Appearance before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – May 12, 2021
Grants and contributions funding
IAAC’s grants and contributions funding contained within the 2021-2022 Main Estimates.
Points to register
Specifically, what is IAAC funding through its $22.2 million grants and contributions programs?
The Agency’s grants and contributions programs provide funding support to individuals, non-profits, and Indigenous groups to improve scientific information and Indigenous knowledge; enhance public participation; contribute to Indigenous reconciliation and build Indigenous capacity; and promote transparency, efficiency and timeliness.
The funding is divided among the following programs:
Participant Funding Program: to help recipients prepare for and participate in key stages of impact assessments undertaken, as well as regional and strategic assessments.
Policy Dialogue Program: supports the provision of external advice and participation in the development of policies, methodologies, tools and practices related to impact assessment, regional assessments and strategic assessments.
Indigenous Capacity Support Program: supports the development of local and regional Indigenous knowledge and capacity to effectively participate in, or undertake project impact assessments, regional assessments, policy engagement, impact assessment monitoring and follow-up activities, and IAA-related activities.
Research Program: supports impact assessment-related research.
Contribution to the Province of Quebec – James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement: to maintain and provide funding for the secretariats supporting the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment and the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee.
Impact Assessment Act implementation
The Impact Assessment Act.
Points to register
What are the benefits of the Impact Assessment Act?
The impact assessment regime is designed to protect the environment, ensure sustainable projects can move forward safely, and instill public confidence in how the Government of Canada makes decisions about major projects like mines, pipelines and hydro dams.
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) aims to achieve these goals while also fostering reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, encouraging investment, and creating new jobs and economic opportunities for Canadians.
The IAA requires analysis of the positive and negative environmental, health, social and economic effects of projects, as well as the potential impacts of projects on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and on Indigenous peoples. These factors inform decisions on whether a project is in the public interest.
The IAA increases regulatory certainty and clarity, encouraging investment in Canada’s natural resources sectors. The goal of the IAA is “one project, one assessment”, improving coordination with the provinces and territories to reduce red tape for companies.
The IAA contains a number of provisions related to cooperation with other jurisdictions including Indigenous jurisdictions, and authority for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to enter into formal cooperation agreements.
The Agency is actively cooperating with provinces on individual project assessments being conducted under CEAA 2012 and IAA through a variety of mechanisms. In all projects the Agency seeks to align with provincial processes to the fullest extent possible.
There is currently one cooperation agreement in place under the IAA between the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the British Columbia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, signed in August 2019. A Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec is also in place to coordinate the assessment processes for the Gazoduq Project.
What has been the implementation experience to date?
Experience to date has demonstrated that the impact assessment process can be effectively implemented as planned, supporting predictable, robust, and timely assessments. IAAC, as the single Agency responsible for conducting all major project assessments, has provided more clarity and consistency for all stakeholders.
Legislated time limits in relation to all designated projects subject to IAA have been met.
IAAC has accepted fifteen (15) initial project descriptions since IAA came into force in August 2019.Footnote 1
Eight (8) projects have completed the Planning Phase.
Three will be impact assessments by Agency (Webequie, Marten Falls Roads and Wasamac Gold Mine);
One will be an impact assessment by an Integrated Review Panel with the Canada Energy Regulator (Gazoduq);
One will be a substituted IA by British Columbia (Cedar LNG);
One was terminated by the proponent (Great Sandhills Railway Switching); and
Two for which no impact assessment was required (Prairie Lights Power, ATCO Salt Cavern Storage Expansion).
There are currently eight (8) projects in the Planning Phase:
Phase I Vista Test Underground Mine and Vista Mine Phase II Expansion Projects
Waterloo Airport Runway Project
Fording River Extension (formerly Castle Coal Mine)
GCT Deltaport Expansion
Suncor Base Mine Extension (referred to a review panel)
Tilbury Phase 2 LNG
Value Chair Solutions-Heartland Complex
This rate is almost the same as was experienced under CEAA 2012 (approximately 1-2 projects per month) despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID pandemic.
More broadly, the Government has also been delivering on the commitment to consider the “big picture” beyond project-focussed impact assessments and address larger regional and strategic issues.
