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3.2 Project Impact Assessment

about 3 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

Project impact assessment is the cornerstone of the proposed impact assessment regime. These assessments should protect the physical and biological environment, promote social harmony and generate economic opportunities. A rigorous assessment process should achieve decisions that are considered fair to all parties. A new process should reflect the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Properly structured, a new project assessment process would meet these goals and contribute to a sustainable future for Canadians.

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Please tell us your thoughts on what the Expert Panel proposed in this section.

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Rob Knight about 3 years ago
It is recommended that the IA identify studies that need to be conducted.... for the IA. BUT the studies and their designs must be done in collaboration with all parties affected and the scientific community, not just by IA staff. Every project or situation needs a broad range of baseline and impact studies to make informed decisions that build trust in the IA process.
Gary Spiller about 3 years ago
I am concerned that the new EA process does not refer to fundamental environmental principles including polluter pays as part of the commitment to sustainable development. I would like to see these principles included in the new CEAA.I strongly agree with Section where early IA implementation is key before the proponent begins to construct roads, cut trees and change the landscape.Public consultation is essential at an early stage. The project proponent should be asked to provide and cost at least 2 other options.IAs should be conducted by independent third party scientists contracted by a neutral CEAA.The report includes only 4 of the 9 CEPA 1999 Guiding principles. Key principles related to pollution should be added including polluter pays, national standards (Canada Wide Standards) and pollution prevention. There is no reference to pollution or bioremediation in the report. There is also no reference to conservation of green spaces. There is also no mention of an Environmental Management Plan.These references should be included.
Betty Geier about 3 years ago
I am wondering why/how more than sixteen unauthorized dams, and perhaps as many as one hundred large, unpermitted fracking dams have been or are being built in BC by petrolium companies without triggering environmental assessments.
Ruby Chapman about 3 years ago
I have concerns that there is the potential for too few projects to be 'triggered' for assessment based on a narrow criteria. I suggest that all projects that apply for a federal permit could to be assessed by using a tiered approach. Smaller projects would initially receive a graduated assessment. Within that assessment, triggers would be in place that could potentially elevate even a 'small project' to a higher level of IA should concerns be identified.
Meg Sears for Prevent Cancer Now about 3 years ago
Credibility and reliability can only be founded on solid data. A Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health, housing the baseline and monitoring data of IAs along with much other Canadian data, and fostering research, will over the years build confidence in IAs.
Scott Kidd about 3 years ago
3.2.1 What should require assessment -- "A new Project List should be created ..." It is my position there needs to be a legislated review with public/advisory participation, say every three years, of the list. Too often these lists/regulations are developed and then never added to or amended to address overlooked or new activities.
Scott Kidd about 3 years ago
3.2.1 What should require assessmentWhile I agree with most of the report's recommendations, I am concerned that the proposed IA process appears to be focused only on "large" projects or activities. I also agree that not every project needs to be assessed, but it is important to recognize that small projects can sometimes cause large, local impacts, or that cumulatively, a number of small projects, e.g., many culverts on one watercourse, can lead to large impacts. In the report it is not clear how: 1) how all the small, un-assessed projects will be kept track of so that there cumulative impacts can be monitored, and 2) how the public is to learn of unlisted projects, big or small, at an early date so that they "request that a project require a federal project IA."What I propose is that any project/activity that would have fallen on the pre-2012 Law List (or a new, updated Law List) needs to be registered (basic project details) with the Agency and listed on a website, plus some other form of local public notice. The public and others then have a fixed amount of time to review the registration and request an IA of the project if they wish. This would also provide a way for these small projects to be tracked, assessed or not. (An interactive map on the website showing all registered projects would be helpful.)
Anna Johnston, West Coast Environmental Law about 3 years ago
Regarding what should require an IA, we support the recommendation for an expanded project list as well as for the ability for anyone to request an IA. However, we are concerned that the Panel’s recommended “triggers” will result in too few undertakings being assessed, resulting in potentially unrecognized or unacknowledged cumulative effects and harms. Further, the determination of “consequential impact” risks discretion, controversy and delay. The former “Law List” triggering approach is clearer and more comprehensive. Greater use of SIAs, RIAs and class EAs could reduce the burden at the project level. If the Panel’s recommended approach is applied, the criteria should have a low threshold and be applied in a precautionary manner to ensure more projects get assessed, and all federally-regulated undertakings should be registered with the IA Commission to ensure they are tracked. All undertakings within federal parks should be included as a trigger, as well as all activities that are not likely to have a transformational benefit and assist in the transition to GHG emission neutrality. Of particular importance to facilitating more IAs, there should be more than one assessment stream; e.g., less onerous streams for smaller projects. Regarding the conduct of project IAs generally, we support the proposed Planning Phase and believe it will help facilitate the subsequent study and decision-phases. We note that the use of triggers will likely require the need for the legislation to set out the scope of the project as including all related components as per the Supreme Court of Canada, in order to avoid disputes over the scope of the project during the Planning Phase. This phase should also have the ability to terminate the assessment if it is clear that it would violate legislated trade-off rules, as well as provide an “off ramp” for broader policy issues or gaps that are identified during this phase to go to an SIA. Regarding the study phase, we recommend the legislation provide for public participation on the draft and final IA report. For the decision phase, the legislation should establish sustainability criteria and trade-off rules (see our submission to the Expert Panel for examples) that must be applied by the decision-maker. Project IA decision-making can remain by default in the hands of the IA Commission; however, legislation should include a trigger for the Minister or other jurisdictions to move decision-making up into the political/government realm, or some form of Cabinet override. For RIAs and SIAs, it may be more appropriate for decision-making to be done by the Minister and her provincial and Indigenous counterparts collaboratively.
Pat Moss about 3 years ago
Agree that IA legislation ensure sustainability outcomes are met through mandatory monitoring and follow-up programs with minimum standard requirements.
