Out of bounds: The Alberta Court of Appeal rules the Impact Assessment Act is unconstitutional

This month, the Alberta Court of Appeal found in a reference case that the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) was unconstitutional, on the grounds that it subjected intra-provincial resource development projects to a federal public interest assessment and federal veto power. The IAA was passed as part of Bill C-69, known colloquially as the “no more pipelines bill”, which prompted Western outrage in 2019.

The federal government has promised to appeal the decision. However, it raises many questions about the federal government’s right to direct how resource development proceeds within provinces, such as prohibiting new coal mining, limiting new oil sands projects, or setting aggressive emissions reductions. It also challenges the federal government’s ability to veto arrangements made by Indigenous peoples with provinces and industry proponents in intraprovincial projects.

This webinar will bring together experts to discuss the constitutional questions and implications of the case, the impacts on Indigenous rights, and the prospects for resource, and especially oil and gas, development going forward.


  • Dwight Newman, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law, University of Saskatchewan and Munk Senior Fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • Shannon Joseph, Vice President, Government Relations & Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, University of Saskatchewan and Distinguished Fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • Heather Exner-Pirot, Senior Fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • Moderator: Aaron Wudrick, Director of the Domestic Policy Program, Macdonald-Laurier Institute

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