Government of Canada

 

Back Kamloops, British Columbia

The Expert Panel for the review of environmental assessment (EA) processes met in Kamloops November 28-29, 2016 for in-person sessions which included public and Indigenous presentations, a public workshop and an Indigenous open dialogue session.

The following summary presents the comments and input received throughout these in-person engagement sessions. It is intended to present the views of participants, and not the views of the Panel itself.

The summary is organized using the Panel’s “Suggested Themes for Discussion”, available on the Panel’s website at www.EAreview.ca.

The Panel wishes to thank all those who participated for sharing their expertise and experience at these sessions.

Environmental Assessment in Context

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that EA processes should be transparent, accessible and holistic to address health impacts, human rights impacts, and community wellbeing. Participants noted that a precautionary approach should be applied to EA decision-making. Many participants identified the need for an opportunity early in the project planning process to stop a development should it be deemed to pose an unacceptable risk on a community.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard that one of the main limitations of EA processes is the inability to assess the potential effects of a proposed project on Aboriginal rights and title. The Panel heard that these processes do not incorporate Indigenous laws and land tenure, Indigenous histories and knowledge and do not account for participation of youth, elders and families.

The Panel heard about a unique review model for project assessment that was developed by Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN). The model includes Indigenous representation and ensures Indigenous laws, cultural perspectives, knowledge and history are considered. The SSN model was used for the KGHM Ajax mine and was provided to the Panel as an example of cooperation between British Columbia, Canada and the Indigenous representation.

Overarching Indigenous Considerations

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that Indigenous engagement in the process can lead to significant changes in project design and the EA process, including the addition of valued components to be studied. The Panel also heard that Indigenous governments on both sides of provincial borders should be engaged in projects with potential transboundary impacts.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard recommendations that consent-based decision-making and revenue sharing must become a reality in EA processes. Further, the Panel heard that current EA processes are inadequate to fulfill the Crown’s constitutional obligations and fall short of meeting the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), including the principle of free, prior, and informed consent.

In addition to seeking consent consistent with the principles of UNDRIP, the Panel heard that First Nations must exercise jurisdiction and authority over their traditional lands, determine whether and how lands and resources should be developed and that this can only occur if communities are informed of the full impacts of project (s).

The Panel heard recommendations for a new act that implements the principles of UNDRIP, recognizes the commitments of the Government of Canada to a Nation to Nation relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. This new act would include joint decision-making at every stage of EA, from early engagement to post-EA monitoring and follow-up.

The Panel heard about the need to respect and incorporate Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) into EA processes and decision-making. The right to self-determination was tied to the right to develop Indigenous decision-making structures that respect ITK, Indigenous laws and recognize the colonial history of wrongs.

The Panel heard about the Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a historic document that outlines the Aboriginal lands and rights issues as they affected First Nations in British Columbia, in particular, the Secwepemc (Shuswap), Nlakapamux (Couteau or Thompson), and Okanagan tribes. Several groups noted that they have never surrendered Aboriginal rights and title, nor have they surrendered jurisdiction and authority to make decisions on matters that have the potential to affect rights and lands.

Planning of Environmental Assessment

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that early engagement is required and regional or strategic planning should occur before extensive investments are made in a proposed project, either from the community, the proponent or the government. Regional assessments could increase the quality and effectiveness of decision-making, particularly those tied to cumulative effects. Early planning could identify zones where no development would be allowed, including areas in proximity to a community, and should include an analysis of alternatives. In a pre-assessment phase, Indigenous perspectives on land use and change over time should be integrated into the project design and decision-making.

The Panel also heard that an EA should be conducted when major federal authorizations are required for a project and when a project takes place on federal lands. Where there is one project, there should be one EA and a federal EA should be required when a project has an impact on an area of federal responsibility.

The Panel heard that the EA should look at all potential impacts, including impacts to Indigenous and treaty rights. The Panel heard that health should be a critical aspect of EA and that all human health impacts should be assessed in the EA, not just Indigenous health impacts. The Panel heard that overlaps in ecosystem function, and how impacts to water, air and land can cumulatively affect health, should be accounted for when comprehensively assessing impacts to health and to health infrastructure and capacity.

