Glossary

Document Information

Updates

This document may be reviewed and updated periodically by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency). To ensure that you have the most up-to-date version, please consult the Guidance Materials page of the Agency's Web site.

Copyright

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2006

This publication may be reproduced for personal or internal use without permission, provided the source is fully acknowledged. However, multiple copy reproduction of this publication in whole or in part for purposes of redistribution requires the prior written permission from the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0S5 or copyright.droitdauteur@pwgsc.gc.ca.

Disclaimer

This guide is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act) or any of its regulations. In the event of any inconsistency between this guide and the Act or regulations, the Act or regulations, as the case may be, would prevail.

This document provides guidance on environmental assessment under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as amended on July 12, 2010. It has not been updated to reflect changes to the process introduced in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. To ensure that you have the appropriate versions of the Act and regulations, please consult the Department of Justice website.

This document has been issued in French under the title: Glossaire - Termes couramment employés dans le cadre de l'évaluation environnementale fédérale.

This document is also available in Adobe's Portable Document Format [PDF - 412 KB].

Glossary Overview

Purpose of the glossary

This glossary has been prepared by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) to assist in the interpretation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act) and the understanding of Agency training and guidance materials.

It defines or explains terms and acronyms that are commonly used in relation to environmental assessments under the Act.

Contents of the glossary

This guide contains the following main parts:

Disclaimer

This glossary is intended for information purposes only. While this glossary contains many commonly used definitions from the Act and its regulations, it also contains terms that are not defined by the legislation. These terms are added for guidance purposes and are solely intended to provide help to practitioners who apply the Act.

This guide is not a substitute for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act) or any of its regulations. In the event of any inconsistency between this guide and the Act or regulations, the Act or regulations, as the case may be, would prevail. To ensure that you have the most up-to-date versions of the Act and regulations, please consult the Department of Justice Web site at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-15.2/index.html.

Individuals with specific questions about interpretation of these or other terms are urged to seek legal advice.

Additional guidance

While this glossary contains many commonly used definitions, it does not contain all definitions that are included in the Act or its regulations. It is recommended that the "Interpretation" sections of the Act and relevant regulations also be consulted.

If you need further advice or information, please contact the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency office in your region.

Part 1. Index of Key Terms

A

B

C

D

E

F

I

J

L

M

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

Part 2. Explanations of Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK)

Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK) is knowledge that is held by, and unique to Aboriginal peoples. It is a living body of knowledge that is cumulative and dynamic and adapted over time to reflect changes in the social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political spheres of the Aboriginal knowledge holders. It often includes knowledge about the land and its resources, spiritual beliefs, language, mythology, culture, laws, customs and medicines. It may be considered in the environmental assessment of a proposed project.

Note: The term traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is often used interchangeably with the term Aboriginal traditional knowledge (see, ATK). However, TEK is generally considered to be a subset of ATK that is primarily concerned with knowledge about the environment.

For French see connaissances traditionnelles autochtones

Act

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The acronym CEAA is also used as a short form for the title of the Act.

For French see loi

Adaptive management

Involves the implementation of new or modified mitigation measures over the life of a project to address unanticipated environmental effects.

The need for the implementation of adaptive management measures may be determined through an effective follow-up program.

For French see gestion adaptative

Agency

As defined in the Act, "Agency" means the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency established by section 61.

The Agency reports to the Minister of the Environment and has the mandate to administer the federal environmental assessment process in Canada.

For French see agence

Alternative means of carrying out a project

The various technically and economically feasible ways, other than the proposed way, for a project to be implemented or carried out.

Examples include other project locations, different routes and methods of development, and alternative methods of project implementation or mitigation.

For French see solutions de rechange

Alternatives to a project

The functionally different ways, other than the proposed project, to meet the project need and achieve the intended purpose.

For example, if a need for greater power generation has been identified, a proposed project might be to build a new power generation facility. An alternative to that project might be to increase the generation capacity of an existing facility.

For French see autres moyens de réaliser le projet

Assessment by a review panel

As defined in the Act, "assessment by a review panel" means an environmental assessment that is conducted by a review panel established pursuant to section 33 and that includes the consideration of the factors required to be considered under subsections 16(1) and (2).

