A shift in processes, tools and culture is required to deliver on a cumulative effects management system (CEMS). Alberta Environment and Parks is leading this shift for the Government of Alberta in a collaborative way on key elements related to environmental management.
Much of the on the ground work is being delivered through the development and implementation of regional plans as identified by the:
The transition to a cumulative effects management approach is continuing to evolve in Alberta. The shift will require integration and discussion with and between government ministries, other governments, industry sectors, municipalities, non-government organizations and all Albertans.
Is this a new approach?
It is not new to consider cumulative effects when managing the environment; elements of it have been practiced in environmental management activities for years. However, it is becoming more formalized in Alberta Environment and Parks’ business and in the Government of Alberta as a whole. In 2007, Alberta Environment and Parks signaled this shift through consultations on a cumulative effects policy paper and through announcements of site-specific pilot projects.
The Government of Alberta took additional major steps in confirming this approach when it released the Land-use Framework in December 2008, followed by the Alberta Land Stewardship Act in spring 2009. Cumulative effects management is also reinforced by provincial strategies such as the Provincial Energy Strategy, the Water for Life action plan, as well as the Government of Alberta’s business plan.
The Premier’s mandate letter to the Minister of Environment and Parks profiles Alberta’s transition to an outcomes-focused cumulative effects management system. However, this management approach goes beyond the mandate of any one ministry. It requires collaboration among governments and stakeholders to develop implement and meet these outcomes.
Why is an enhanced approach needed now?
Climate change, the availability of water and rapid increases in development have made governments and the public aware that we need to take environmental management to a new level; we need to understand the true impact of everything we do in an area. We also need consistent legislation and policy, along with systems to monitor, evaluate and manage the cumulative effects on the environment.
What are Alberta Environment and Parks’ priorities moving forward?
The Government of Alberta recognizes it will take time for this shift to occur. It is an evolutionary process that will require the support, understanding and commitment of all groups within Alberta.
It is important we take the time to build an informed audience, understand various perspectives, and ensure integration with other government initiatives such as the regulatory enhancement project.
Updated: Mar 18, 2016