Looking both ways: In this post we look at seven implications of new Canadian Environmental Assessments processes for Indigenous Nations. In a follow-up post we will look at implications for project proponents.
By Don Richardson (Shared Value Solutions Ltd.) and Larry Sault, CEO of Anwaatin - an Indigenous business working with Indigenous communities in linked climate change related Cap and Trade markets that include Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and California)
On January 27, 2016, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, and Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced an interim approach to restore trust in Environmental Assessment. In this post we look at seven implications of this new approach to Environmental Assessment for Indigenous Nations. In a follow-up post we will look at implications for project proponents. We’ve previously written about related topics, including: "Changes Coming to Canada’s Pipeline Review Processes", "Eyeing the Overhaul of Canada’s Environmental Assessment Process", "Indigenous Environmental Monitoring: Why Bother?", "Aboriginal Edge: Confrontation OR Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships", "Archaeology and Indigenous Rights and Interests", "More to the Picture Than Meets the Eye: Neil Young, Michael Porter, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Unconventional Oil and Gas", and "Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments".
Borrowing a page from economist Michael Porter, whose 1991 “Porter Hypothesis” accurately predicts that good environmental regulations create efficiency and encourage innovations that help improve commercial competitiveness, the Ministers seek to
“demonstrate to Canadians and to the world that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. Protecting the environment and growing the economy are not incompatible goals; in fact, our future success demands that we do both.”
Evidence suggests that the Ministers' adoption of Porter’s ideas makes sense. The authors of a comprehensive evidence-based assessment of the Porter Hypothesis conclude that by “suggesting that better protection of the environment could lead to “win–win” solutions for the whole of society, Porter has certainly opened the minds of many people, leading to significant environmental and economic improvements”