To that end, under the IAA the Government launched two Regional Assessments – one on the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore and the other focused on Ontario’s Ring of Fire area. The Regional Assessment for Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore has been completed and is now in follow up and monitoring. IAAC is working closely with the Government of Ontario to finalize the Terms of Reference for the Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire region, and will conduct it with full involvement of Indigenous communities that may be affected by future development in the Ring of Fire area.
The Government has also completed a strategic assessment with regards to greenhouse gases and climate change.
How are climate commitments (e.g. Paris Accord, Net Zero 2050) dealt with in the federal review process?
The Impact Assessment Act requires the consideration of the extent to which a project hinders or contributes to Canada’s ability to meet its climate change commitments.
The climate change information and analysis to be taken into account are guided by the Strategic Assessment of Climate Change and are set out clearly for each project assessment.
For example, depending on the project, requirements for impact assessments include the project’s main GHG sources, estimates of direct and upstream emissions, and how the project can contribute to Canada’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions. For projects continuing past 2050, requirements also include a credible plan for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
The climate-change implications of a project are considered in the impact assessment report, and ultimately as a public-interest factor in the impact assessment decision.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the time limits for project assessments?
IAAC has continued to advance impact and environmental assessments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
IAAC is taking into account that there may be potential consultation challenges for Indigenous groups and the public because of the pandemic.
So far in 2021 five final decisions have been taken on project assessments (Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion, Milton Logistics Hub and three offshore exploration projects).
Indigenous Cooperation Regulations
What is the status of the Indigenous Cooperation Regulations?
Points to register
IAAC’s forward regulatory plan includes a proposal to develop Indigenous Cooperation Regulations to enable the Minister to enter into agreements with Indigenous governing bodies to be considered jurisdictions under the Act and to exercise powers and duties relating to impact assessments carried out under the IAA.
The Indigenous Cooperation Regulations are a key feature of IAA for supporting implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
These regulations will address important and complex questions, and the process to develop them will require adequate time to consider the views of a broad representation of Indigenous peoples and all those potentially implicated.
IAAC undertook extensive engagement in 2019 and 2020 to hear from Indigenous partners about their interests and objectives for increasing their role in the conduct of assessments. IAAC is now considering what was heard through that process and looking at what may be possible under these provisions of the Act.
IAAC expects to communicate its next steps in the coming months to work with Indigenous peoples in the development of these regulations.
Roberts Bank Terminal 2
Milton Logistics Hub
Grassy Mountain Coal
Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels
Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir
Meaford Hydroelectric Pumped Storage
Projects designated by the Minister
Regional and Strategic Assessments
Points to register
What is the status of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project assessment?
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is proposing a new three-berth marine-container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C. Projected cost is approximately $3.5B.
The assessment was conducted by an independent Review Panel. On March 27, 2020, the Review Panel submitted its Report containing its conclusions and recommendations.
In August, 2020, after considering the Review Panel’s Report, the Minister determined that additional information is required from the Port Authority to inform the decision on whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. This information request pauses the federal timeline for decision-making.
Following receipt of this information from the Port Authority, the Government will have approximately three months to make a final decision on the Project. In the interim, IAAC is coordinating post-panel-Report consultations, including coordinating consultations with the Province of B.C. and Indigenous groups.
What is the status of the Laurentia project assessment?
The Quebec Port Authority is proposing to extend the line of the existing wharf eastward by 610 metres in order to operate a deep-water terminal dedicated to containerized general cargo.
On December 23, 2020, IAAC requested that the proponent provide additional information after the Quebec Port Authority indicated that they intend to do further work with partners to reduce the effects identified in the draft environmental assessment report.
On March 31, 2021, the proponent submitted additional information for the assessment of the project. IAAC is currently analyzing the documents and will finalize its environmental assessment report in the coming weeks.
What is the status of the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion project assessment?
The Montreal Port Authority is proposing a container port terminal with a maximum annual capacity of 1.15 million containers in Contrecoeur, approximately 40 kilometres downstream from Montreal.
On March 1, 2021, a final EA decision was made which allows the project to proceed following a rigorous assessment led by the Agency. The decision statement includes 330 binding conditions that will have to be met by the proponent.
What is the status of the Énergie Saguenay project assessment?
GNL Québec Inc. is proposing a natural gas liquefaction (LNG) facility and export terminal in the District of La Baie, Saguenay City, Quebec.
