2.4.1 Meaningful participation is a corner stone of the refinements recommended for the IA report. Expanding the range of opportunity for public participation beyond the realm of ‘inform’ and ‘consent’ is a good idea, as it increases the opportunity for public trust and confidence and allows for ‘essentially anyone’ to be able to comment, learn and provide feedback on the process. But there are also opportunities for increased conflict in this approach. The classic example that comes to mind is when Leonardo DiCaprio came to protest the Alberta oil sands projects taking place up north. His concerns were valid, appropriate and debatable, but since his perspective was so disassociated from the economic, geographical and socio-cultural context of the province, Albertans generally felt opposed to his perspectives and essentially wanted him to ‘butt out’. This scenario could intensify if individuals like DiCaprio gain an increased role in the ‘decision-making process’ (not to mention the power dynamics that could unfold for those with more financial or political resources- and thus, potentially ‘more say’). Ultimately there are benefits to the NEB “standing test” because it allows for certain opinions to come to the forefront rather than being lost in a sea of public debate.
Jessica Newman over 1 year ago
I believe that public participation is a major component in the EA process. The public can bring awareness of local issues and concerns about a project whether it be locally or nationally. Having an IA legislation that requires information to be easily accessible, permanently and publicly available is critical for gaining support from the public. This allows for the opportunity for concerns and project issues to be brought forth and dealt with early on in the process. However, I think one of the biggest barriers for meaningful public participation will be having informed public participation. Informed public participation should occur early on with providing the public with an unbiased overview of the project to help with understanding project components and encourage meaningful engagement. Having informed and meaningful participation is an important part in gaining social trust for projects and should be a part of the whole IA process. I believe that there were a lot of good points addressed in the meaningful and inclusive participation that support the public early on in the process as opposed to having limited public participation.
Glen Schmidt, Laricina Energy over 1 year ago
Participation restricted to affected parties is required as both a practical and cost effective process. Timelines cannot be managed if outside & not directly affected interests continue to revisit "policy" concerns under the umbrella of a "project review".In many application processes unaffected parties too often use the "project" process to revisit "policy" decisions. Where Governments have established both the "code" & "terms" of best practice, revisiting these defined frameworks must be excluded. For example joint jurisdictional agreement of the rules under which development may occur cannot be effectively revisited in each project. A reasonable restriction on who is affected by a project is a requirement for an effective process, it is unreasonable to make each project a referendum on prior policy decisions.
Haley Quadros over 1 year ago
Section 2.4.1 does a good job at identifying the barriers to public participation in IAs. It has the ability to begin a discussion around what "meaningful" participation should be defined as, emphasizing the need for public participants to know that their concerns will have a measurable impact on decisions concerning the project. Having said that, it requires more detail on how these recommendations can be feasibly implemented. The example regarding online feedback mechanisms is certainly an interesting option but I'd like to hear more about how practical that could be when dealing with potentially hundreds of individuals or varying levels of expertise all expecting to have an influence on the outcome. This section talks a lot about inclusivity, which in theory is the ideal outcome, but it fails to convince me of how this will be achieved in practice.
Bradley Wong over 1 year ago
Including the public within the IA is a hard task as it may be intimidating for the average Joe to go and listen/question a development when they are unaware of what it represents or could mean to them. I think that what is being recommended in the reduction of the formality of these meetings a good start as it will allow for people who before have been too intimidated to go to them to be able to listen and even have some input in what being done. However, I believe that these should also be offered in other languages because of how diverse Canada is. Not everyone understands English, which may make attending these more difficult as there would be a language barrier for understanding. Lack of accessibility is another problem that was mentioned and is important. However by putting all of the information within a registry for access begs the question of duration? Would it be indefinite or is there a limitation its duration. This would be because overtime as there are more and more projects within a region, finding the correct one would become difficult. These are feasible concepts which if implemented could help the public in understanding.