An assessment by a review panel may be used in instances where there is uncertainty about the project's environmental effects, where the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that can be justified, or public concerns warrant a reference to a review panel.

For French see examen par une commission

B

Biological diversity (biodiversity)

As defined in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, "biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, terrestrial and marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they form a part and includes the diversity within and between species and of ecosystems.

For French see diversité biologique ou biodiversité

C

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry (CEAR)

An information system established in accordance with the Act to facilitate public access to records relating to environmental assessments conducted under the Act or its regulations.

The Registry consists of an Internet site and a project file. The Registry must be maintained throughout the duration of an environmental assessment. The purpose of the Registry is to contain information about the conduct of environmental assessments, and to ensure that the information is accessible to the public in a timely and convenient manner.

For French see registre canadien d'évaluation environnementale

Class screening

A special type of screening that can help to streamline the environmental assessment process for certain classes of projects.

A class screening may be applied where the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has declared that certain types of projects are not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, providing that the design standards and mitigation measures described in the class screening report are applied.

There are two types of class screening: model class screening and replacement class screening.

For French see examen préalable type

Class screening report

A report that has been declared to be a class screening report by the Agency.

This may occur if projects of the class described in the report are not likely, in the opinion of the Agency, to cause significant adverse environmental effects when the design standards and mitigation measures described in the class screening report are applied.

For French see rapport d'examen préalable type

Community knowledge

Information held by community members, such as farmers, hunters, fishers and naturalists, who are familiar with the environment in a specific geographic area. Community knowledge may be used in the environmental assessment of a proposed project.

For example, fishermen in a specific area may know where the best "fishing spots" are, and therefore may contribute to identifying potential fish habitat.

For French see connaissances des collectivités

Compliance monitoring

A broad term for a type of monitoring conducted to verify whether a practice or procedure meets the applicable requirements prescribed by legislation, internal policies, accepted industry standards or specified terms and conditions (e.g., in an agreement, lease, permit, license or authorization).

Mitigation monitoring is one type of compliance monitoring.

For French see surveillance de la conformité

Comprehensive study

As defined in the Act, "comprehensive study" means an environmental assessment that is conducted pursuant to sections 21 and 21.1, and that includes a consideration of the factors required to be considered pursuant to subsections 16(1) and (2).

Comprehensive study is the type of environmental assessment conducted for projects that are likely to have significant adverse environmental effects. Such projects are prescribed in the Comprehensive Study List Regulations.

Also see comprehensive study list.

For French see étude approfondie

Comprehensive study list

As defined in the Act, "comprehensive study list" means a list of all projects or classes of projects that have been prescribed pursuant to regulations made under paragraph 58(1)(i).

The Comprehensive Study List Regulations prescribe certain projects and classes of projects that require a comprehensive study because they are likely to have significant adverse environmental effects.

Such projects will be subject to a comprehensive study unless they are referred to an assessment by a review panel or mediation.

For French see liste d'étude approfondie

Comprehensive study report

A report that summarizes the results of a comprehensive study and provides conclusions and recommendations.

A responsible authority shall ensure that a comprehensive study report is prepared and provided to the Minister of the Environment and to the Agency.

For French see rapport d'étude approfondie

Cooperative environmental assessment

See multi-jurisdictional environmental assessment.

For French see évaluation environnementale coopérative

Course of action

The action that a responsible authority may, or may not, take in relation to a project as a result of the environmental assessment decision.

For French see mesure à suivre

Critical habitat

As defined in the Species at Risk Act, "critical habitat" means the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species' critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.

For French see habitat essentiel

Cumulative environmental effects

The environmental effects that are likely to result from a project in combination with the environmental effects of other past, existing and future projects or activities.

The Act requires consideration of cumulative environmental effects in all types of environmental assessment.

For example, one might consider the effects of siltation on fish and fish habitat during construction in combination with the effects of local agriculture and fishing activities.

For French see effets environnementaux cumulatifs

D

Determination of significance

Taking into account the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, a conclusion about whether adverse environmental effects are likely to be significant.

The significance of adverse environmental effects is determined by a combination of scientific data, regulated thresholds, standards, social values and professional judgment. For example, the ecological context of a project may be a determinant of whether likely adverse effects are significant.

