Balancing Policy and Prosperity

by | October 2023

In October, the Supreme Court of Canada made national headlines when it delivered a highly anticipated judgement that affects our economy — and by extension prosperity for all Canadians, which we know is a top priority for the engaged women we surveyed who represent 4 million+ women, or 12% of all Canadians.

The Court ruled that parts of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA), also known as Bill C-69 (or the ‘No More Pipelines’ bill), are unconstitutional.

The IAA allows federal regulators to consider the potential environmental and social impacts of natural resource projects such as pipelines, nuclear power, and mining.

Some people say the IAA is important to minimize environmental and community impact. But others are concerned that…

  1. The legislation duplicates already stringent provincial regulations that protect the environment.
  2. Federal regulators have full authority to approve or reject projects, leaving provinces out of the decision-making loop.
  3. There are now too many hurdles in the way of projects that help to fuel our economy, creating uncertainty for business, as well as scaring investors (and jobs) away.

Right now, there are 23 projects in the federal impact assessment process. But since the IAA was enacted in 2019, CBC reports that only 8 final decisions have been issued that allow projects to move ahead.

In a 5-2 decision, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional for the federal government to regulate projects that should be overseen by the provinces.

Their ruling doesn’t strike down the Act, but the federal government is expected to modify it to align with the Supreme Court’s findings.

Many people see this decision as a win for Canadian prosperity and for provincial rights, as the constitution states these matters are provincial, not federal. Projects that are currently waiting on the federal impact assessment process can now potentially move forward faster.

If they do, that attracts investment, creates jobs, and generates huge economic benefits for our country — which could help address some of the affordability challenges we are facing and bolster prosperity coast-to-coast.

Read more via the CBC.