On December 24, 2020, IAAC indicated to the proponent that further information is required. The federal timeline has been suspended pending submission of this information and conformity review by the Agency.
On the provincial side, on March 24, 2021, the Bureau d'audience publique sur l'environnement (BAPE) report was made public. The environmental assessment conducted by the Quebec government is ongoing and is expected to be completed during this summer.
Parks Canada is participating in the process to provide expert advice on the potential effects of the project on Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.
What is the status of the Milton Logistics Hub project assessment?
CN proposed a logistics hub to transfer containers between trucks and railcars in Milton, ON.
The assessment was conducted by an independent Review Panel, including representation from the Canada Transportation Agency. On January 27, 2021, the Review Panel submitted its Report containing its conclusions and recommendations.
On Jan 21, 2021, the Minister issued the Environmental Assessment Decision Statement to the proponent establishing 325 legally-binding conditions on CN to protect the environment and human health – many of which go beyond those initially proposed by the independent joint review panel and 40 of which address air quality specifically.
Should the Project be carried out, the conditions imposed would make it the most stringently regulated intermodal logistics hub in Canada.
The Milton Logistics Hub Project is now in the Post-Decision Phase. Enforcement officers in IAAC’s Compliance Promotion and Enforcement Unit are responsible for verifying compliance with the IAA, including conditions in the project’s Decision Statement.
What is the status of the Grassy Mountain Coal project assessment?
Benga Mining Limited is an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the Crowsnest Pass, seven kilometres from the community of Blairmore, in southwest Alberta.
The assessment is being conducted by a Joint Review Panel, established with the Alberta Energy Regulator. The Panel held a virtual public hearing from October to December 2020. The Panel must submit its report to the Minister and the Alberta Energy Regulator by June 18, 2021.
The Coal Development Policy and associated ban on mountain-top coal mining does not affect the Grassy Mountain Coal Project as it is located outside of the areas captured by the Policy.
What is the status of the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels project assessment?
Manitoba Infrastructure is proposing a new permanent flood-control management system. The Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project would consist of two new diversion channels each approximately 23 kilometres long:
the first running northwards from Watchorn Bay on Lake Manitoba to Birch Bay on Lake St. Martin (Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel); and,
a second running northeast from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg, south of Willow Point (Lake St. Martin Outlet Channel).
IAAC is reviewing the adequacy of the information submitted by the proponent on December 7, 2020, related to the Environmental Impact Statement and is awaiting further information from the proponent.
IAAC is in regular communication with the proponent to support as timely a review as possible.
What is the status of the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project assessment?
Alberta Transportation is proposing to construct infrastructure to mitigate flooding on lands along the Elbow River, about 15 kilometres west of Calgary, Alberta.
IAAC is considering comments received during the public comment period on the draft Environmental Assessment Report and the draft potential conditions in order to finalize the Environmental Assessment Report that will be submitted to the Minister. Many Indigenous groups were unable to submit comments during the comment period and the Agency has advised they may submit comments after the comment period so as to support their participation.
Based on the final Environmental Assessment Report, the Minister will issue an environmental assessment Decision Statement with enforceable conditions should the project be allowed to proceed.
What is the status of the Meaford Hydroelectric Pumped Storage project assessment?
TC Energy Ltd. is proposing the construction and operation of a new pumped storage hydroelectric generating facility with a production capacity of 1000 MW. The project is proposed to be located on federal lands within the 4th Canadian Division Training Center in Meaford, Ontario.
IAAC is aware that the Department of National Defense (DND) is in discussions with the proponent to determine whether federal lands can be used for the project.
The Project is in the pre-Planning Phase and the proponent has not submitted a draft Initial Project Description. When the proponent submits a draft Initial Project Description, IAAC will review it and work with the proponent to support an effective Planning Phase under IAA.
IAAC is in regular communication with DND and the proponent to support a clear and timely regulatory path forward.
How many projects has the Minister designated under the Impact Assessment Act?
Since Coming into Force, the Minister has taken 28Footnote 2 designation request decisions and has designated four (4) projects to be assessed under IAA. There are two (2) requests currently under consideration for which IAAC is conducting an analysis and will make a recommendation to the Minister on whether to designate the project under the Impact Assessment Act:
Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant Project (ON)
Tent Mountain Mine Redevelopment Project (AB)
On May 3, 2021, the Minister decided to designate the GTA West Project under the IAA after reviewing the analysis prepared by the Agency.
