Five Pro tips for keeping current with updates to environmental regulations

If you are an environmental practitioner in Western Canada, then you may have experienced a radical change in the number of environmental regulations and practice standards that have been created or updated since the period of rapid industrial growth in Western Canada in the mid 2000s (2005-2007). Having somewhat of a lag effect, jurisdictions began creating new environmental laws and policies to ensure long-term sustainability of the environment for future generations of Canadians while ensuring Canada’s global economic viability, and socially, Canadians’ way of life.

During the frenzy of creating and updating environmental regulations and standards, it seemed that development projects were bogged down with ‘green tape’ (a colloquialism for the additional ‘paperwork’ required to meet environmental requirements), which had an effect on development during the global economic downturn in 2008, and industrial downturn in 2014. Now, in 2024, there continues to be updates to standards and tools, particularly as part of embracing adaptive management. As an environmental practitioner, it quickly becomes apparent that there is no easy one stop shop for regulatory updates. However, there are some ways to make sure that you are always using relevant and current information. Here are a five tips on how to keep on top of regulatory updates:

  1. Keep a bibliography of all of the regulations, policies, standards and tools that relate to your sector or discipline and update once a year (minimum). This provides a single document that you can use to house all regulations across sectors and disciplines. We suggest that you keep old references in your bibliography, in case you are asked to review old reports and regulatory approvals.  A simple excel spreadsheet is all you need, just remember to include:
    • Title
    • Publisher
    • Revision date
    • Internet link
  2. Bookmark websites with curated lists of Regulatory Updates. Some companies do the leg work to compile updates for you. While it may not be all of the updates that are relevant to you it is a helpful source of information.                
  3. Subscribe to notifications/newsletters from regulators that you often deal with, such as:
  4. Schedule a reminder to periodically check application inboxes/websites for different regulators
  5. Follow social media accounts that post news and resources of interest

The list of links is not exhaustive but was provided to give you an idea of the types of resources that are out there, as well as some ‘regular maintenance’ habits that are good to have, and which go a long way in showing due diligence in practice.

Do you know of curated lists or regulatory updates we didn’t include? Add a comment with your own Pro tip

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