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ISBN: 9781552215746-06

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Federal Jurisdiction and the Impact Assessment Act

Trojan Horse or Rational Ecological Accounting?


From: The Next Generation of Impact Assessment


This chapter explores key questions respecting federal jurisdiction with regard to the IAA, beginning with a discussion of the constitutional division of powers in Canada, federalism and Canada’s political constitution, and the cooperative federalism model that has gained traction in the courts in recent decades. Having set out the federalism context, the chapter then lays out the key issues respecting federal jurisdiction over project-level assessment and examines the IAA in light of relevant case law and the academic literature.



Anna Johnston

Anna Johnston is a staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, where she works on environmental impact assessment, cumulative effects, and climate law. She co-chairs the Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus of the Réseau-Canadian Environmental Network, and in 2020 was appointed to the federal Minister’s Advisory Council on impact assessment. From 2016 to 2019, she was a delegate to the Multi- Interest Advisory Committee appointed to assist the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in reviewing and revising Canada’s federal environmental impact assessment processes. Anna holds a Master of Laws from Dalhousie University, and an LLB and BA from the University of Victoria.