Transparency and Accountability in Decision Making
Does the Impact Assessment Act Support Credible Decision Making?
This chapter considers the central decision points the Assessment Act (IAA) determines the extent to which the Act codifies mechanisms to provide for transparency and accountability in decisions. The chapter first provides a brief review of the challenges of arriving at credible decisions that are accountable to both the enabling statute and the evidence. Second, the chapter reviews how the IAA provides for access to information and transparency in decisions, sets out prescriptive criteria to guide decisions, and requires decision makers to provide reasons for decisions. Finally, the chapter discusses the ability to review IA decisions,specifically through judicial review.
Jason Unger is the executive director of and general counsel at the Environmental Law Centre (Alberta). Jason has focused on research and advocacy in environmental law and policy over the past eighteen years, including in relation to environmental assessment in Alberta. He has advised clients before joint panels under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and on provincial assessments. His research has focused on regulatory and policy reform to ensure accountability and certainty for environmental outcomes. In addition to environmental assessments, his research interests span water law, administrative law, species at risk, and liability for environmental harms.