Lessons from Northern Gateway: A Case for Improving Public Participation in the Federal Environmental Assessment Process
Cepella, William Connor
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This thesis explores whether public participation in the federal environmental assessment process is meaningful in practice. Public participation in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project (Northern Gateway Project) is used as a case study to evaluate the meaningfulness of public participation in environmental assessment. Academic literature is used to characterize meaningful public participation and barriers to meaningful public participation. The concluding documents of the environmental assessment for the Northern Gateway Project are analyzed to determine whether public participation in the environmental assessment was meaningful. Public participation in the Northern Gateway Project was not meaningful in relation to scoping and the process that was used. The lessons learned from the Northern Gateway Project point to a need to improve public participation in the federal environmental assessment process in the future. The continued review of the federal environmental assessment process is critical given the 2012 amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.