Using Law as a Tool to Ensure Meaningful Public Participation in Environmental Assessment

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Canadian Environmental Assessment, Public Participation, Law Reform, Accountability, Climate Change


This article offers an evaluation of the legal provisions for public participation in Canadian Environmental Assessment law and suggests needed reform to ensure that participatory activities are meaningful. The literature on public participation provides the evaluative criteria and document review, semi-structured interviews and key informant input provides insight into legal reform. Reform in the way of essential components covering issues such as access and purpose, notice, access to information and the provision of resources is considered. As well, reforms related to process activities are also suggested that consider issues such as the timing of participation, two-way exchange of information, power balance and decision accountability.