Environmental Impact Assessment: A Comparative Analysis of the Federal Response in Canada and the United States


  • Sandra K. McCallum




This article examines the planning tool known as environmental impact assess ment. This tool is decision-making model which attempts to integrate en vironmental considerations into each stage of the planning process together with the traditional concerns of economics and technology in order to identify secon dary and cumulative impacts and to weigh environmental effects. The success of an assessment process depends on the capability of the chosen institutional arrangements to achieve the desired goal. The proposed federal procedure is ex amined and several weaknesses identified. One is the absence of legislative measures to support the process. The United States National Environmental Policy Act provides model. This statute is discussed with view to ascertaining whether like legislation in Canada would produce like result. The conclusion reached is that differences between Parliamentary and Congressional systems suggest that in Canada more appropriate course would be to adopt legislative measures which strengthen and improve the existing functions of government. Such course would better serve the goal of environmental impact assessment than attempts to transplant concepts which are ill fitted and insensitive to the parliamentary system.