Canada West Foundation recommends amendments to Bill C-69

Image: Kinder Morgan Canada

A new report from the Canada West Foundation says that while the intentions behind Canada's controversial new legislation to overhaul the way pipelines and other projects are reviewed are good, without several key amendments, Bill C-69 will not only miss the mark, it will also make a challenging situation in Canada worse and throw open the doors to new rounds of court challenges.

The legislation is being reviewed this week by the Senate's standing committee on energy, the environment and natural resources.

“Bill C-69 is meant to create an approach to impact assessment that Canadians trust, that protects the environment, health and safety, that enhances Canada's global competitiveness, and that provides certainty to investors.

“As is, however, it threatens public trust that the regulatory system is free from political interference, and threatens investor confidence that there is certainty and consistency in the process. Without amendments, Bill C-69 will increase uncertainty, provoke new rounds of court challenges, politicize the process, reduce investment and risk public safety,” reads the report by Canada West Foundation President and CEO Martha Hall Findlay and Natural Resources Centre Director Marla Orenstein.

“The good news is that with specific amendments, Canada can get Bill C-69 right.”

The report, which follows months of deep analysis of the proposed legislation, shows specific, interlinked problems, and recommends a set of solutions.

Of key concern to the Canada West Foundation is that Bill C-69 would replace the National Energy Board (NEB) with a new Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) and replace the federal Environmental Assessment Act with a new Impact Assessment Act (IA Act), creating a new Impact Assessment Agency.

“Critically, we must not throw out the good work that's already been achieved on court review, analysis and project approval processes through the NEB. A simple and effective solution is to make changes to modernize the NEB under amendments to the National Energy Board Act, not under Bill C-69,” Hall Findlay said in a statement.

"Canada needs something better than its existing to approach to energy project approvals to improve public trust and investor confidence. As is, the proposed Bill C-69 only makes things worse, despite its good intentions. We're optimistic that if key amendments are made to the legislation, we can get Bill C-69 right.”