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GTA West highway project designated for federal environment review

TORONTO — The federal environment minister says he is designating a controversial highway project in the western Greater Toronto Area for assessment.

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

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

Wilkinson says a federal impact assessment will be grounded in science, evidence and Indigenous knowledge.

Environmentalists and opposition politicians have criticized the Highway 413 project, saying it would pave over environmentally sensitive areas and farmland.

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press