Saskatchewan intervening in C-69 Reference Case Before the Supreme Court of Canada

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CANADA, March 20 – Released on March 20, 2023

Arguments Will be Made This Week, March 22 and 23

This week, Saskatchewan will join every other province and territory in Canada, except for Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, in a constitutional intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada to argue that the federal environmental Impact Assessment Act (IAA) exceeds federal jurisdiction under Section 92A of the Constitution Act, 1867, and is unconstitutional.

“Last spring, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that, with the IAA, the federal government had taken a ‘wrecking ball’ to exclusive provincial jurisdiction under 92A,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “This is precisely the kind of continued, unconstitutional, federal infringement that led to our passing the Saskatchewan First Act. Clearly, most provinces agree that the IAA is a significant federal overreach that will stop future infrastructure and resource development in Canada.”

Previously known as Bill C-69 (which has been called the “no more pipelines bill”), the IAA received royal assent in 2019. It authorizes federal regulators to determine the effects of major infrastructure projects, including pipelines, mines and highways, on environmental and social issues.

Saskatchewan’s position is that this federal legislation constitutes an unconstitutional infringement of exclusive provincial jurisdiction in the area of resource development. Under the Constitution Act, provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over the development of natural resources, including their provincial environmental regulation.

In May, 2022, the Alberta Court of Appeal, in a 4-1 majority, ruled that the entire IAA and regulations were unconstitutional and threatened provinces’ right to control their own resources. The federal government appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The challenge will be heard this week before the Supreme Court from March 22 to 23.

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