Canada will struggle to achieve its environmental goals with current regulatory systems, says report from Business Council of Alberta

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New report from the Business Council of Alberta outlines pragmatic solutions to Canada’s regulatory challenges that enable the nation to meet its environmental and economic goals

CALGARY, Alberta, June 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Achieving Canada’s ambitious climate targets requires a buildout of technology and infrastructure at a scale unprecedented in Canadian history. However, a new report from the Business Council of Alberta says that with current regulatory review and permitting processes, Canada will struggle to approve, let alone build, what it needs to meet these goals.

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As a country, Canada needs to invest between $125 and $140 billion every year until 2050 to reach net zero. Right now, we are investing less than one-fifth of that.

“Canada’s emissions reduction goals are ambitious—and they should be. We need the right regulatory system in Canada to attract the capital needed to meet those goals,” says Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “However, this capital is not coming to Canada because our approvals and permitting processes are too lengthy and unpredictable. And this has a real cost to our climate goals, to our economic opportunities, to Indigenous economic reconciliation, and to jobs and livelihoods.”

This report, entitled Future Unbuilt: Transforming Canada’s Regulatory Systems to Achieve Environmental, Economic, and Indigenous Partnership Goals, recommends actionable solutions to address the core challenges that project proponents face in building major projects; create a world-class regulatory system that becomes Canada’s competitive edge; and improve environmental, economic, and Indigenous partnership outcomes.

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“Major projects are essential to advancing economic reconciliation in Canada, helping end on-reserve poverty, and creating prosperity for Indigenous people across this land,” says Dale Swampy, CEO, National Coalition of Chiefs. “We need regulatory processes that break down the systemic barriers that exist within the current system and improve engagement and access to capital and ultimately enable Indigenous communities to be full partners in development.”

Proposed by the Council’s Task Force on Major Project Development & Regulatory Excellence, these recommendations are anchored in three key policy themes:

  • Participation: Clarifying roles and responsibilities; streamlining community engagement; increasing Indigenous participation in major projects
  • Process: Setting standards for service and creating greater collaboration between government(s), industry, Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders
  • Predictability: Setting standards and accountabilities to ensure processes are stable, predictable, and scalable

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As first steps, the Task Force recommends four “needle moving” ideas for the federal government to:

  1. Expand financial supports for Indigenous participation in project development;
  2. Shorten existing review timelines and scale them according to project complexity;
  3. Create a government body to manage and coordinate federal permitting; and
  4. Publish the criteria used to designate Impact Assessment Agency projects.

“Canadians believe in responsible and sustainable development. We need regulatory systems that safeguard the health, safety, environmental, and cultural imperatives of that and act as an enabler to move high quality projects forward,” says Denise Mullen,
Director, Environment, Sustainability & Indigenous Relations at the Business Council of British Columbia. “Both industry and government share this goal, but today, our methods to accomplish that are not working. The first steps outlined in this report will help knock down some of the barriers, reduce complexity, advance economic reconciliation, and enable the capital deployment needed to meet our climate goals.”

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“Fixing our regulatory processes must be an imperative for Canada,” says Legge. “The stakes are simply too big, and we cannot accept the status quo. Without action, we risk failing to meet our environmental targets but also failing to maintain and improve quality of life for Canadians.”

Task Force Members

  • Sarah Schwann, Task Force Chair, Vice President External Affairs, Pembina Pipeline Corp.
  • Robert Bourne, Task Force Vice Chair, Associate General Counsel, Enbridge
  • Cale Runions, Manager of Regulatory Affairs – External Relations, TC Energy
  • Dale Friesen, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Chief Government Affairs Officer, ATCO Ltd.
  • Dale Swampy, President, National Coalition of Chiefs; Special Advisor, Business Council of Alberta
  • Denise Mullen, Director, Environment, Sustainability & Indigenous Relations, Business Council of British Columbia
  • Greg Krauss, Regulatory Affairs Lead, Corporate Relations, Shell Canada
  • Hal Kvisle, Chair, ARC Resources; Past Chair, Business Council of Alberta
  • Ian Anderson, Former CEO of Trans Mountain Corp.
  • Ken Faulkner, Director of Government Relations, NOVA Chemicals
  • Marla Orenstein, Director of the Natural Resources Centre, Canada West Foundation
  • Ron Wallace, Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; Former Permanent Member of the National Energy Board

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The full report can be found at

About the Business Council of Alberta. The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, for-purpose organization dedicated to building a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada. Composed of the chief executives and leading entrepreneurs of the province’s largest enterprises, Council members are proud to represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment, job creation, exports, and research and development. The Council is committed to working with leaders and stakeholders across Alberta and Canada in proposing bold and innovative public policy solutions and initiatives that will make life better for Albertans.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Brittany Brander
Manager, Communications & Brand
[email protected]


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