A Swift Kick in the Assessment Act

08. September 2022 0

In a recent decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal examined the constitutionality of the Impact Assessment Act (the “IAA”) and found it to be an “example of legislative creep” and an unconstitutional exercise of the federal government’s power. The IAA was introduced in 2019 as a mechanism to allow the federal government to regulate major federal and provincial projects (including electric, oil and gas, and industrial projects) by assessing the effects of these projects on the environment. However, the Court of Appeal commented that in practice, the IAA operated as an “effective federal veto”, potentially allowing the federal government to regulate “almost every aspect of province’s economy…along with a province’s development of its natural resources”. While one dissenting judge, Justice Greckol, was less concerned about the IAA’s creepiness, the legislation remains unconstitutional—at least until the decision is appealed.

This post was co-authored by Nicola Virk, and articling student Amelia Radke.

Questions? Comments? Please contact Nicola Virk at (nvirk@harpergrey.com) or anyone else from our team listed on the Authors page.