Statement by Canadian Electricity Association on Bill C-69; legislative changes for major projects

Ottawa (February 8, 2018) – The Honourable Sergio Marchi, President and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), issued the following statement on today’s tabling of Bill C-69, the legislation to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts:

“Canadian electricity companies support robust impact assessment processes that are based on sound science, and inspire the trust and confidence of all Canadians, including Indigenous Peoples, who play an important role in this process. Overall, based on our initial review, Bill C-69 represents a more modern, efficient decision-making process. It should provide for a well-balanced, pragmatic approach that will lead to improved outcomes, and build public trust.

We commend the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, for her leadership throughout the review process. CEA has valued the opportunity that she and her officials have offered our members and all other stakeholders for constructive and inclusive dialogue. We also recognize the efforts that the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, has made in this endeavour.

In particular, we support the Bill’s aim of ensuring that impact assessments are completed in a timely manner, and welcome that final decision-making will continue to rest with the government, which is accountable to all Canadians. We also applaud the one-window, one-assessment approach to impact assessments led by the proposed Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, in collaboration with regulators, provinces and Indigenous Peoples.

Furthermore, CEA supports the government’s intention to provide greater investor certainty, stakeholder inclusiveness, and increased transparency and predictability of the proposed Canadian Energy Regulator’s (CER) processes and legislation. We remain optimistic that the measures contained in the new legislation will contribute to more modern and efficient decision-making.

That said, the amendments to the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) raise concerns for the electricity sector. CEA supports a balanced, thoughtful approach that protects Canada’s waters. Environmental legislation already exists for this purpose. Let us also recall that the original intent of this Act was to safeguard navigation. These proposed changes significantly expand the number of waterways considered navigable now requiring approval, which could increase costs and result in permitting delays of clean energy projects.

Accordingly, CEA plans to seek amendments to address these concerns. We trust the government will be open to further discussion and changes.

In closing, the test of this legislation will be whether good, sustainable projects, that are in the interest of Canadians, move through the process in a timely fashion.”