THE VOICE OF THE CANADIAN

MINING INDUSTRY SINCE 1935

Project Permitting in Canada and the Mining Industry

Executive summary

The transition to a low carbon economy, as well as changing technology and geopolitical stresses, requires the expeditious development of new mining, energy generation and infrastructure projects in Canada. There is a broad consensus that the timeline for the planning and approval process for new projects, (including “no go”) has to be shortened from 10-15 years without losing the requirements for good planning, environmental protection and Indigenous consultation.  The federal government is exploring how the project permitting process can be improved.  At the same time, the federal government is requesting an opinion from the Supreme Court of Canada on the constitutionality of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) after the Alberta Court of Appeal in May 2022 determined the IAA and the associated Physical Activities Regulations are unconstitutional. 

Federal environmental/impact assessment has been applied to mining projects since the enactment of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 1992 (CEAA 1992).  In this document, we are sharing our experience with federal assessment legislation.  We note why we believe timely, predictable and robust project permitting is essential for Canada to meet the goals it is pursuing, and the role of the mining industry in advancing those goals.  We review the challenges the mining industry has experienced with each version of federal assessment legislation and why clarity and stability of legislation is important.

For nearly 30 years, the objective of “one project one assessment” remains elusive.  The combination of provincial and federal assessment and approval processes, and related necessary Indigenous engagement, continues to fall short of coordinated, timely and efficient planning.  Such uncoordinated process duplication is not seen in other countries.

We highlight our difficulty with understanding how the approach to setting conditions and considering cumulative effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, (CEAA 2012) was consistent with assessing adverse effects in areas of federal jurisdiction.  The same approach has been carried over to the IAA, so clarification being sought remains relevant today.

We hope that the issues and challenges described in this document will provide helpful context for the constitutional debate that will occur before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Related Resources

Press Release  | 
MAC Board commits to “expeditiously identify how best to integrate the recommendations”  The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has received the final report of the independent Task Force it commissioned[...]

Popular Resources

Report  | 
MAC’s annual flagship publication detailing the latest trends in the Canadian mining industry.

Canadian Mining Stories

The sector is a major economic driver in our Canadian economy and a great contributor to jobs and leading technologies and here are our stories. 

Martha Manuel

Martha Manuel, the recipient of Women in Mining Canada’s 2020 Trailblazer Award, focuses on ensuring Canada’s mining sector creates long term benefits for the communities in which it operates.

Dana Rogers

Dana Rogers has been Vice President of Finance at B2Gold since 2014. For over 20 years, Dana’s career as a Financial Controller has spanned several public mining companies, supporting operations...

Subscribe to MAC News

"*" indicates required fields

Name

*Indicates a required field

You can unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information on how to unsubscribe, our privacy practices, and how we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Policy.

By clicking submit, you consent to allow The Mining Association of Canada to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.