Participants noted that a federal EA should focus on issues that are not captured in the provincial EA process. The Panel heard that transboundary watersheds should be effectively considered in EAs. Participants indicated that impacts to the environment, health and land use should also be studied cumulatively. The Panel also heard that EAs should include a full cost accounting model, considering social, environmental and economic costs, and a similar assessment for alternatives.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard about the need to engage with Indigenous communities early in order to understand the impact of projects and influence project design. They also heard that the current process relies too heavily on a western worldview and does not consider Indigenous perspectives on the environment, social matters and economic impacts.

The Panel also heard about the need for EA processes to consider human health, including emotional, spiritual and mental health. Groups noted that the health of the family and community is rooted in the health of their traditional territory. Further, the Panel heard that traditional economic principles of wealth sharing and assessment of net benefits do not take into account the interconnectedness of the environment.

Conduct of Environmental Assessment

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that there is a need for a clear, effective and efficient process to more easily address considerations and concerns of the public. The Panel heard that timelines are too tight for meaningful engagement but also heard that timelines need to be clear for an effective and certain process.

The Panel heard that the conduct of the EA by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was a positive change given their expertise and experience in EA processes.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 should be repealed. Groups questioned why municipalities can earn a seat at the decision-making table but Indigenous people, who are often most seriously impacted by resource projects through unjustifiable infringement on Aboriginal rights, are not granted decision-making powers.

Decision and Follow-up

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that the EA process should be based on clear, neutral, tested and independent science. The Panel heard that communities must validate the science in the EA to ensure the information is accurate and not biased in its interpretation. The burden of proof that there will be no risk should be on the developer.

The Panel heard about the need to use citizen science, where citizens, working with academics, collect local baseline data on various topics such as climate change, air quality and water temperature to improve the results of EAs. The Panel also heard that case studies from similar projects, community interviews, and public opinion research should be used to inform the decision.

The Panel also heard that there needs to be transparency throughout the process, and that events such as closed- door meetings between decision makers and developers result in a lack of trust in the process. The Panel was told that all data used in the EA should be made available to the public and should not be protected or owned by proponents. Participants indicated that all decisions made throughout the EA, including the final decision, should be provided to the public with rationale.

The Panel heard that a financial soundness test should be mandatory and that there should be mandatory financial bonds to ensure accountability for a project remains with the proponent. The Panel heard that there is a need for ongoing monitoring on-site throughout the life cycle of the project. Capacity should be restored to field officers for monitoring and compliance work and a citizen panel could be established for the EA and for the ongoing monitoring.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard about the need for Indigenous participation in follow-up and monitoring of projects. Participants also noted there is a conflict of interest with proponents conducting their own monitoring and follow-up and there should be mandated fines (equivalent to damage) imposed on proponents/violators.

Public Involvement

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that there is a need for meaningful and continuous public participation and a need for a clear demonstration of how comments from the public were considered in EA decisions. The Panel heard that local governments should be represented in community engagement and that community-level engagement should be encouraged. Participants noted that where early engagement occurred, project design was changed to accommodate concerns raised.

The Panel heard from many participants that local Indigenous peoples and all affected communities should be engaged early in the planning phase and throughout the review. Community knowledge can inform the possible identification of no-go zones and potential risks to the project due to local environmental conditions. This community engagement requires time and resources to ensure it is effective.

The Panel heard that there is a need for transparency and access to information, and that the use of the web-based registry of information helped to enhance transparency. The Panel heard that education on the process and access to information are important to ensure meaningful engagement. It was noted that multiple-engagement mechanisms such as the establishment of technical working groups or citizen panels could be utilized to enhance engagement.

The Panel heard that Indigenous peoples should be provided an opportunity to participate at each step of the process.

