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Responsible Resource Development, part of the 2012 Economic Action Plan, is the Government of Canada’s comprehensive plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity while strengthening our world-class protection of the environment. Developing resources in a responsible manner aims to reach the ultimate goal of 'one project, one review' in a clearly defined time period, while strengthening environmental protection.

Responsible Resource Development will deliver on four key outcomes: making the review process more predictable and timely; reducing duplication of project reviews; strengthening environmental protection; and enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples.

1. More predictable and timely reviews:

  • Set specific timelines of 365 days for standard environmental assessments led by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency;
  • Establish maximum beginning-to-end timelines for panel reviews: 24 months for projects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and 18 months for projects under the National Energy Board Act;
  • Consolidate responsibility for environmental assessments with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for most projects, as well as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board for projects within their mandates;
  • Set legally binding timelines for key regulatory permitting processes, including the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

2. Reducing duplication of project reviews:

  • Provide the Government the authority through substitution and equivalency provisions to allow provincial environmental assessments that meet the substantive requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to replace federal assessments as a means to help eliminate duplication between the two levels of government;
  • Enable equivalency of Fisheries Act regulations with provincial regulations.

3. Strengthening environmental protection:

  • Focus assessments on major projects that have a greater potential for significant adverse environmental effects;
  • Introduce enforceable environmental assessment decision statements to ensure proponents of resource projects comply with required mitigation measures to protect the environment;
  • Impose substantial financial penalties for non-compliance with environmental assessment conditions;
  • Provide new funding to enhance pipeline and marine safety through initiatives such as new regulations to strengthen the tanker safety regime and increasing the number of inspections for oil and gas pipelines;
  • In cooperation with provincial governments, allow for greater use of regional environmental assessments to identify and address potential regional and cumulative effects, particularly in areas experiencing large-scale developments.

4. Enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples:

  • Better integrate Aboriginal consultations into the new environmental assessment and regulatory processes;
  • Provide funding to support consultations with Aboriginal people to ensure their rights and interests are respected;
  • Designate a lead department or agency as a single Crown consultation coordinator for specific project reviews;
  • Establish consultation protocols or agreements with Aboriginal groups to clarify what the expectations and level of consultation should be in project reviews;
  • Negotiate memoranda of understanding with provincial governments to better align federal and provincial processes and improve the involvement of Aboriginal groups;
  • Promote positive and long-term relationships with Aboriginal communities in order to improve reconciliation and facilitate greater participation of Aboriginal people in the direct and indirect benefits of new resource projects.

The goal for Responsible Resources Development is simple and straightforward: to make Canada the most attractive country in the world for resource investment and development, while protecting our environment today for future generations of Canadians.

For more information on Economic Action Plan 2012 and Responsible Resource Development visit

A public notice will be issued once the legislation comes into force. At that time, information about the transition of individual projects will be available at

Media may contact: 

Patricia Best
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada