Controversial highway project in western GTA has been nominated for federal impact assessment

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Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, answers during the Question Hour in the House of Commons in Ottawa on November 19, 2020.

Adrian Wilde / The Canadian Press

The federal environment minister says he is designing a controversial highway project in the western Greater Toronto Area for evaluation.

Jonathan Wilkinson says in a statement that there are clear areas of federal concern with the project by the government of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

He says his decision is based on findings from several federal departments that the project could cause “adverse direct or accidental effects” on the species at risk.

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Wilkinson states that a federal impact assessment will be based in science, evidence and indigenous knowledge.

Environmentalists and opposition politicians have criticized the Highway 413 project, saying it will pave the environmentally sensitive areas and the agricultural sector.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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