Coordination

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

The Panel heard that it is important to minimize duplication between jurisdictions, while having both jurisdictions (federal/provincial) at the table. Multi-jurisdictional EAs should be the exception so as to minimize delays and duplication in the process. The Panel heard that the roles of the federal and provincial governments are not clear in joint EAs. Communities are not certain to which government they should raise their concerns. The Panel also heard that there can be confusion if multiple parties are running the process and that substitution is a helpful tool to address this concern.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

The Panel heard that EA legislation should reflect Indigenous people’s inherent jurisdiction. Participants expressed that Indigenous communities should have equal footing with Canada, including capacity funding to develop comprehensive, legally binding land-use plans for their territories that can inform development in accordance with Indigenous laws, traditions and customs.

Annex I

Public sessions – November 28, 2016

List of Presenters

  • Gina Morris, Kamloops Moms for Clean Air
  • Helen Newmarch, Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association
  • Paula Pick and Don Barz, Kamloops Area Preservation Association
  • Jill Calder, Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society
  • Tony Brumell, Coalition to Protect East Kamloops
  • Michael Mehta, Individual
  • Randy Sunderman, Peak Solutions Consulting Inc. and Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association, Ajax Sub-committee
  • Nicola Banton, KGHM
  • Peter Barss, Individual
  • Brad Armstrong, Individual
  • Bill Hadgkiss, Individual
  • Jill Weitz, Salmon Beyond Borders

Workshop Participants

  • There were 19 participants.

Indigenous sessions – November 29, 2016

List of Presenters

  • Kelly Mortimer, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council
  • Chief Lee Spahan, Cold Water Indian Band
  • Acting Chief Terry Deneault, Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN)
  • Chief Fred Seymour, Tk’emlups First Nation
  • Sunny Lebourdais, SSN technical advisor
  • Chief Patrick Harry, Canoe Creek First Nation, Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation
  • Jay Johnson, Senior Negotiator from Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), Rosalie Yazzie, Legal Counsel, Lisa Wilson, Natural Resources Department Manager, Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • Chief Shane Gottfriedson Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Kamloops

Open Dialogue Participants

  • There were 2 participants.

Submissions Received in Kamloops

Title

Author

Date Posted

View Full Submission

Transcript - Indigenous Presentations, Nov 29 2016

Kamloops Transcript

January 12, 2017

Transcript - Public Presentations, Nov 28 2016

Kamloops Transcript

January 12, 2017

Supporting documentation for Don Barz, Kamloops Nov 28 2016

Don Barz

January 09, 2017

Supporting document for public presentation in Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Randy Sunderman

December 29, 2016

Presentation "Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (“CEAA”)" for Kamloops, Nov 29 2016

Okanagan Nation Alliance

December 15, 2016

Presentation "SSN Assessment Process: Lessons from the Land" for Kamloops, Nov 29 2016

TK'EMLÚPS SECWEPEMCÚLECW

December 15, 2016

Presentation "B.C. Mining Projects in Transboundary Watersheds " for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Salmon Beyond Borders

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Environmental Impact Assessment In Canada: New Tools And Citizen Science Can Improve Results" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Michael D. Mehta, Ph.D. of Thompson Rivers University

December 15, 2016

Speaking notes for presentation "Presentation to the Expert Panel Review of Environmental Assessment Processes" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Brad Armstrong

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Health and human rights impact assessment (HIA, HRA) processes in Canada for major resource projects: Success or failure?" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Peter Barss

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Presentation to Expert Panel" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

KGHM

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Federal Panel Review: Supporting Public Engagement" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Randy Sunderman

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Presentation to CEAA Review Panel" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Emma Hodgson and Adrienne Davidson,

December 15, 2016

Submission "Presentation to the Panel Review Federal Environmental Assessment Process" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society

December 15, 2016

Presentation "Presentation to the Panel Review Federal Environmental Assessment Process" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society

December 15, 2016

Submission "SUMMARY OF KAMLOOPS AREA PPRESERVATION ASSOCIATION (KAPA) PRESENTATION TO EXPERT PANEL" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

KAMLOOPS AREA PPRESERVATION ASSOCIATION

December 15, 2016

Presentation "PRESENTATION: IMPACT OF INDUSTRY NEXT TO COMMUNITY" for Kamloops, Nov 28 2016

Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association

December 15, 2016

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