Substitution of the federal environmental assessment process under Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency


The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) enables cooperation between the federal government and other jurisdictions in the delivery of timely, high quality environmental assessments (EAs) through a number of different means. One of these approaches is for the Minister of the Environment to substitute the EA process of another jurisdiction for the EA process that would otherwise be conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency). This approach achieves the objective of “one project-one assessment” which has been endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Substitution under CEAA 2012 only applies to EAs that would be conducted by the Agency; it does not apply to EAs conducted by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. In addition, an EA that has been referred to a review panel cannot be substituted.

A request for substitution from another jurisdiction may be for a specific project or for a class of projects. Prior to approving substitution, the Minister must be satisfied that conditions specified in CEAA 2012, including any conditions that he or she may set, will be met by the other jurisdiction and that its EA process is an appropriate substitute.

These conditions are:

  • the process to be substituted will include the consideration of the same factors that are required to be assessed under CEAA 2012 ;
  • the public will be given an opportunity to participate in the assessment;
  • the public will have access to records in relation to the assessment to enable their meaningful participation;
  • at the end of the assessment, a report will be submitted to Agency and the report will be made available to the public; and
  • any other conditions that the Minister establishes are or will be met.

Once the substitution is approved, the EA process of the other jurisdiction becomes the process through which the public will be able to provide its views with respect to the environmental effects of the project as defined in CEAA 2012. The EA report will contain an analysis and conclusions on the significance of those environmental effects. The report will be made available to the public.

At the conclusion of a substituted EA process, the federal Minister of the Environment will make an EA decision under CEAA 2012.

For more information about CEAA 2012 consult the Agency Web site or contact the Agency at

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