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The controversy of transferring the Class Environmental Assessment process to northern Ontario, Canada: the Victor Mine Power Supply Project

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Since Canada employs a federated system of government, there are separate environmental assessment (EA) processes at the national and provincial levels. In the Province of Ontario there is a streamlined, pre-approved, self-assessed process for 'classes' of projects. It is assumed that Class EA protocol developed in the southern Ontarian context is directly transferable to northern Ontario. A case-based approach, using the Victor Mine transmission line project, was employed to critically examine whether the Class EA template developed in southern Ontario should be applied to the western James Bay region of northern Ontario. Specifically, the two assumptions of Class EAs of predictability and manageability were examined. Interview and document data were used to inform a themed analysis. Results indicate that the western James Bay region is significantly different to southern Ontario. Thus, the Class EA template developed in and for southern Ontario is not transferable to the northern Ontarian context and the application of 'cookie cutter' EAs to other sub-arctic and arctic regions must be questioned.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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