By Maya Stano, Mark Youden

BC recently advanced plans to modernize its EA (environmental assessment) process by passing first reading of Bill 51 – the new Environmental Assessment Act.

The new Act would:

  • expand the Environmental Assessment Office’s (“EAO’s”) role and purpose (to promoting sustainability and supporting United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”) implementation);
  • flush out early planning processes (before EA certificate (“EAC”) applications are submitted);
  • prohibit projects that cause “extraordinarily adverse effects”;
  • recognize Indigenous land use plans; and
  • provide for cost recovery to the Province and Indigenous nations