Regional & Strategic Assessments in the Proposed Federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA)

Document Type


Publication Date



Impact Assessment Act, Climate Change, Regulatory Process, Canada


There has been broad agreement among academics, practitioners and stakeholders involved in impact assessment in Canada that regional and strategic assessments offer opportunities to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of assessment processes and resulting decision making. Among the key benefits are the ability to address broader policy issues, to consider the interaction among a range of past, current and possible future activities, to improve the consideration of alternatives and cumulative effects, to streamline assessments at the project level, and to attract better projects as a result of improved clarity on what types of projects are desired. In spite of its tremendous promise, and endorsement by industry, environmental and indigenous interests alike, implementation in Canada has been slow, and so far, largely ad hoc.

In this post, we consider the progress made under Bill C-69 toward the adoption of an effective legislative framework for regional and strategic assessments. We consider this question in three stages. We first summarize the recommendations of the Expert Panel on federal EA reform with respect to regional and strategic assessments. We then consider the changes reflected in Bill C-69. Finally, we conclude with our own assessment of the effectiveness of the proposed changes, and recommend adjustments to ensure meaningful progress on the integration of regional and strategic assessments into the federal assessment process.