Canada’s Senate passes new amendments for Bill C-69

187 amendments were passed Thursday by a Canadian Senate committee regarding the Liberal government’s controversial Bill C-69, which would change how the environmental impact of major projects like oil export pipelines is assessed. The Senate will now vote on the amendments, which will then be passed to the House of Commons for final approval, at which point the government can accept, reject or further amend the legislation.

The amendments address many concerns from the energy industry who say Bill C-69 will deter investment in the oil industry by creating uncertainty and giving too much power to the federal government by allowing ministers to veto projects.

On Wednesday, another Senate committee recommended the federal government scrap the proposed Bill C-48, which would ban oil tankers along British Columbia’s northern coast.

Among the proposed amendments are clarifying language and scope of the assessment process; weakening the ability for the Minister of the Environment to control the regulatory process including receiving written approval from both the natural resource and finance minister before rejecting a project on environmental grounds; curbing the public's participation with the process; making economic considerations a more meaningful part of the evaluation; and shortening the approval process from 600 days down to 510 days.