Elizabeth May about 3 years ago
I support this approach to restoring meaningful IA and a predictable planning process.
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade about 3 years ago
The Expert Panel’s recommendation to “mandate early planning and early engagement” should be clarified, and consideration should be given to the costs of these increased engagement activities. The Report also proposes that the new aim to build consensus. Such an approach would be oxymoronic to their earlier statement of “science, facts and evidence” being critical to the process. This undermines and discounts the importance of environmental, economic, engineering, industry, and academic experts in building a holistic Impact Assessment. All opinions do not deserve equal weight and thus aiming for consensus only amplifies opposition voices. The penultimate recommendation of this section which refers to “time limits and cost controls that reflect the specific circumstances of each project,” raises some concerns regarding uncertainty in timelines if these time limits are set on a project by project basis.
Q'ul-lhanumutsun Aquatic Resources Society about 3 years ago
Early engagement with First Nations and the public in the planning of the IA is a positive recommendation, and this will provide potentially impacted communities to better understand the process, requirement and timelines from the outset and understand where input is integral. However, the need for in-person engagement may not always be necessary in cases where technology can provide opportunities for engagement. In-person meetings can be very costly and difficult to organize and though is important in certain phases (e.g. planning, decision-making, follow-up), may not be necessary.Seeking Indigenous consent in the Decision Phase is an important recognition of First Nations Rights and Title, but the GoC needs to work towards understanding how that consent is obtained and by whom. There are cases in Canada where some parts of an Indigenous community accepted a project, but others oppose it. Such decisions divide communities and do not move a project towards more timely acceptance. There are various reasons for these cases, but some stem from government mandates to only consult with an Indian Act-endorsed body (Chief and Council) instead of Traditional Chiefs, only consider input from on-reserve First Nations members, or other such narrow mandates.
Cec Robinson about 3 years ago
I strongly support the Panel's recommendation of an early planning stage for all assessments.
Cec Robinson about 3 years ago
The government's responsibility to the public is to ensure that ALL projects are good for Canada's environment and communities.We need clear rules to ensure that environmental and human health are not traded off for economic benefits.
Manitoba Infrastructure about 3 years ago
Clarity will be required in the definition of the likelihood of consequential impact, and the criteria for accepting a request for an IA. The addition of more phases to the process will most likely add more time to the process. How will the Agency balance inclusiveness with timeliness?
Northern Health Authority of BC about 3 years ago
Northern Health is in support of the recommendations contained in this section.
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada about 3 years ago
Not restoring the “lost” Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act triggers is a serious error. The permitting requirements need to be restored in order to give the government – and the public and Indigenous Peoples – control over projects large and small that may have an impact on waterways and water bodies. Small projects and projects with inconsequential impacts should not have to go through the same level of IA. Mechanisms should be included to allow for the equivalent of a low-level screening, providing an opportunity to ensure that relevant guidelines and regulations are applied and standard mitigation measures are used, for example. The crucial element is to be able to track such projects and monitor and audit their actual impacts, allowing further action to be taken if they are found to be significant or consequential, for example triggering a study or even a limited or regional IA.One question that arises here is with respect to termination of an IA where proponents have adjusted the project so that it no longer triggers an assessment. This is reminiscent of the Department of Fisheries’ Letters of Advice, though in this case more transparent and accountable, but the adjustments would still need to be verified in order to make a determination that an IA is no longer required.A second serious concern arises from the potential referral to a review panel in the decision phase of the IA, where the review panel is appointed and is supposed to advise the Commission in decision-making without having been part of the study phase and all of the information-gathering and analysis. This would seem to introduce significant potential discontinuity and delay. It should be possible to determine in the Planning Phase that a panel or joint panel review will be required and set up such a panel to lead the study phase as well as advising the decision phase.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) about 3 years ago
The Panel has recommended that impact assessment (IA) legislation define a “project” as a physical activity or undertaking that impacts one or more matters of federal interest—and that IAs be required when any of the following conditions exist:• the project’s type appears on the Project List (which will be redeveloped);• the project is deemed likely to have a consequential impact; or • the IA authority accepts a request to review a project.As an instance of interjurisdictional cooperation, FCM strongly recommends that the federal government consult with municipalities in the development of an expanded Project List—to ensure full consideration is given to impacts on existing and future municipal infrastructure. As an order of government, municipalities are fundamentally unlike private sector proponents. Municipal infrastructure projects subject to federal assessment have been developed with extensive public input and are subject to the approval and oversight of democratically elected councils that are accountable to the public. Municipal infrastructure is built exclusively to serve the public and is essential to economic activity and quality of life.
Ian Thomson, Oxfam Canada about 3 years ago
Every “government expert committee” in the Planning Phase should include at least one gender advisor. The Planning Phase can also be enhanced by ensuring the “project committee” includes representation from Indigenous women’s organizations and local women’s organizations.Gender impact assessment should be included in the Study Phase, and the differential gender-based impacts and associated mitigation measures should be reflected in the Impact Statement.
Shane Borchardt about 3 years ago
The proposed IA process unworkable. By having an unworkable process, future projects will be postponed by the proponent, affecting the economy and jobs. There is no evidence or precedent to support that the proposed process could ever lead to improved IAs or even the approval of any project.
