Dear OAIA Members and Impact Assessment Community,
During this very difficult time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our hearts go out to everyone in our community as we navigate new challenges, make major adjustments to our lifestyles, and care for the health and well-being of ourselves and of those that we love.
In light of these current circumstances, the OAIA Board of Directors decided to cancel this year’s 2020 OAIA Annual Conference in October and defer the conference to October 18, 19 and 20, 2021.
The theme of our 2020 conference was, “Common Goal, Uncommon Pathways” drawing on the goal of Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act which is “betterment of the people of the whole or any part of Ontario by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment”. We wanted to consider experiences of delivering on the common goal of betterment while considering the future of impact assessment, highlighting innovative pathways together with examples of what is working well. We anticipate this theme will be equally relevant next year.
Although it is disappointing to cancel this year’s conference, we must prioritize the health and welfare of the community. In addition, various local and national travel restrictions and high uncertainty of the virus’s trajectory prevent all of us from being able to plan any travel-related activity for the foreseeable future.
OAIA volunteers continue to serve our impact assessment community so we can continue to connect, share our work and inspire each other. We are working to find additional opportunities for remote engagement and professional development and networking. Please stay tuned for updates soon and continue to visit the OAIA website for additional information!
Thank you for continuing to be an important part of our impact assessment community. We send wishes of health, safety, and perseverance to you and your loved ones.
Charles Birchall and Cheryl Chetkiewicz
Co-chairs, OAIA Conference Planning Committee
This year’s Ontario Association for Impact Assessment (OAIA) conference is being replaced with a series of webinars on Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Legislation – The Past, Present and Future. The webinar series is in response to Ontario’s recent proposals to modernize its Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). The series will examine Ontario’s assessment laws and policies through time, lessons learned, and recommendations for the future. Expert panelists will focus on EAA, specifically, history and trends, what is enacted, what is missing and needed, and what is next.
Webinars will occur from noon to 2 pm on November 5, 12, and 19, 2020. Each webinar will focus on one of the topics below. Information on panelists for each webinar will be made available in the coming weeks.
As part of the outcomes of the OAIA 2020 webinars on Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Legislation – The Past, Present and Future – OAIA generated two reports for Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.
- History & purpose of environmental assessment (EA)
- Recommendations for the path forward
- OAIA’s EA recommendations in 2015 and 2016
- Meeting objectives of effectiveness, accountability, timeliness & rigour
- Meaningful Indigenous engagement including Indigenous-led EAs
- Recommended projects & undertakings for EA
- Role of Indigenous communities in EA
- Regional EAs
- Cumulative effects and climate change in EA
- Previous OAIA recommendations
- Project List and standardized work plan
- Timeline amendments in EAA
- Streamlined Class EAs and sectoral EAs