Mining Association of Canada | 2023 Report

The Mining Association of Canada | The Canadian Mining Story: Economic Impacts and Drivers for the Global Energy Transition 2023 55 • Trimwhat is of low relevance and time consuming. Requesting multi-year studies and research extends overall timelines and should be avoided unless the information is critically important to the assessment decision. • Scale information requirements to the magnitude of likely effects. Within the category of “major projects,” there is a large range of potential effects sizes. • Improve scoping of Indigenous engagement and participation. By the time a project enters the IAA process, the proponent will have deep engagement with directly affected Indigenous groups. Overly broad and undifferentiated scoping at the planning phase can undermine existing relationships and create difficult expectations. Fisheries Act The 2019 amendments to the Fisheries Act expanded the authority of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to create compliance tools for routine projects with no or little impact. The intent was to provide more consistent protection of fish habitat while reducing the administrative burden on proponents and the department. Few of these compliance tools are in place. In the meantime, the department and proponents must rely on site-specific reviews for common activities such as culvert replacement. The result is frustration for proponents as reviews are backlogged and officials overwhelmed with paperwork. Fisheries and Oceans Canada must take a more pragmatic approach and accelerate the development of compliance tools, particularly Codes of Practice and Prescribed Works and Waters Regulations, for numerous routine projects with known low impacts and mitigation measures. Water-crossings, including culverts and clear-span bridges, should be addressed quickly. The longer the department takes to put these in place, the higher the risk that review backlogs will prevent the department frommaking progress on other objectives of the fish habitat protection provisions and from robust review of complex and higher-impact projects. Canadian Navigable Waters Act The Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA) came into force in 2019 and is significantly different from its predecessor Navigation Protection Act. The CNWA created a new process for works, such as culverts, bridges or outfalls, on all navigable waters and adds to the Act a definition of “navigable water”. Transport Canada moved quickly to put in place an efficient review and approval system for works on navigable waters, and to disseminate guidance and answer questions. However, proponents are encountering delays and uncertainty. The department is still working to clarify how to assess whether a water body is navigable water, whether a project may impact Indigenous rights, and whether a Governor in Council Order is required for a project. Since an Order requires Cabinet approval and publication in Canada Gazette, the need for one can greatly delay a project.