Arlene Kwasniak about 3 years ago
I support an all in unless out approach to federal assessment vs the basically out unless in approach advocated by the Panel. In other words, all matters within federal jurisdiction where a federal authority has decision making power and other matters of national significance (e.g. nationally significant GHGs) should potentially be subject to federal assessment. As I and others have commented in academic articles, given our Constitution, if the federal government does not assess and regulate what is under its Constitutional authority no other level of government can fully, and with respect to some impacts, legally do so. It thus is critical that matters under federal jurisdiction be subject to federal assessment. Thus I favour a trigger, with exclusions, model and replacement class assessments, and the use of regional assessments, and strategic assessments. The tools to streamline and reduce numbers of assessments were not fully utilized under CEAA 1992. The Panel's recommendation to eliminate self-assessment for the CNSC and the NEB should be clearly extended to other Agencies, which under CEAA 2012 have an undefined, discretionary self-assessment power under section 67. The Panel is to be recommended in its saying that that section 67 is not consistent with its vision. The Panel opts for a project list, longer than CEAA 2012, but not very long (EP Report note 27), with an imprecisely described, and high entry bar additional trigger mechanism (EP Report 3.2.1). The Panel does not mention whether projects in National Parks or federal heritage sites will be included on the list. This absence is troubling as national parks and heritage areas are core and central to federal jurisdiction and to Canadians, our ecology, and future generations. Professor Shaun Fluker's University of Calgary Faculty of Law ABlawg explains issues well <>. This undefined list plus trigger approach is most concerning to me, and constitutes the Panel recommendation that is the least likely to regain public trust. Many smaller projects that impact matters within federal jurisdiction – e.g. on fisheries – likely will not be assessed unless the mysterious trigger mechanism is activated. Thus I recommend a return to triggers, exclusions, streamlining, and eliminations (e.g. though a project meeting criteria and being within a defined regional impact area, or where there are replacement class assessments).
Wayne Summach about 3 years ago
I do not support the IA process as outlined. The process is unworkable will stop future development in Canada. There is no evidence or precedent to support that such a process could ever lead to approval of any project. Projects that are currently being evaluated pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 should continue under that assessment regime until new processes come into force and are fully implemented.
Anne Gent about 3 years ago
Wow, this section appears to be written to ensure no project ever receives approval. This needs to be re-worked.What happens to projects currently under review? Can we confirm that they will continue under the current assessment process? There needs to be clarity here on a transition period for implementation of any proposed IA process changes.
John Takala about 3 years ago
I do not support the process as documented. It is too complicated, will take too long to complete, and would be a significant barrier to new economic development in Canada. The proposed definition of a project is too broad - it should be restricted to those undertaking that significantly impacts matters of federal jurisdiction, not interest. In addition, those types of projects regulated by mature regulatory systems and are similar in scope and details to other existing activities should require a much more modest IA effort than new activities with little regulations or experience. It is these later types of projects that an IA process offers the most benefit to society. The formal initial planning stage lead by the IA Authority should be scrapped - this is any unnecessary complication. With regard to multi-party, in person engagement process, this can only work with a tight, well defined schedule and if a particular party cannot adhere to the schedule, the process continues and their input would be potentially lost. If this is not clear to all parties, the consultation would likely continue for unreasonable periods of time. The IA Authority should not lead a study, this should be left to the proponent as they are the group that best understands the actual project. The need for consent from any group, including Indigenous people is inappropriate and too stringent. While consent is desirable it is rarely, if ever achieved for significant projects in a pluralistic society and will be a significant barrier to any development. The criterion that a project must contribute positively to sustainability and only the IA Commission may make that decision and no federal authority may allow a project to proceed that is not deemed so by the IA Commission is extremely naive and profoundly undemocratic. Many projects will have a range of sustainability impacts, both positive and negative, and invariably the overall judgement will be a political one. This is particularly true given the Panel's extremely broad view of sustainability and this makes it entirely appropriate for the government of the day to have the final authority with the IA Authority providing a recommendation to the Federal Cabinet.
Alyse K about 3 years ago
I agree with the Panel that there should be an appropriate threshold for effects on federal interests so that a trivial impact does not trigger IA; however their recommendation regarding project definition seems broad and runs the risk of stifling future development in Canada. Projects that are currently being evaluated pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 should continue under that assessment regime until new processes come into force and are fully implemented.
Ontario Rivers Alliance about 3 years ago
ORA is in full support of the Panel’s recommendations for Project IAs, as well as the need to ensure all projects and activities are good for Canada’s environment and communities. ORA recommends that all projects and activities that could impact on air or water quality, drinking water, communities, fisheries, endangered species, or habitat should trigger an IA before any permit or approval is issued.To facilitate meaningful public participation, Indigenous engagement and co-governance, and cooperation with provinces, the Panel has recommended an early planning stage for all assessments. This stage would involve appointing teams to conduct the assessment studies, and identifying the criteria that should guide the process and decision – and it would allow the public and Indigenous peoples to participate in planning assessments and engagement processes. ORA supports the Panel’s recommendation for an early planning stage for all assessments.ORA agrees that the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) must be implemented and strictly adhered to. Canada must uphold its obligations and commitments towards Indigenous peoples. ORA recommends that the federal government adhere to its commitment to comply with UNDRIP which includes the requirement for consent from Indigenous peoples affected by a Project within their traditional territory.
Charlene B about 3 years ago
The project IA process as proposed can't be supported as it could negatively affect economics in Canada. At a time when jobs are scarce, we should not be adding barriers with potentially little benefit. The process proposed could drive investment opportunities away from Canada. Any transition between current and future projects will need to be well laid out and occur over a period before a new IA process can be adopted.
ShawnM about 3 years ago
The panel recommends that every step of the assessment process be based on consensus, which is not a realistic approach. Instead, the focus should be on enhancing collaboration, inclusion, engagement and transparency within a fact-based quasi-judicial process.
Thevenot about 3 years ago
Regarding timing and cost: This needs a LOT more detail if it's going to be implemented. What expertise does government have to reassure taxpayers this won't be a disaster like other federal contracts (most recently Phoenix). What happens if this doesn't work? Who pays if there is budget overrun?Regarding planning: although early consultation is a good idea, some protection must be granted to proponents/investors, otherwise there will never be innovation anymore. The study and decision phases require a lot more detail to reassure investors that this will be workable. I trust additional consultation would occur prior to implementing the specifics.Regarding conflict of interest: will proponent-retained consultants working on up-front studies be precluded from bidding on the government-retained IA phase ?