The Minister decided designation is warranted because the project may cause adverse effects on federally-listed species at risk. The location of the project overlaps with the critical habitat areas of some of the identified species at risk and at this time there remains uncertainty on whether these effects can be mitigated through project design or the application of standard mitigation measures.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is now required to submit an Initial Project Description for its proposed GTA West Project.
Once the Agency accepts the proponent’s Initial Project Description, it will invite the public and Indigenous groups to provide feedback related to the proposed project.
The Agency will work with the Government of Ontario to explore opportunities to address concerns that have been identified. If concerns can be avoided, or mitigated, there is potential for a determination that no impact assessment is required. If these concerns are not able to be addressed through the planning process, a coordinated assessment process, to the extent possible, would be carried out with the Province with the goal of “one project-one assessment”.
On May 3, 2021, the Minister decided not to designate the Bradford Bypass Project after reviewing the thorough analysis prepared by the Agency:
The Minister believes that existing federal, provincial, and municipal legislations and regulations, along with the application of standard mitigation measures will address the potential adverse effects and public concerns associated with this project.
Fording River Extension Project (formerly known as the Castle Project) (B.C.): On August 19, 2020, the Minister designated this project. An initial Project Description was accepted by IAAC on October 14, 2020.
Coalspur Vista Mine (AB): On July 30, 2020, the Minister designated the projects. The proponent has submitted an Initial Project Description.
The Minister designated the projects because, among other reasons, the projects may result in potential adverse environmental effects to fish and fish habitat, species at risk, and Indigenous peoples and their rights.
IAAC will work with the Alberta Energy Regulator to coordinate the assessment processes to the greatest degree possible.
The proponent and one First Nation have each filed for a Judicial Review of the Minister’s designation decisions.
On May 6, 2021, the Agency announced the start of a 20-day comment period on the summary of the proponent’s initial project description. Comments received will help the Agency provide a summary of issues to the proponent.
What are the ongoing and requested Regional Assessments?
There is one ongoing Regional Assessment, which is centred on the Ring of Fire Area in Ontario. IAAC is engaging with Indigenous communities, organizations, the Province of Ontario and federal authorities to plan the process and develop the Terms of Reference for the Regional Assessment. The Agency has committed to work with interested Indigenous communities and organizations in support of meaningful participation in the Regional Assessment.
Consideration is being given to four requests for Regional Assessments.
On July 29, 2020, the Minister received a request for a Regional Assessment of the St. Lawrence River from the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke. On October 27, 2020, the Minister responded to the request and directed IAAC to conduct further analysis and initiate an engagement program before the decision is made to move forward with a Regional Assessment. IAAC engaged with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and provincial and federal authorities to explore the need and rationale for the Regional Assessment and IAAC is now developing a report on engagement outcomes for submission to the Minister.
On March 22, 2021, Heather McPherson, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona, requested a Regional Assessment of the impacts of all proposed coal developments and exploratory activity in Southwest Alberta on Treaty and Aboriginal rights, water quality, species at risk and the environment. IAAC has commenced an analysis of the Regional Assessment request, which will be provided to the Minister. The Minister will respond, with reasons, to the request by June 19, 2021.
On March 23. 2021, Western Energy Corridor (WEC) requested a Regional Assessment of an interprovincial corridor extending from east central Alberta across Saskatchewan to Churchill, Manitoba, that includes marine shipping in Hudson Bay. IAAC will analyze the request and the Minister will respond, with reasons, by June 21, 2021.
On April 20, 2021, a member of the public requested a Regional Assessment for the area of the federal riding of Toronto Danforth including lands on the west side of the Don River. On April 24, 2021, another member of the public requested a Regional Assessment of the area of the Don Valley. IAAC will analyze the requests and the Minister will respond, with reasons, by July 19, 2021.
What is strategic assessment under the Impact Assessment Act and have any been completed?
A strategic assessment under the Impact Assessment Actcan assess policies, plans, programs and issues relevant to impact assessment.
Strategic assessments are flexible and can be designed to achieve different goals and objectives such as assessing how to approach novel impacts from new types of projects, or examining issues that are difficult to address at the project level.
