Ontario asking for judicial review of Impact Assessment Act
By Adam FreillConstruction Infrastructure Law
Province says legal certainty will help get shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects across the province.
The federal government is causing confusion by its failure to recognize the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling that the Impact Assessment Act is unconstitutional, so Ontario is going to court for clarity, says Ontario’s Attorney General, Doug Downey.
“In the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada’s October 13 opinion that held that the vast majority of the federal government’s duplicative Impact Assessment Act was unconstitutional, our government is taking immediate legal action to bring certainty so that we can get shovels in the ground on infrastructure projects without delay,” he stated. “Affirming the act’s unconstitutionality by applying for judicial review will ensure that federal decision makers can no longer impede desperately needed infrastructure.”
The attorney general explained that gridlock costs the provincial economy $11 billion each year, and growth is putting additional pressure on its infrastructure.
“It’s never been more important for us to build roads, bridges, highways and public transit. We need shovels in the ground on the infrastructure that helps get more homes built and the energy infrastructure needed to power our growing economy,” he said.
The province is seeking legal certainty over the act, which it says impacts such projects as the building of Highway 413, the construction of all-season roads connecting the Ring of Fire region, its renewal of Ontario Place, and other infrastructure and energy projects.
“Ontario is using the legal tools at our disposal to assert our constitutional authority to move forward on our many critical projects without federal interference. As we do, we will continue to follow our robust and world-leading environmental assessment processes and respect our duty to consult obligations,” said Downey. “By ensuring that federal decision makers cannot take any further action under an unconstitutional law, we will be able to get shovels in the ground on critical projects without delay and build the infrastructure our growing province and economy need.”