Lindsay McCallum about 3 years ago
Proposing specific ‘Project Impact Assessment’ methods and approaches are pivotal to the successful assessment and mitigation of impacts. The Expert Panel’s report identifies five pillars of Impact Assessment (IA) including: environment, cultural, health, economic, and social. However, it does not provide specifics for how to adequately address each of these pillars within the IA context. In order to assess these areas, systematic and transparent protocols and methods should be established as 'best practices' in the field of IA. For health, including holistic views of health and well-being that apply to First Nations and Canadians at large, application of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) framework would provide a solid foundation. This can be coupled with the well-established health risk assessment (HRA) framework which offers an effective way to evaluate the potential risks to public health associated with changes in the environment. The HIA process includes the following steps, all of which align with existing practices: screening; scoping; assessment; recommendations; reporting; monitoring; and, evaluation. The HIA methodology also uses an evidence-based approach, as well as public/stakeholder consultation, which aligns with the Expert Panel's recommendations. The concern is that without a coherent and specific methodology that needs to be applied in order to address health in IA, health will fall by the wayside. This is especially true for inclusion of the holistic view of health and well-being that extends beyond the physical, and includes the full suite of health determinants. Along with the globally accepted HRA approach, application of an HIA framework to evaluate impacts on First Nations further adheres to the recommendations made by the Expert Panel and reflects the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): "Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right." It is suggested that guidance for conducting HIA within an IA context in Canada is developed in collaboration with experts in the field.
Jon Henderson about 3 years ago
Broadening the definition of project will overwhelm those required to be involved with the assessment process, unnecessarily trigger an IA for activities for which there are more appropriate/localized regulatory oversight mechanisms that effectively limit environment impacts, and will eventually bring responsible resource development and construction activities to a halt.
Dr. Susan Diamond about 3 years ago
If an activity is proposed which impacts the environment it needs to be reviewed. Only some of these currently meet a test to trigger a review. All activities can be put through a filter which sorts those that need to most stringent review. Every single proposal needs to be evaluated for its sustainability, as citizens move to mitigate and correct human impacts that can lead to dire air and water consequences. Profit may be an endemic human impulse- it can be expressed consistent with other values. Its simply presently more costly and difficult to do so with strong safeguards. Maybe ingenuity can be used to overcome the pillaging of nature?
Kirsten Ketilson about 3 years ago
I do not support the project IA process as outlined in the Report. The process is unworkable and unprecedented globally. I am concerned that Canada's regulatory process would be so burdensome as to make our industries and resources uncompetitive in an international marketplace. I also think that based on the triggers described, virtually all development in Canada would trigger this process. At each phase, there is significant opportunity provided for litigation, and I don't see how any project could ever receive approval. Before adopting any new regulatory process, standards and guidance need to be developed and published to support such a process that are publically reviewed. It is my opinion that this guidance needs to recognize the importance of sustainability criteria and indicators to be risk-informed, based on the best available science, and supported by federal government legislation or policy.
Brady Balicki about 3 years ago
The process being proposed in the Expert Panel report is unworkable and would provide significant uncertainty with respect to future resource development in Canada. Our natural resources must continue to be developed responsibly; however, implementing a broad and unprecedented approach is not the solution. As drafted it is difficult to imagine the process ever leading to an approval given the significant uncertainty and potential for litigation during each phase.
Rebecca Peters about 3 years ago
The proposed process appears to be broad and cumbersome and it is difficult to assess whether any project could progress under the proposal.
Bob Dunham about 3 years ago
Projects which are clearly in the national interest should be championed by government and pushed to completion. The idea that more consensus will improve the process for approval of projects is naive. Imagine trying to build the Canadian Pacific Railway today. The railway would never be built. The country would never be built.
JMD about 3 years ago
Given the length of time it takes to complete EA's now, expanding the scope of what may require an assessment in the future is probably not a good idea, unless the intent is to bring the entire assessment process to a standstill. Perhaps the existing project list needs to be reviewed and updated. The definition of a project should be as clearly defined as possible so that a lot of time and money are not wasted in trying to determine what projects should or shouldn't apply.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment about 3 years ago
The principles embodied in UNDRIP should be applied to all participants. They are principles that establish personal and community dignity as the birthright of indigenous peoples, but those same principles can and should be applied to all participants.
Susi E about 3 years ago
I agree with a rigorous assessment process that reflects the needs and rights of all Canadian people. Given that the past has sacrificed clean air, water and food for the benefit of Corporate interests, it is time that people came before profit. There is much talk about the oil and gas industry providing jobs, but these are short term (for the general population), and it is time that the right to a clean environment comes before corporate profit. When the environment is trampled due to accidents, it seems to be taxpayers who pay to clean it up. Why is it all about our risk for corporate gain. We must stop ruining our Country and this planet. If Corporations will not be responsible, then our Government must step in and protect the people who pay their salaries.
Robert Huck about 3 years ago
This is an entirely and incredibly naive and unworkable recommendation. The scope is too broad and unprecedented, and there is no evidence that such an approach will ever see through the approval of a project. The current process is quite sufficient in terms of its oversight and balance. A few tweaks are required, but nothing like this. No organization is prepared to propose projects in this fashion. If significant changes are to be placed on proponents, they should not take place without a considerable grace period to adjust.
Kathleen Hennig about 3 years ago
Since clean water and air are essential in supporting all life on earth, there is really no minimal optimal size of a proposed environmental development that does not warrant at least an acknowledgment that an impending action may produce negative impacts, before proceeding with the project. From activities at our homes to acidification of our oceans and all projects in between, the impacts are important to our lives and to our communities, and need to be dealt with appropriately, before being approved/undertaken. It is important that there is an early assessment in the planning stages before a project can proceed.