The Government of Canada published the Strategic Assessment of Climate Change in July 2020.
It describes the climate change related information required from proponents throughout the federal impact assessment process, and how the Government of Canada will consider that information.
It requires proponents of projects with a lifetime beyond 2050 to provide a credible plan that describes how the project will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
In December 2019 the Minister of Environment and Climate Change launched the Strategic Assessment of Thermal Coal Mining, and in July 2020 released the draft Terms of Reference for public comment.
The assessment will be conducted by a committee of senior government officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Global Affairs Canada.
The Terms of Reference are being finalized. It is proposed that the assessment would provide information and analysis to guide decision-makers on assessing new and expanded thermal coal mining projects under the Impact Assessment Act, and to inform Canada’s overall approach to thermal coal exports.
How does the impact assessment process reflect Indigenous views and perspectives?
Points to register
The Government of Canada consults and partners with Indigenous peoples as part of the new impact assessment process. In addition to consultation to meet the Crown’s common law duty to consult, IAAC focuses on early and inclusive engagement and participation at every stage in accordance with a co-developed Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan. The aim is to secure free, prior and informed consent through processes based on mutual respect and dialogue.
Relationship-building is supported by having IAAC as lead of the Government of Canada’s consultation efforts enabling a “one window” point of contact for Indigenous groups throughout the assessment.
Provisions in the IAA provide increased opportunities for cooperation and collaboration, including options for co-development and for the integration of Indigenous-led studies and assessments.
The Act also includes mandatory consideration of Indigenous knowledge, streamlined participant funding to support Indigenous participation and capacity development, and requirements to consider potential impacts on Indigenous rights and culture in assessments and decision-making.
The IAA also provides for the Minister, once authorized by regulations, to enter into agreements with Indigenous governing bodies who do not already meet the definition of jurisdiction under the Act, to exercise powers or perform duties or functions in relation to impact assessment, and be considered jurisdictions for the purposes of the Act.
How are opposing views amongst affected Indigenous groups or within communities balanced in the federal review process (e.g. elected vs. hereditary chiefs)?
The Government’s role in leading federal Crown consultation with Indigenous peoples in the context of impact assessment is not to balance the views or concerns expressed by different Indigenous groups but rather to facilitate a meaningful dialogue with affected Indigenous groups.
Analysis of all evidence and perspectives will factor into IAAC’s assessment of the potential project effects (both positive and negative) and impacts on Indigenous rights and interests. This analysis supports decision making by presenting all of the various perspectives and recommending the best available options for avoiding, mitigating or accommodating adverse impacts.
How have Indigenous and public consultations been affected by the pandemic?
The pandemic has created significant challenges for Indigenous communities across the country as they have focussed their efforts on protecting and ensuring the health and safety of their members.
Officials from IAAC have remained in contact with Indigenous partners throughout the pandemic, ensuring that every effort has been made to adapt the approaches taken to consultation in order to respond to the unique circumstances and challenges faced by Indigenous communities.
The Agency has adopted a “no wrong platform” approach involving collaboration in the Planning Phase and ensuring the capacity and experience of IAAC staff is available to carry out respectful and reciprocal two-way dialogue. This has included use of new technologies to hold virtual meetings, extension of comment periods and other timelines where possible, and other methods to ensure that the Government of Canada has continued to work in partnership with Indigenous communities to find innovative ways to continue to advance dialogue and consultations during this unique and difficult time.
In addition, meaningful engagement with the public continues even where face-to-face meetings are not possible during the pandemic. IAAC currently has many tools available for virtual engagement that allow for meetings with communities during the impact assessment process, including for public hearings, to ensure that those who want to participate have the opportunity to do so.
Regulation respecting Newfoundland and Labrador offshore exploratory wells
What is the Regulation affecting offshore exploratory projects under the Impact Assessment Act?
Points to register
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that projects are assessed in a manner that maintains high standards of environmental protection. The Government is also committed to ensuring that such processes are efficient and enable good projects to proceed.
The Regulation enables offshore exploratory drilling projects to be excluded, under specific conditions, from a project-specific impact assessment under the Impact Assessment Act. Prior to drilling proponents must demonstrate they are able to meet the requirements of the Regulation, and must continue to comply with the conditions of the Regulation throughout the drilling program.