For French see détermination de l'importance

Direct effect

An environmental effect that is:

  • a change that a project may cause in the environment; or
  • change that the environment may cause to a project.

A direct effect is a consequence of a cause-effect relationship between a project and a specific environmental component.

For French see effet direct

E

Ecosystem

As defined in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, "ecosystem" means a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

For French see écosystème

Environment

As defined in the Act, "environment" means the components of the Earth, and includes:

  1. land, water and air, including all layers of the atmosphere,
  2. all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms, and
  3. the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

For French see environnement

Environmental assessment (EA)

As defined in the Act, "environmental assessment" means, in respect of a project, an assessment of the environmental effects of the project that is conducted in accordance with this Act and regulations.

Environmental assessment is a process for identifying project and environment interactions, predicting environmental effects, identifying mitigation measures, evaluating significance, reporting and following-up to verify accuracy and effectiveness.

Environmental assessment is used as a planning tool to help guide decision making, as well as project design and implementation.

For French see évaluation environnementale

Environmental assessment decision

The environmental assessment decision is based on the responsible authority's determination about the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects.

The environmental assessment decision is made based on the findings of the environmental assessment and any appropriate comments from the public. The decision determines the possible course of action that a responsible authority may take.

For French see décision d'évaluation environnementale

Environmental audit

A systematic approach to defining environmental risk and/or determining the conformance of an operation with respect to prescribed criteria.

An environmental audit typically involves a methodical examination that may include interviews, site visits, sampling, testing, analysis and verification of the practices and procedures of an existing operation. It is not conducted under the Act and has a purpose separate from an environmental assessment.

For French see vérification environnementale

Environmental component

Fundamental element of the physical, biological or socio-economic environment, including the air, water, soil, terrain, vegetation, wildlife, fish, birds and land use that may be affected by a proposed project, and may be individually assessed in the environmental assessment.

See also valued ecosystem component (VEC).

For French see composante environnementale

Environmental effect

As defined in the Act, "environmental effect" means, in respect of a project,

  1. any change that the project may cause in the environment, including any change it may cause to a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or the residences of individuals of that species, as those terms are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Species at Risk Act,
  2. any effect of any change referred to in paragraph (a) on
    1. health and socio-economic conditions,
    2. physical and cultural heritage,
    3. the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by aboriginal persons, or
    4. any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance, or any change to the project that may be caused by the environment;

whether any such change or effect occurs within or outside Canada.

For French see effets environnementaux

Environmental impact assessment (EIA)

See environmental assessment.

For French see évaluation des impacts environnementaux

Environmental impact statement (EIS)

A document that presents the findings of an environmental assessment.

This term is often used in the context of an assessment by a review panel and in the environmental assessment regimes of other jurisdictions.

For French see étude d'impact environnemental

Environmental management system (EMS)

Part of an organization's overall management practices related to environmental affairs. It includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining an environmental policy.

This approach is often formally carried out to meet the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14000 series.

For French see système de gestion de l'environnement

Environmental monitoring

Periodic or continuous surveillance or testing, according to a pre-determined schedule, of one or more environmental components.

Monitoring is usually conducted to determine the level of compliance with stated requirements, or to observe the status and trends of a particular environmental component over time.

For French see surveillance environnementale

Environmental protection plan (EPP)

A practical tool that describes the actions required to minimize environmental effects before, during and after project implementation.

The plan may include details about the implementation of the mitigation measures identified in the environmental assessment, such as who is responsible for implementation, where the measures are intended to be implemented, and within what timeframe.

For French see plan de protection de l'environnement

Environmental site assessment (ESA)

A systematic investigative process to characterize the environmental condition of a property. The purpose is typically to determine whether a particular property's soil or groundwater is, or may be, subject to contamination. If necessary, the process may include sampling and analysis to characterize and delineate the nature and extent of contamination at the site.

For French see évaluation environnementale de site

Exclusion list

As defined in the Act, "exclusion list" means a list of projects or classes of projects that have been exempted from the requirement to conduct an assessment by regulations made under paragraph 59(c) or (c.1).

Certain projects and classes of projects that are undertakings in relation to physical works are prescribed in the Exclusion List Regulations, if the environmental effects of those projects are insignificant. Projects and classes of projects listed in the Exclusion List Regulations do not require an environmental assessment.