Rick Palmer about 3 years ago
Establishing a predictable and consistent economic and regulatory framework that clearly enables investment in Canada’s resource sector will create jobs and drive innovation. The Canadian upstream oil and gas industry continues to advance methods for reducing its carbon footprint and we strongly encourage the government to work with industry to maintain and increase investment in our industry. Encourage the federal government to engage with provinces and territories concerning the proposed recommendations and impacts to future investment and job creation. A complex and inefficient federal environmental assessment process will result in diminished investment in Canada’s energy resourc
Canadian Chamber of Commerce about 3 years ago
The Canadian Chamber is deeply worried that the proposed Impact Assessment Process will lead to an overly complex system that is unable to reach decisions in a timely manner, resulting in the exodus of investment dollars from the Canadian economy. Basing every step of the IA process on consensus is simply not a realistic. If adopted, it would essential mean the end of investment in large-scale resource and infrastructure processes in Canada, as none of these projects would enjoy the support of all Canadians. Instead, the IA process should aim to make evidence-based decisions that are transparent and based on engagement with communities. Towards that end, we believe that an enhanced public registry for projects, as well as an enhanced planning phase, should be adopted. That said, whether or not a legislated planning phase would help to improve outcomes of EA or IA process will largely depend on how the idea is implemented. Government should consult widely with the private sector on the scope and requirements of a planning phase. The Expert Panel outlines only one process that would be extremely burdensome for smaller projects or requests to modify or expand existing structures. Subjecting smaller scale proposals to this complex review process would be prevent millions of investment into Canada’s economy. A workable IA system would require more detailed though on how the process would run as well as developing less intensive review process for projects that have a smaller potential for adverse impacts. Participation in environmental or impact assessment processes are costly and time consuming endeavor. Certainty on how long these processes will take are essential to providing an environment that supports investment in the economy. It is unclear that the Expert Panel’s proposed approach to flexible timelines will produce greater certainty for business. We ask you to consider the use of minimum timelines in addition to the greater transparency suggested by the Expert Panel.
Kate Gordanier-Smith about 3 years ago
Section 3.2 I absolutely support the Panel’s recommendation of an early planning stage for all assessments to facilitate meaningful public participation, Indigenous engagement and co-governance, and cooperation with provinces. I agree with the idea of appointing teams to conduct the assessment studies, and identifying the criteria to guide the process. All peoples, both the Settler culture and First Nations, can participate in planning assessments and the engagement process. Well done!
Kate Gordanier-Smith about 3 years ago
Section 3.2 I believe the Panel has not gone far enough in recommending that all projects and activities that might damage our lands, air and waters must trigger stringent reviews for their sustainability. Talk to the children in school. They’ll tell you - you don’t do anything that might kill the bees, poison the fish, pollute our air, cause landslides, forest fires and floods! Investors in businesses that deny or ignore environmental damage and climate change, such as fossil fuel companies, are being warned that climate change regulations and class action suits may leave their investments stranded. In April 2017 the Philippines Commission on Human Rights began the world’s first-ever case against major fossil fuel companies for “alleged human rights abuses for their alleged role in causing death and financial loss on a massive scale as a result of climate-induced disasters.” Let’s be proactive in heading off future litigation in Canada. Let’s have every project trigger stringent reviews. If a company can’t mitigate against environmental damage, if they don’t factor this into their financial planning, then it’s not viable until they do. What business model leaves out the true costs of starting a project or setting up a business?
Holly about 3 years ago
All federally regulated projects require environmental assessments, not just a handful as is proposed.
S. Wallace about 3 years ago
How would the weight of physical and biological, social harmony and economic opportunities be compared. Site C is a perfect example of an uneconomic mega project - however, the promise of jobs and economic opportunities has overridden the physical and biological, social harmony elements.
Colleen about 3 years ago
The assessment needs to be a rigorous process and be fair for all parties. It must also reflect the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and contribute to a sustainable present and future. It would be benefical to set up enacting triggers for all projects before they can receive a federal permit and to also require any provincial or municipal projects to actually meet federal responsibility and care and assessment! So often folks are sent from one level of government to the other and this is unacceptable. The federal government will need to give the permit for anything that impacts any persons in any place here!
Nicole B about 3 years ago
I love the idea of early planning stage for every single assessment. It should be essential/required. People would be assigned to review important information (data & studies), and help ID the key aspects that should guide the process and decision. It is so important because it would ensure/facilitate that the public and Indigenous ppl are active and engaged in planning assessments & engagement processes. Canada is beautiful, we need to protect it!
Ms. about 3 years ago
I support an early planning stage for all assessments. This wouldinvolve appointing teams to conduct the assessment studies, identifying effective criteria to guide the process and decision and allowing all concerned citizens and First Nations to participate in planning assessments and engagement processes.It is clear that citizens and First Nations demand to be part of all projects that concern our Commons Heritage. We have a responsibility to ensure that the magnificence of our land continues for at least the next seven generations. It is only effective environmental assessments and enforcement of those standards that will ensure that greed and profits at any cost are no longer the accepted standard.
Ms. about 3 years ago
Triggers needed for all projects before they receive a federal permit. When only a few hundred out of thousands of federally-regulated activities will be assessed for potential implications on sustainability, Canadians and our land are at risk. All projects must be assessed under meaningful criteria that demands strict regulations for environmental protection. Our planet depends on this. Our survival depends on this. Any healthy economy depends on this.
Jacqueline Steffen about 3 years ago
I support enacting triggers for all projects before they can receive a federal permit. I believe the early planning state is essential and fully support it. In my view, it is imperative that the public and Indigenous peoples participate in planning assessments and engagement processes.
