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Translating strong principles into effective practice: environmental assessment in Ontario, Canada

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This paper examines two fundamental and inter-related tensions relating to environmental assessment between the desire to be proactive, promoting sustainable development and the more traditional practice of preventing harm, as well as the need to balance a predictable, expeditious and efficient process with transparency and inclusive deliberation. Proposed reforms to the environmental assessment process in Ontario, Canada, are examined as a case in point, showing how the recommendations in Ontario are consistent with international trends. In particular, over-arching principles need to be embedded in more precise sector-specific policies to enable environmental assessment processes to meet these competing goals.
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Keywords: environmental assessment; environmental policy; impact assessment; public participation; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of the Environment, Rm. 1016V, 33 Willcocks St., University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3E8 2: Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St., Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 2K3

Publication date: March 4, 2015

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