For French see liste d'exclusion

Expert federal authority

A federal authority that, upon request from a responsible authority, a mediator or a review panel, has the obligation to make available any specialist or expert information or knowledge that it possesses with respect to a project.

This expertise can be used during any stage of the environmental assessment, from the commencement of the environmental assessment to the implementation of the mitigation measures or any follow-up program.

For French see autorité fédérale experte

F

Factors to be considered

Elements to be examined in an environmental assessment. Under section 16 of the Act, consideration of certain factors is mandatory depending on the type of environmental assessment.

Examples of factors include environmental effects of the project, significance of the environmental effects, public comments and technically and economically feasible mitigation measures, and any other relevant matter such as the need for the project and alternatives to the project.

For French see élements à examiner

Federal authority (FA)

As defined in the Act, "federal authority" means

  1. a Minister of the Crown in right of Canada,
  2. an agency of the Government of Canada or other body established by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament that is ultimately accountable through a Minister of the Crown in right of Canada to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs,
  3. any department or departmental corporation set out in Schedule I or II to the Financial Administration Act, and
  4. any other body that is prescribed pursuant to regulations made under paragraph 59(e);

but does not include:

  • the Legislature or an agency or body of Yukon or Nunavut,
  • the Commissioner in Council or an agency or body of the Northwest Territories,
  • a council of the band within the meaning of the Indian Act,
  • The Hamilton Harbour Commissioners constituted pursuant to The Hamilton Harbour Commissioners' Act,
  • The Toronto Harbour Commissioners constituted pursuant to The Toronto Harbour Commissioners' Act, 1911,
  • a harbour commission established pursuant to the Harbour Commissions Act,
  • a Crown corporation within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act,
  • a not-for-profit corporation that enters into an agreement under subsection 80(5) of the Canada Marine Act or a port authority established under that Act.

Note: This definition of federal authority will be replaced on June 11, 2006. The revised definition will, for example, add parent Crown corporations, and explicitly exclude Export Development Canada and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

For French see autorité fédérale

Federal coordination

Activities to ensure that an environmental assessment involves the appropriate federal authorities and other parties and that the participation of all parties is carried out in a manner that is efficient, coordinated and cooperative.

For French see coordination fédérale

Federal environmental assessment coordinator (FEAC)

A role established under the Act with the mandate to coordinate the participation of federal authorities among themselves, and with any other persons, bodies or jurisdictions, using specific duties and powers outlined in the Act.

The role applies to screenings and comprehensive studies. A responsible authority assumes this role for federal-only screenings unless there is an agreement that the Agency will do so. The Agency assumes the role for comprehensive studies and multi-jurisdictional screenings unless there is an agreement that a responsible authority will do so.

For French see coordonnateur fédéral de l'évaluation environnementale

Federal environmental assessment index (FEAI)

An electronic listing of environmental assessments conducted by responsible authorities under the 1995 edition version of the Act.

This index has beenwas replaced by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry on October 30, 2003.

For French see index fédéral des évaluations environnementales

Federal lands

As defined in the Act, "federal lands" means

  1. lands that belong to Her Majesty in right of Canada, or that Her Majesty in right of Canada has the power to dispose of, and all waters on and airspace above those lands, other than lands under the administration and control of the Commissioner of Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut
  2. the following lands and areas, namely,
    1. the internal waters of Canada,
    2. the territorial sea of Canada,
    3. the exclusive economic zone of Canada, and
    4. the continental shelf of Canada, and
  3. reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and are subject to the Indian Act, and all waters on and airspace above those reserves or lands.

For French see territoire domanial

Federal project committee

A committee that may be established and chaired by the federal environmental assessment coordinator to coordinate the participation of federal authorities among themselves, and with any other persons, bodies or jurisdictions.

The committee is composed of the federal environmental assessment coordinator and the federal authorities that are, or may be, a responsible authority for the project and those that are, or may be an expert federal authority.

For French see comité fédéral chargé du projet

Federal support for a project

The exercise of a power, duty, or function by a federal authority to enable a project to be carried out, in whole or in part. An environmental assessment is required before a federal authority exercises one of the powers or performs one of the duties or functions described in section 5.

Also see trigger.

