Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has established the Minister’s Advisory Council on Impact Assessment.

“Our Government implemented the new Impact Assessment Act to make better rules that protect the environment and communities, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and ensure good projects can go forward,” said Wilkinson. “This Council’s thoughtful and non-partisan advice and recommendations will help ensure impact assessments in Canada continue on this path of supporting decision-making in the public interest.”

The establishment of the Council follows the first year anniversary of the Impact Assessment Act. The new Act came into force in August 2019 to strengthen environmental protection in Canada, promote cooperation with other jurisdictions, foster sustainability, restore trust in how decisions are made, and grow the economy.

Project assessments now look at proposed projects’ broader impacts, both positive and negative, including environmental, economic, social, and health. Decisions are based on scientific information and Indigenous knowledge, and ensure respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples of Canada in support of reconciliation.

The council will advise the minister on whether the new impact assessment regime is achieving its intended objectives to be efficient, transparent, predictable, capable of identifying issues early in the process, and support decision-making in the public interest.  As a first step, the Council will examine the governance of the regime, the early planning phase for impact assessments and regional and strategic assessments.

The Government of Canada sought applications from persons interested to serve as members of the Minister’s Advisory Council on impact assessment from August 27 to September 30, 2020. An evaluation committee assessed the applicants against the criteria posted in a Notice of Opportunity including broad knowledge and experience in various areas.

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Council members were appointed based on their diverse and varied backgrounds relevant to impact assessment, governance, and decision-making in the public interest. The composition of the Council reflects a balance of experience, gender and regional diversity. In addition, several members represent the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and bring a strong Indigenous perspective to the Council.

Council members are:

  • Lesley Griffiths (Chair)
  • Kate Darling
  • Carl Braun
  • Christa Lemelin
  • Pierre Baril
  • Roxanna Benoit
  • Pierre Gratton
  • Diana Lewis
  • Keith Storey
  • Anna Johnston
  • Martin Olszynski
  • Somia Sadiq
  • David McGovern (President of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and ex-officio member)

Council Chair Lesley Griffiths

Griffiths is a retired environmental and community planner. For over 30 years, she was co-principal of Griffiths Muecke, a consulting firm providing services in the areas of consultation and consensus-building processes, environmental impact assessment, resource management and community development. Griffiths has extensive experience relating to coastal and offshore planning, stakeholder involvement and facilitation, resource developments, waste management, watershed management, recreation and tourism planning, and community development.

For further information regarding the council members, click here: Members and Biographies.

The Council will meet to engage in thoughtful study and deliberation on the implementation of the Impact Assessment Act and impact assessment regime, including regional and strategic assessment regimes, and submit a first report to the Minister by June 2021 and every two years thereafter. Both the report and the minister’s response will be made public.


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