Ecojustice intervened before the Alberta Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada to uphold and defend an important environmental law that protects people across Canada, and the air, water, and land we all depend on.
Under Canadian law, protecting our environment is the shared responsibility of both federal and provincial governments. Canadians of all political stripes must work together to safeguard that environment.
In 2019, the Alberta government launched a legal challenge against the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and its regulations. Ecojustice intervened in this challenge; however, in May 2022 the Alberta Court of Appeal found in favour of the Alberta government.
This decision was then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In October 2023, the court ruled that the IAA was largely unconstitutional.
Even though the Court found the IAA was not sufficiently focused on federal jurisdiction, it confirmed that no project is immune from environmental scrutiny: “The fact that a project involves activities primarily regulated by the provincial legislatures does not create an enclave of exclusivity.”
All types of projects can and should be subject to a comprehensive federal environmental assessment to protect against harm in Canada’s areas of responsibility.