For French see appui du gouvernement fédéral à un projet

Federal-only environmental assessment

An environmental assessment of a project under the Act where the project is not subject to an assessment by another jurisdiction.

For French see évaluation environnementale strictement fédérale

Follow-up program

As defined in the Act, "follow-up program" means a program for

  1. verifying the accuracy of the environmental assessment of a project, and
  2. determining the effectiveness of any measures taken to mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the project.

For French see programme de suivi

I

Inclusion list

A list of physical activities and classes of physical activities, not relating to physical works, which are specifically identified for the purpose of the definition of " project" in the Act.

The Inclusion List Regulations made under paragraph 59(b) of the Act prescribe physical activities and classes of physical activities not relating to physical works that require an environmental assessment because they have the potential to result in adverse environmental effects.

Examples in the Inclusion List Regulations include dredging a river, remediatingon of contaminated land, and and removing timber removal from a forest in a national park.

For French see liste d'inclusion

Indirect effect

A secondary environmental effect that occurs as a result of a change that a project may cause in the environment. An indirect effect is at least one step removed from a project activity in terms of cause-effect linkages.

For instance, a river diversion for the construction of a hydro power plant could directly result in the destruction of fish habitat causing a decline in fish population. A decline in fish population could result in closure of an outfitting operation causing loss of jobs. Thus, the river diversion could indirectly cause the loss of jobs.

For French see effet indirect

Interested party

As defined in the Act, "interested party" means, in respect of an environmental assessment, any person or body having an interest in the outcome of the environmental assessment for a purpose that is neither frivolous nor vexatious.

For French see partie intéressée

J

Joint review panel

A review panel established jointly between the Minister of the Environment and another jurisdiction under subsections 40(2) and (3) of the Act that has powers, duties or functions in relation to the assessment of the environmental effects of the project.

Where the referral of a project to an assessment by a review panel is required or permitted under the Act, the Minister of the Environment may enter into an agreement or arrangement with another jurisdiction respecting the joint establishment of a review panel and the manner in which the environmental assessment of the project is to be conducted by the review panel.

For French see commission d'examen conjoint

Jurisdiction

As defined in subsection 12(5) of the Act, "jurisdiction" means

  1. the government of a province;
  2. an agency or a body that is established pursuant to the legislation of a province and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a project;
  3. a body that is established pursuant to a land claims agreement referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a project; or
  4. a governing body that is established pursuant to legislation that relates to the self-government of Indians and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a project.

    Note: The definition of jurisdiction differs for joint review panels. For that definition, please refer to subsection 40(1) of the Act.

For French see instance

L

Law list

A list that identifies provisions of federal acts and regulations that confer powers, duties or functions on federal authorities or on the Governor in Council. The exercise of any of the powers, duties or functions prescribed in the Law List Regulations with respect to a project requires an environmental assessment of that project.

Examples of items in the Law List Regulations include authorizations under the Fisheries Act, permit applications under the Explosives Act, and leases under the Indian Act.

For French see liste des dispositions législatives et réglementaires désignées

M

Mediation

As defined in the Act, "mediation" means an environmental assessment that is conducted with the assistance of a mediator appointed pursuant to section 30 and that includes a consideration of the factors required to be considered under subsections 16(1) and (2).

For French see médiation

Mediation report

A report prepared by a mediator at the conclusion of a mediation. It is submitted to the Minister of the Environment and the responsible authority(ies).

For French see rapport du médiateur

Mediator

A mediator may be any person, appointed by the Minister of the Environment after consultations with the RA and all interested parties, that is unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to the project, and has knowledge or experience in acting as a mediator.

For French see médiateur

Mitigation

As defined in the Act, "mitigation" means, in respect of a project, the elimination, reduction or control of the adverse environmental effects of the project, and includes restitution for any damage to the environment caused by such effects through replacement, restoration, compensation or any other means.

For French see mesures d'atténuation

Mitigation monitoring

A type of monitoring program that may be used to verify that mitigation measures were properly implemented and that such measures effectively mitigate the predicted adverse environmental effects.

For French see surveillance des mesures d'atténuation

Model class screening

A type of class screening that provides a generic assessment of all projects within an identified class.

