Released on November 3, 2014
Environment Minister Scott Moe announced today the province of Saskatchewan is adopting a new environmental code that will continue to protect our environment for future generations, while helping to meet the challenges of economic growth. The code is the first of its kind in Canada and the cornerstone of the province’s new results-based approach to environmental regulation.
The supporting regulations that make up the first edition of the new Saskatchewan Environmental Code have been introduced upon proclamation of The Environmental Management and Protection Act 2010 and The Forest Resources Management Amendment Act 2010. The code addresses diverse areas such as air quality, environmentally impacted sites, water management and natural resources protection.
“The Saskatchewan Environmental Code is based on a new regulatory approach that has environmental protection at its foundation,” Moe said. “This streamlined regulatory process enables municipalities and industry to keep pace with growth, while ensuring Saskatchewan’s environment remains healthy.”
Using a results-based approach, the code clearly defines required environmental outcomes, empowering operators and organizations to determine how those results will be achieved or surpassed. This focus on results rather than process will provide the flexibility needed to apply innovative solutions, and allow the Ministry of Environment to focus on activities of greatest environmental risk.
The process to develop the code was inclusive and transparent, with stakeholders involved at every level. More than 200 experts and industry leaders from all sectors contributed to the development of the content of the code. As well, a 19-member Code Development Committee brought together diverse expertise and provided advice and guidance as the code was developed.
In 2012, a draft version of the code was made available for public review. More than 1,300 people responded by attending meetings or providing written submissions. At the conclusion of the public review period, a summary of feedback was made available on the Ministry of Environment’s website at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/Code.
“I want to thank all those involved for contributing their time and talents to create a better regulatory system,” Moe said. “The result speaks for itself – a made-in-Saskatchewan code that’s innovative, forward-looking, and good for our environment and our province.”
“The code has turned the traditional method of regulation development on its head,” Code Development Committee Chair and President of Clifton and Associates Ltd. Wayne Clifton said. “By starting at the working level, technical groups developed the regulation by consensus, with oversight from a group that included a wide variety of perspectives. The process took time but it produced excellent results of which we should all be very proud.”
“One significant advantage of the code is that it may be updated without the need for new regulations,” partner at MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman and a member of the Code Development Committee Len Andrychuk said. “It can operate as a living document that can be continuously improved and updated to keep up with the changing economy and developments in environmental protection, which is in itself a fundamental change.”
“The sections of the environmental code announced today will provide an opportunity to test the viability of this approach to regulation,” Research Advisor with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and member of the Code Development Committee Ann Coxworth said. “It is my hope that the code will be an effective tool for environmental protection, provided the necessary commitment and goodwill is shown on all sides.”
The environmental code will come into force in stages in the new year to allow affected industries to prepare for the change. Chapters dealing with forest management will come into force January 5, 2015, with the remaining chapters in effect on June 1, 2015. Activities not included in the first edition of the code will continue to be regulated as before.
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