When Areva Resources Canada proposed to construct and operate a uranium mine and milling facilities in northern Saskatchewan, the company estimated that the project would have a capital investment of up to $400 million. They also noted that the project would create up to 200 jobs during construction and 80 jobs during operation.
But Areva encountered a 19-month delay in starting its Environmental Assessment (EA). Not only that, the lead responsibility for that EA changed from one agency to another midway through the review, adding more complexity and lengthening the project’s timeline.
That’s just one example of the flaws in Canada’s current review system – a maze of rules and reviews that have been introduced piecemeal throughout the years. Not only has the system delayed major projects like Areva’s, it has set back and added review costs to thousands of minor projects such as a temporary hockey rink, the construction of a building to wash blueberries, and installation of a vital culvert, also in Saskatchewan.
Strong economic growth in our province and across Canada depend on a solidly efficient regulatory system. But for too long, economic development has been held hostage to job-killing regulations that do nothing to protect our environment. Our Conservative Government is doing what’s necessary to correct that.
The 2012 Economic Action Plan on Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity, presented in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012, committed to reforming the regulatory system in the resource sector. Why? Because it’s in every Canadian’s best interest for the government to foster responsible resource development.
Proposed changes for Responsible Resource Development include:
• Making reviews for major projects more predictable and timely;
• Reducing duplication and regulatory burden;
• Strengthening environmental protection; and
• Enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples.
The changes will see the government working more closely with the provinces to streamline the review process and focus our regulatory system on the projects that matter – major projects that may have environmental impacts and need to be studied.
As well, additional resources will go towards ensuring the environment is protected. The number of pipeline inspections will increase, and new guidelines applied to tanker traffic off Canada’s coasts.
Praise for the government’s actions came from Pam Schwann, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Mining Association, speaking just after the introduction of the budget in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012.
“…(A) more efficient and accountable process contained in today’s Federal Budget Address will instill investor confidence in moving development projects forward in a timely and predictable manner.”
Wise and timely development of our natural resources throughout our country will benefit all Canadians through jobs, growth and the needed dollars to keep important programs like health care, education and pensions. It will also protect the irreplaceable environment that sustains us all.
Further details on Responsible Resource Development are available at www.actionplan.gc.ca.