Bill C-17 is now officially the law of the land.
The bill, that gets rid of controversial changes to the Yukon’s environmental assessment process, passed third reading in the Senate and received royal assent Dec. 14.
It repeals four changes made to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act by Bill S-6 in 2014. Yukon First Nations argued they weren’t properly consulted about the changes and that they violated self-governing agreements.
Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said he is “very excited” that the bill is now law.
“When you sign treaties, you have to honour them and that’s really what this was all about,” he said.
Bagnell said C-17 is good for the resource industry because it means the conflict will not end up in front of a judge.
Some industry groups had asked for C-17 to be deferred until a replacement was ready to be implemented.
They say some parts of Bill S-6 have resulted in improvements for the industry including one allowing for permit renewals or amendments without requiring a whole new project assessment and another sets out time limits for assessments.
Replacement regulations have been promised, but not until C-17 was passed. Bagnell said it’s his understanding that those negotiations will start “right away.”
Yukon Producers Group project manager Jonas Smith said it’s not surprising C-17 passed with a majority government.
“Everyone’s really looking forward to getting this discussions started. Its been talked about for about 10 months now so it’s well passed time to actually get everyone to the table,” he said.
“There’s been plenty of back-and-forth at the government to government level but we think it’s high time to engage industry.”
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