May 31, 2004

Canada, Quebec sign EA co-operation accord

OTTAWA, ONT-Quebec has become the latest jurisdiction to sign an Agreement on Environmental Assessment Co-operation with the federal government. The bilateral accord was signed earlier this month by the respective Environment Ministers, David Anderson and Thomas Mulcair, along with BenoÓt Pelletier, the federal Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental and Native Affairs. The terms of the agreement commit the governments of Canada and Quebec to undertake a co-operative environmental assessment for projects subject to both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Section IV.1, Division I of Quebec's Loi sur la qualitÈ de l'environnement. The environmental assessment will meet the legal requirements of both governments while maintaining their respective existing roles and responsibilities. This will promote a better co-ordination of the two environmental assessment processes. The agreement will also facilitate the sharing of information on projects by the two governments and will enable them to agree on terms of reference and evaluate the acceptability of projects; and inform each other on their decisions in this regard. The partners will also have the option of appointing a joint review panel to conduct hearings on the environmental effects of a project. This co-operative approach to the environmental assessment of projects seeks to reduce overall delays without affecting environmental protection. The agreement and related documents may be viewed on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Web site, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, or the Quebec Ministry of Environment site, www.menv.gouv.qc.ca.
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