Business Council of Alberta

Significant decision at the Supreme Court of Canada: five judge majority finds the Impact Assessment Act unconstitutional


Business Council of Alberta




Corporate and Commercial Litigation

Date Closed

October 2023



Lead Office



On October 13, 2023, The Supreme Court of Canada released its reasons opining on the constitutionality of the federal Impact Assessment Act, SC 2019, c 28, s 1 and Physical Activities Regulations, SOR/2019-285 (together, the IAA).

A majority of the Court, comprised of five judges, held that the IAA's assessment and decision-making of designated projects is unconstitutional. This is a significant decision for major project proponents concerned about the overbreadth of the IAA, delays and increased costs to major projects captured by the IAA, and decision-making regarding major projects within a province by federal politicians based on federal policies and priorities.

Osler lawyers Maureen Killoran, KC, Sean Sutherland, and Brodie Noga represented the Business Council of Alberta as an intervener at the Supreme Court. The Business Council of Alberta’s members represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment and include proponents of major infrastructure projects. In its reasons, the majority of the Court cited to the Business Council of Alberta's concerns regarding the practical effects of the IAA on major projects, including delays of indeterminate length.

Read Osler’s Update on this case: Supreme Court of Canada finds Impact Assessment Act unconstitutional.