Martin Ignasiak and Jessica Kennedy speak with Law.com about Canada's regulatory regime for energy and mining projects. Canada's deputy prime minister's recently indicated the federal government is ready to fast-track energy and mining projects to address longstanding hurdles in the regulatory process that hamper investment and economic development.
Martin and Jessica's comments include:
Calgary-based Bennett Jones partner Martin Ignasiak says the complex, lengthy and expensive regulatory process for energy and mining projects in Canada is the biggest concern he hears from investors, both at home and abroad.
"There is a perception ... that it simply takes too long to get projects approved here, that the process is too unpredictable, and that the final result is too unpredictable," he said.
Ignasiak, along with his colleague Jessica Kennedy, recently joined Bennett Jones to boost the firm's energy regulatory practice—one of the largest in the country. They say the mishmash of regulatory requirements at the provincial and federal levels, plus requirements to consult with stakeholder groups, including Indigenous communities, has created duplication and uncertainty for potential investors.
Ignasiak said that less investment, combined with what he sees as an onerous regulatory environment and policies that focus too heavily on greenhouse gas emissions, have resulted in a backlog of potential projects in the mining and energy space.
Kennedy pointed to a growth in small electricity producers, including investors from the U.K. and Germany, because "we're seeing a lot of willingness on the part of the various different regulators to work with the industries and come up with solutions" to respond to increased demand on the electrical system.
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