The Regulation includes robust mitigation measures and codifies them as conditions to ensure proponents are adhering to the same level of rigour established in a project-specific federal assessment process.
This Regulation is informed by scientific data and analysis. It has also been informed by stakeholder and Indigenous groups’ insights obtained during extended public consultations on a Discussion Paper on the Ministerial regulatory proposal and during the Regional Assessment Committee’s engagement program that involved 41 Indigenous groups and 58 stakeholder groups, as well as federal and provincial government representatives and members of the public.
The Government of Canada is committed to using Regional Assessments to improve the efficiency of the federal assessment process while ensuring the highest standards of environmental protection continue to be applied and maintained.
What is the status of the judicial review by environmental organizations challenging the Regional Assessment and associated Ministerial Regulation, and how will it affect future exploratory drilling projects in the eastern portion of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Area?
A judicial review of the Regional Assessment and the Regulation was initiated in May 2020. The hearing of this matter will be held on May 25 and 26, 2021, in Halifax via Zoom.
The Government of Canada will continue to defend the application for judicial review that has been brought against the Regional Assessment Report and the Regulation.
How does cost recovery work under the IAA?
Points to register
The IAA enables IAAC to recover from project proponents certain costs incurred during the course of an impact assessment. Until such time as a new regulation is in place the existing Cost Recovery Regulations, developed under CEAA 2012, will continue to apply to assessments under both CEAA 2012 and the IAA. The regulations currently provide for recovery of costs in relation to assessments that are referred to a review panel. The services and amounts for which IAAC can recover are set out in a schedule to the Cost Recovery Regulations.
Does IAAC intend to cost recover for an impact assessment led by IAAC?
IAAC’s forward regulatory plan includes a proposal to develop new Cost Recovery Regulations to replace the existing regulations and prescribe the costs IAAC would recover for administering the federal IA process. Until such time as a new regulation is in place the existing Cost Recovery Regulations will continue to apply. Any proposed new regulation would be the subject of public consultations during the regulation-development process.
Minister’s Advisory Council on Impact Assessment (MINAC)
Why was the Minister’s Advisory Council on Impact Assessment created and what is its mandate?
Points to register
The Minister’s Advisory Council is a requirement under the Act. The Council will provide independent, non-partisan advice on implementation of the new impact assessment regime including the regional and strategic assessment regimes.
For its first report, due in June 2021, the Minister asked the Council to focus on three priority areas: the governance structures and processes put in place to support implementation of the new impact assessment regime; regional and strategic assessment considerations and priorities; and the new Planning Phase.
What is the composition of the Council?
The Government of Canada used an open, transparent and merit-based selection process to appoint members to the Council.
The Council is composed of 12 appointed members from diverse and varied backgrounds relevant to impact assessment, governance, and decision-making in the public interest. The composition of the Council reflects a balance of experience, gender, regional diversity and Indigenous representation. The President of IAAC is an ex-officio non-voting member of the Council to support their work and to act as a liaison between the Council and potential expert federal officials and stakeholders.
What is the timeline for the first report of the Council and how will you integrate its advice into the work of the Impact Assessment Agency?
The Council will report on its advice biennially. Its reports will be tabled in Parliament and published on IAAC’s internet site. The first report must be submitted to the Minister by June of this year. The Minister must provide comments back to the Council within 90 days of receipt of the report and post those comments online.
What is the difference between the Minister’s Advisory Council on Impact Assessment, the Indigenous Advisory Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee, and what advice have any of these bodies provided?
The Technical Advisory Committee on Science and Knowledge and the Indigenous Advisory Committee were established in 2019 to provide advice to the Agency on its work under the Impact Assessment Act.
The two Advisory Committees reporting to the Agency are composed of technical or procedural experts who provide the Agency with information and expert advice to inform its work. This year the Technical Advisory Committee is providing advice in three priority areas: assessing health, social and economic effects; positive effects; and cumulative effects. The Indigenous Advisory Committee’s priorities for this year are: Indigenous Knowledge; cooperation and collaboration; and assessing impacts on rights.
The Minister’s Advisory Council is a complementary body that was established in late 2020 to advise the Minister on the implementation of the new regime in relation to the purposes set out for it in the Act, with a focus on governance of the regime, the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes established under the Act, and regional and strategic assessments.
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