Erin Kohler over 1 year ago
While is it important to recognize that the updated definition of interested parties to those who are “directly affected by the carrying out of the designated project” or a “person [who] has relevant information or expertise” is not an inclusive enough definition, it must also be noted that a further update of the definition to include all those who have an interest in the IA may prove very difficult to commit to. Promising that all those who wish to be a part of the consultation process can will have to taken very seriously and will require a great amount of time and effort on the part of the government to read, assess, and respond when necessary to all those who wish to comment. If this were to be a successful endeavor then it would truly be a great step in furthering our IA policy in Canada.
B. Yakimets over 1 year ago
I strongly agree with your recommendation to provide non-technical accessible summaries, as well as making relevant information accessible. I think this will greatly increase the ability for people to participate. I also think that increasing visibility of an assessment could help. Either through social media or other channels, letting people know an assessment is occurring may help as well. I believe assessments are required to be posted to newspapers, but as this is a decreasing information source, increasing visibility in other areas may become more relevant. Incorporation of public opinion has been lacking in assessments to date. Considering the size, scale and influence of most companies, it can be easy for individual public voices to be lost. Companies may not like hearing no, but someone has to tell them every once in a while. Public consultation should have meaningful impact in the progress of industry, to help incorporate external values lost in a market consideration.
Amelia Tobin over 1 year ago
Encouraging the public to get involved by making information easily accessible, using social media and showing the public how their comments can influence a project (through the feedback mechanisms) are all really good ideas to increase the public participation. It allows people to see that they actually can make a difference, not that what they say is ignored. Communicating in the public’s chosen language is really beneficial, especially for Canadian citizens who perhaps don’t have English as a first language. Also the learning events suggested is a really good idea, it can cut costs for every party involved while being beneficial to so many people at once. Longer time frames to review information are a good idea, but with such short timelines for the entire IA process will this be able to be implemented? Similarly with the funding issues, it would be great if the costs for the public participation were split between the involved company, the government and the public, but it is not clear how this would work or if any of the mentioned parties have the funds for this.
Grayson Wagner over 1 year ago
This document is meant to be fairly broad, and it is left to be seen how the increase in public participation will play out, but initially I am left with a few questions. How is it decided who is impacted directly as opposed to simply having a say, especially in an era of global climate change brought on by anthropogenic activities? I think the panel's aim in opening up public participation is valuable, as this question could be controversial in establishing who is directly affected per CEAA2012. That said, there are a few potential issues with how many groups are allowed to participate, particularly with how funding will work. With more participation comes more cost. Wise discretion will be extremely important in managing which groups can comment and how much they are funded to balance public participation with reality in terms of finite funds. Similarly, regardless of participation, some groups will not be happy with the outcome and perhaps feel they were not heard. Again, discretion will need to be used to decide whether enough participation was allowed and whether enough consideration was given to that participation, but with the knowledge that not everyone will feel confident with the outcome.
Melanie de Kappelle over 1 year ago
The Panel identified benefits that arise through public participation in IA, supporting an increase of public participation. Under ‘Meaningful Participation’, The Panel calls for “early and ongoing” participation opportunities that are “open to all”, and that these “impact” the project’s outcome. This recommendation is a good start, however, clarification required. First, “ongoing” begs the question: Will public input be taken at any point, or simply at a higher scheduled frequency? Second, “open to all” should be made explicit; does this refer to all those wishing to make comment? Finally, the recommendation fails to specifically address how proponents prove public comments are taken into consideration. Under ‘Capacity for Participation’, public concerns were identified, and in light of these, The Panel recommends that a participant funding program be implemented. This program is to “cover costs […] in all phases of the IA”. It appears that “increasing capacity” has been translated to “increase funding for participation” ; the recommendation makes little reference to increasing knowledge capacity. Thus, an appropriate resolution should also include increasing public education on the IA process. Under ‘Informed Participation’, The Panel recommends legislation be implemented, making IA information easily accessible, permeant, and public. This seems reasonable and feasible.