Guy Lancaster about 3 years ago
I appreciate the effort to find consensus among the many interested parties with regards to an environmental assessment but such assessments must be anchored in some concept lest they be pushed by strong interests of a powerful few.The report recognises aboriginal rights but how about the rights of all of us? Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has had a profound effect around the world in the way that it defends the rights of all in Canada to fair treatment. What's missing both there and in this report is recognition of a collective right to a healthy environment. To try to measure, especially economically, the effect of damaging the environment as if it can be balanced against economic rewards is to miss the point. Things such as clean air, clean water, healthy wildlife, and healthy vegetation have no intrinsic economic value until they can be owned. From an economic perspective they only have value when they can be exploited.As we approach 10 billion people on this planet, we're going to need to recognize that we only have one planet and that if we don't take care of it then we'll all pay the price.So let's start from the idea of sustainability and a right to a healthy environment. Industry will not like it, at least at first, because "economically" sustainability requirements are expensive. But this is only because it's hard to count the environmental effects so we've become used to treating the cost as zero. Instead, let's consider sustainability, and from a collective and planetary perspective.As with the Charter, let's lead the world by declaring our right to a healthy environment and by identifying sustainability as the principal measure of any proposed project.
Tara Lockhart about 3 years ago
I completely agree. Any and all projects should first and foremost not impact the environment in a negative way.
Rylan Zimny about 3 years ago
The new assessment process should apply to any and all projects regardless of scale. This process should be all-encompassing. Corporate and economic interests should yield to this process, and the decisions found there in. Protection of the environment should be immune to political interests; The EA process should protect life from political self interest. Fairness, contrary to it's popular use, has no place in a policy that has to protect the founding pillars of life on our planet. Fairness suggests compromising the interests of the EA; compromise and fairness are human terms for human conventions, and as such, do not apply to the environment in it's holistic view. We should be finding our place WITHIN the environment, not attempting to change the environment for us. That takes energy, produces waste, and we usually get it wrong. The EA should not be a utilitarian or a relativistic process as such. The EA should satisfy all interests, human and otherwise, or the project should not happen.
Michael Herauf about 3 years ago
I agree that there should be a threshold for mandatory impact assessments. I also agree that for any projects falling below this threshold there absolutely must be a mechanism in place where concerned citizens or groups can request and assessment. There should be some level of a burden of proof to substantiate the concern built into that process. It is of paramount importance that a doorway be left open to perform an IA on any project which falls under Federal jurisdiction.
John Bergenske, Wildsight about 3 years ago
While more projects are apparently recommended for assessment, it is not sufficient to simply include those on the project list or even those where a request for assessment has been made. All projects require at least a fundamental level of assessment. Thorough project descriptions must be required of all proponents and then reviewed by an independent EIA panel empowered to request any information deemed necessary. Enforceable requirements for advertising projects is important. All EIAs must demonstrate that the projects will have no negative environmental or social impacts AND assure the proponents are financially responsible for unforeseen environmental and social impacts should a project be approved. ANY negative environmental or social impacts should be of federal interest.
Michelle about 3 years ago
Yes and please ensure companies are on the hook for any expenses incurred in cleaning up their oil spills / various messes. We learned in kindergarten to clean up after ourselves, it is important to enforce that with companies - especially seeing as corporations wish to have the same rights a people, then they should be held accountable like people as well.
Lynda Gagne about 3 years ago
I support enacting triggers for projects before they can receive a federal permit and an early planning stage.
Laurie~ about 3 years ago
Thank you for making this recommendation.
Laurie~ about 3 years ago
You have improved the number of projects that will require assessment but you need to ensure "all" projects and activities are good for Canada’s environment and communities no matter how small.
Bill Bryden about 3 years ago
I agree! A full pre-planning stage that is heavily advertised should be required.
judy zilinski about 3 years ago
In the recent past projects, especially ones that are relatively small in nature (but still impact on important environmental issues), have often only had the requirement that proponents of the project submit the required information. All Federal agencies relied entirely on the integrity and honesty of the proponent. We have witnessed this to be a greatly flawed process and can offer proof there of. There was no process to offer additional information. Had an environmental assessment been required for projects, all pertinent information would have been available from the outset.
Oliver Hockenhull about 3 years ago
The primary goal should be the maintenance and enviro enhancement. All projects no matter how apparently small must be considered and assessed.
Doug Allan about 3 years ago
An early planning stage is an excellent idea and enact triggers for all projects before they can receive a federal permit.
Brad Jones about 3 years ago
I agree!
Author Commented Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency about 3 years ago
Thanks for all your comments. Keep them coming!
Andrew Duthie about 3 years ago
The proposed Planning Phase should start out with a broad project objective and a review of pertinent policy and legislation as a basis of public and First Nations engagement to scope issues and concerns related to the proposal. The results of the engagement process and policy and legal review should be used to make explicit the values and beliefs of the various stakeholders, develop and agree on sustainability criteria and provide guidance to the proponent/project planner on project performance requirements to meet them. It would also identify values and beliefs that are in conflict with the fundamental proposition of the project and that may be a source on ongoing conflict. VECs could then be studied and effects assessed iteratively during the Planning Phase to arrive at a project that aligns as closely as possible with the values and beliefs and sustainability framework.In this respect the relationship between the Planning Phase and Study Phase is upside down and needs to be better developed and understood (e.g. .Figure 2). Planning is an incremental process of increasing detail and certainty of information and iterations until design elements are fixed. This process must be informed, from the start, by sustainability criteria, valued components and baseline information. It would be better to rename Study Phase - Impact Assessment Phase. Put the baseline data collection, and effects modelling that would form part of the current Study Phase, in the Planning Phase. Call the Decision Phase – Project Evaluation Phase. Decisions are made throughout planning/design and are often critical to the final impact of the project. Having a “Decision Phase” reinforces the idea that there is only one big final decision in the process when in fact approval/rejection is a “meta-decision” preceded by hundreds of smaller incremental decisions (mainly in planning) that shaped the project and its final impact. Impact assessment should inform all these decisions. The final evaluation determines whether all these incremental decisions add up to a project that is sustainable.
