REALWorld Law


Environmental assessment and sustainability

What type of legislation exists dealing with environmental issues affecting building works and with promoting sustainable developments?




Most provinces and territories have their own Environmental Assessment Act. In addition, there is a federal act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act applies to designated projects and provides for input from certain authorities on the environmental protection that needs to be considered and carried out during a designated project. The act also promotes communication and cooperation with Aboriginal peoples and promotes sustainable development.


The main statute dealing with water quality in Canada is the Canada Water Act, which contains provisions for formal consultation and agreements with the provinces. There are a number of other federal and provincial/territorial statutes and regulations that deal with environmental impact on water and protection of bodies of water.


A wide range of federal and provincial/territorial legislation controls the generation, transportation, and disposal of waste, including hazardous waste and construction and demolition debris. There may be additional requirements in dealing with the disposal of hazardous materials.

Sustainable Development

Energy-efficient buildings are becoming an increasing focus for the government, developers, investors, builders and prospective tenants.

A number of green rating schemes currently operate in Canada across a range of development types, such as the LEED Canada Rating System and BREEAM.

Construction projects may also be required to meet any sustainable development objectives contained within the relevant regional/area development plan.