The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
RIAS Inc. and Gartner Lee Limited
The following is a report commissioned by a Steering Committee that was initiated and chaired by the Agency. This committee brought together representatives from the trade and policy sections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), as well as representatives from Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and the Export Development Corporation (EDC). All of these parties shared an interest in issues surrounding the impact of environmental assessment regulations and requirements on the competitiveness of industry, and Canada's ability to attract investment.
The report consisted of a comparison of the national environmental assessment regimes of some of Canada's primary competitors as well as interviews with a small number of multinational corporations on the issue of environmental assessment and competitiveness. In addition, the consultant was asked to obtain some preliminary views from multinational corporations on the application of environmental assessment requirements to export credit activities. This last section was prompted by the recent commitment by the federal government in its Response to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Report on the Review of the Export Development Act (ED Act) to strengthen EDC's environmental policy in either of two ways: by including EDC's environmental review framework in the ED Act or by establishing an EDC regulation under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEA Act). The views expressed by these multinationals on the issue of environmental assessment and export credit highlight some of the important factors which must be taken into consideration in the strengthening of EDC's environmental policy using either of these two options.
The interview question was based on a hypothetical scenario that would see export credit activities subject to the domestic requirements of the CEA Act. It should be noted, however, that the CEA Act provides for the development of regulations for Crown corporations to permit sufficient flexibility so that the specific circumstances of each Crown corporation can be taken into account. In the case of the EDC, this would specifically relate to the need to maintain Canadian commercial competitiveness in the international market.
This work was undertaken in part to support the work of the Five Year Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and complements the outcome of our national consultations. The findings from this study, as well as all other input on this and all other environmental assessment issues from concerned Canadians are taken into consideration in making improvments to environmental assessment.