Vanessa Holland about 3 years ago
I have a question regarding what approach will be taken for projects that currently require a environmental assessment based on section 67 of the act. It was not clear in the report if these would also become the responsibility of the newly created central agency or if they would still need to be completed by the department/agency from which the project originates.
JD about 3 years ago
Planning Phase: Many proponents operate in heavily competitive markets and require privacy around their proposed projects until such a time that commercial parties have been brought on-board and support the project. Legislating a designated early planning phase will therefore be unworkable for some industries. Having the IAC responsible for convening the early meetings of participants pulls the power completely from the proponents to work within the very communities they operate perhaps having the opposite effect the Panel is trying to achieve. Perhaps a better solution is to have the proponent prepare a draft terms of reference (TOR) in collaboration with interested stakeholders, put it out for public comment, then have the regulator finalize it based on the public comments. Study Phase: This section only refers to the proponent as "input...on project design". One principle thing they are missing here is that the mitigation that is currently included in EAs is often the culmination of many many years of operation experience. If significance is to be determined based off of the potential adverse effects less mitigation, then shouldn't the proponent be more involved? For example, how would the newly formed IAC produce an environmental protection plan (EPP) knowing that it is the proponent that has to uphold each and every mitigation measure during construction? A second omission relating to the role of the proponent is the fact that projects, especially long linear projects are routed over a long period of time resulting in additional studies due to re-routes (largely based off the wishes of directly affected stakeholders such as landowners, local and Indigenous communities). How would the IAC manage ongoing changes to a project throughout the study phase?
Ian Carter about 3 years ago
Having the steps of planning, study and decision phase for federal IAs are a good way to conduct the project assessment. The changes to the planning phase are welcomed as open discussion on projects early will allow for there to be discussion about critical components of projects. This is useful as determining the impacts to recognize and how significant they are is important to a proper IA. One concern for the study phase would be the that the provider of the studies and evidence may not be able to provide proper evidence. There is need to make sure that this is therefore done in a proper manner that will provide accurate information that is needed for the project. For the decision phase it is important that for cases of non-consensus that the review panel issuing the statement is able to provide a decision on the IA that is non biased and has taken into account all the considerations of both sides of the issues.
Jeff Anderson about 3 years ago
The inclusion of all possible stakeholders appears both positive and potentially problematic. The concern that adamant placing adamant proponents and opponents on every committee will lead to expensive stalemate after stalemate. Additionally, the nature of the commissioner or panel making final decisions needs to be politically and economically impartial. Government appointment of officials in charge of approval would, in my mind, make it an extension of the ruling political party and its agenda. Awarding the contracts for the study phase through the IAC is another potential that I hope to see become reality. Removal of the economic influence by project proponents is a step which cannot have its importance overstated when it comes to restoring public faith in the IA system.
Martijn Dieleman about 3 years ago
I definitely agree with the expert panel in that the definition of a relevant project should follow a different framework, but I have issues with the lack of specifics surrounding who may request that a project requires a federal IA, in terms of qualifications and context. However, with the component that considers the matters of federal interest, these interests should be better defined. Another component of this new approach that I definitely agree on is the widening of the scope of what is assessed, as CEAA 2012 greatly diminished this, as federal IAs should be done more with projects that may have federal and therefore national interests. The end of this section also talks about the sustainability test, but the description for this leaves much to be desired in terms of specifics, much like in the earlier mentions of the sustainability pillars in section 2.
Kristina about 3 years ago
I agree that a more comprehensive list should be established as to what exactly a “project” is on the CEAA so that there is less guesswork for those in the decision-making process. Straightforward lists supply quick and efficient means for proponents to determine what legislation will be in charge of their IA. The “provisions” made for proponents or other person/groups mentioned in the two other triggering mechanisms provided is not quite clear. What qualifications will there be in order to request a federal project IA? Will this be something that can be done online or will groups/proponents have to complete their own report for justification and present it to the government in a meeting? Steps should be laid out for groups/proponents so that they can efficiently complete their requests.
Shawn about 3 years ago
I agree with the idea of having a Project List that includes only projects that are likely to have adverse impacts on the environment and future generations. This will save money and time by eliminating the need for discretion and it will be easy for companies to know and understand if they will need an IA and the reasons why. However, caution must be taken to ensure all important statutory criteria is present to ensure no projects go through without an IA that may have adverse effects on the environment. This will be important because without and discretion involved, some projects may slip through the radar that may end up having large impacts. I appreciated the idea that a group can request an IA if they feel like the project will adversely impact them. This will ensure that even though the process is streamlined, it still provides opportunity for people to oppose projects they don’t agree with.
Tayla Lazenby about 3 years ago
I agree with the Panel that section 67 of CEAA 2012 should be scrapped as they pointed out it leads to bias of proponents lacking transparency and significance. Requiring the release of IA decisions and rationale will be beneficial and should be required for all IAs. Overall I like the idea of having 3 phases: Planning, Study and Decision. The Planning phase increases transparency and will overall create an inclusively planned project. The idea of having 2 committee of public participation is a good thought but may lead to some feeling the “experts” voices are heard more. Also by keeping them separate this restricts the leaning by the non-experts and sharing of concerns, as only the proponents will know both committees thoughts. Finally in the study phase the addition of requiring peer review will increase the validity of results and keep out bias.
KendraR about 3 years ago
With regards to the newly proposed transition from consequential impacts to a sustainability framework, there is certainly more involvement from multi-parties to consider all matters and ensure that criteria is met. However, with more involvement, it may be challenging to come to a decision and the process may be unrealistic. During the planning phase, I think it is important to include all parties, but they should only focus on the parties that may be directly impacts by the proposed project. Involvement may hinder the process and IA may not be able to come to a decision. Regarding the studying phase, the IA does not want to be limited to mitigation as the only accommodation option, however they fail to give any other options. Does this include other parties? What options can develop a stronger mitigation strategies? These should be addressed. Within the decision analysis, a sustainability framework may be ideal and benefit all parties, however, this is certainly hard to measure. Is it possible to meet all criteria for sustainability? I think the IA should address which criteria are deemed as most important as focus on those to come to a decision in a clear and concise manner.
Jennifer Buss about 3 years ago
Overall, the newly proposed planning and study phases look more inclusive and the broadness of the sustainability criteria (pillars) should address many of the issues of bias with the previous system. However, the decision phase is still vague in terms of classification of a project as having an overall net benefit. Do all sustainability criteria have to be met? A project can contribute positively to some but not other pillars of sustainability (economic, but not environment or social). Therefore, I think collaboration in the decision phase is important. The public, and Indigenous groups in an area should be able to review and be involved in the sustainability test and report if they feel that not all pillars of sustainability are met. Before an IA decision can be made, all outstanding issues in regard to the 5 pillars should be resolved, instead of just “working to resolve them”. Mitigation for these concerns should be included in the agreement.
Lauren Erdely about 3 years ago
Throughout most of the Expert Panel Report, the panel stresses the idea of integrating social and First Nations considerations into the current EA process. While I agree that these topics deserve specific consideration one of my most pressing concerns is that the focus on the environment will be diluted and become less imperative throughout the IA process. In this section the report states that the proposed IA process will integrate science, Indigenous knowledge and community knowledge. However, in my opinion these topics cannot be effectively integrated as they span different areas of focus. The attempt to blend science-based knowledge with community knowledge will certainly be unsuccessful as they produce different and incomparable measures. I fear this will result in drastic oversights of important values, as the responsible authority will be reviewing too many topics. Although radical I would propose that the current EA process remain focused on environmental matters, such as the biophysical impacts of a proposed project. A separate IA process should be developed to assess social, cultural and First Nations impacts. When determining whether a proposed project will continue the two impact assessments will then be used in a Cost-Benefit analysis in which they will be more easily compared. This will also ensure that the adequate level of detail for each assessment is preserved.
Melissa about 3 years ago
Though I do agree that not every project should require an IA, and that there should be a list of requirements for when an IA is required, I disagree with the statement that “only projects that are likely to adversely impact matters of federal interest” should be included on the project list. I believe that this contradicts the sentiments in some parts of section 2 which state that public involvement is crucial. If IAs are completed based solely on a list, and the public feels strongly that a particular project not on the list should require an IA, their thoughts should be taken into account and considered when deciding if an IA is necessary.
Victoria Masquillier about 3 years ago
The process to determine if a project requires federal IA has been changed from the writing of a detailed project description, currently required by the Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations, to a “concise conceptual description” of the project. This change makes sense, as it will result in less sunk costs if the project if not allowed to go through. However, the panel has suggested that instead of federal authorities determining whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or not, they should determine whether the project affects one or more federal interests before an IA is required. In this case, federal interests should be very clearly defined, or else this may be a weakening of the rigour required to determine whether a project requires IA or not.
KierstenS about 3 years ago
I believe that this section contradicts itself, as it states that there are not enough IAs being done and the scope needs to be expanded, but there are also ”too many being done” on smaller projects. By changing requirements so that it doesn’t include projects that are not of a federal matter, they may be leaving out other projects that have large negative impacts on areas. Just because a project may not be of federal concern does not mean that project IAs do not need to be completed. However, requiring both present and future generations to be considered when determining IAs is a smart idea as it will result in a more trustworthy and sustainable IA process in relation to public interests.
Amelia Tobin about 3 years ago
It is good to reflect the list to incorporate all the industries but should there also be a list on environments where projects will need an IA such as rare species’ habitat or areas of rare habitat. It is really important that the results of the study phase can be trusted by the public because it can cost a lot of time and effort if the project is blocked later on. The forum to discuss the project in the planning phase could be incredibly beneficial to many parties, especially as with similar projects, the information can be referred back to, to save both time and money in the future. Allowing the public to trigger an IA could be a good idea although would they take advantage of their new power and attempt to trigger IAs just to slow or stop the project?
Melanie de Kappelle about 3 years ago
The objective of this section is to redefine what constitutes a “project”, and clarify how project impact assessments should be conducted.In re-defining what constitutes a Project, the sources of confusion from CEAA 2012 were highlighted. The Panel proposes a clearer definition for “Project” and they state that more IAs will be required in the future. However, their definition for which projects will require IA’s is still unclear. In analyzing their recommendation for a “new Project List”, I wonder: When this list will be created, will ongoing projects have to re-submit IA’s? If not, how will the federal Government avoid a flood of new Projects being started before this list is created? What magnitude of impact must a project have to be considered “consequential impact”? Recommendations have also been made by The Panel for a new Project IA process. This overhaul of the IA process has three primary objectives: Create a platform for multi-party dialogue, as well as create, and use, conduct of assessment agreements. The overhaul has also been designed with deadlines for meeting agreements. I believe this overhaul will be beneficial in the long-term, but will be slow to implement, as all parties adjust to the new process.
LSC about 3 years ago
NO! The Expert Panel has proposed that decisions by the Impact Assessment Commission should be subject to a time-limited right of appeal to the federal Cabinet. No way. Don't permit the federal government to meddle in Commission decisions. Seek judiciary involvement instead.
Dianne Varga about 3 years ago
The Expert Panel has proposed that decisions by the Impact Assessment Commission should be subject to a time-limited right of appeal to the federal Cabinet. No way. Don't permit the federal government to meddle in Commission decisions. Seek judiciary involvement instead.