Once a model class screening is declared by the Agency, a responsible authority may use information contained in a model class screening report to prepare individual screening reports for projects within the class to account for location-specific or project-specific information. The purpose is to provide a model for streamlining the screening required under the Act.

For French see modèle d'examen préalable

Multi-jurisdictional environmental assessment

An environmental assessment of a project under the Act where the project is also subject to an assessment by another jurisdiction.

For French see évaluation environnementale touchant plusieurs instances

P

Panel report

A report prepared by a review panel that sets out

  1. the rationale, conclusions and recommendations of the panel relating to the environmental assessment of the project, including any mitigation measures and follow-up program, and
  2. a summary of any comments received from the public.

The report is submitted to the Minister of the Environment and the responsible authority(ies).

For French see rapport de la commission d'examen

Participant Funding Program

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers a Participant Funding Program to provide limited financial assistance to individuals, incorporated not-for-profit organizations and Aboriginal groups to help prepare for and participate in key stages of environmental assessments undertaken by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency or by review panels.

For French see programme d'aide financière aux participants

Physical activity

Any proposed activity not relating to a physical work.

Such an activity is identified as a project for the purposes of the Act if it is explicitly listed in the Inclusion List Regulations.

For French see activité concrète

Physical work

Any thing that has been or will be constructed (human-made) and has a fixed location.

Examples include a bridge, building or pipeline. Natural water bodies, airplanes and ships at sea are not physical works.

For French see ouvrage

Practitioner

A person directly involved in some aspect of the conduct or direction of an environmental assessment. A practitioner could be a proponent, a consultant, a representative of the government or have some other affiliation.

For French see practicien

Prescribed federal authority

Any body other than the government of a province, designated by regulations made under the Act to be a federal authority.

For example, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board are prescribed as federal authorities under the Federal Authorities Regulations.

For French see autorité fédérale désignée

Project

As defined in the Act, "project" means:

  1. in relation to a physical work, any proposed construction, operation, modification, decommissioning, abandonment or other undertaking in relation to that physical work, or
  2. any proposed physical activity not relating to a physical work that is prescribed or is within a class of physical activities that is prescribed pursuant to regulations made under paragraph 59(b) (i.e., the Inclusion List Regulations).

For French see projet

Project description

As defined in the Federal Coordination Regulations, "project description" means any information in relation to a project that includes, at least:

  1. a summary description of the project;
  2. information indicating the location of the project and the areas potentially affected by the project;
  3. to the extent possible, a summary description of the physical and biological environments within the areas potentially affected by the project; and
  4. the mailing address, e-mail address and phone number of a contact person who can provide additional information about the project.

The project description should provide sufficient information for a federal authority to determine whether it has a decision-making responsibility that triggers the need for an assessment of the project.

For French see description de projet

Project outside Canada

For the purposes of the Act and its regulations, projects to be carried out outside Canada and outside any federal lands.

For example, if the Canadian International Development Agency proposed to fund the construction of a school in a rural area of the Congo, the construction would be considered a "project outside Canada".

Whereas, if the Department of Foreign Affairs proposed the construction of a Canadian embassy on federally owned lands outside Canada, the construction would not be considered a "project outside Canada" because it would be on Canadian soil.

For French see projets à l'étranger

Proponent

As defined by the Act, "proponent", in respect of a project, means the person, body, federal authority or government that proposes the project.

For French see promoteur

Protected areas

As defined by the World Conservation Union, a protected area is:

An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.

For French see aires protégées

Q

Quality Assurance Program (QAP)

A mandatory, Agency-led program designed to facilitate continuous improvement in the quality of environmental assessments conducted under the Act. The Program applies to all federal departments and agencies, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, as well as to all entities that are regulated under the Act.

For French see programme d'assurance de la qualité

R

Record

As defined by the Act, "record" includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine readable record, and any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof.

For French see document

Regional study

A study of the environmental effects of possible future projects in a region. Such a study is usually conducted outside the scope of the Act.

The results of a regional study may be taken into account in conducting an environmental assessment of a project in the region, particularly in considering any cumulative environmental effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out.

For French see étude régionale

Registry

As defined by the Act, "registry" means the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry established under section 55.

For French see registre

Regulated authority

An entity, referred to in sections 8 to 10 of the Act, for which regulations have been made regarding the manner in which environmental assessments are to be conducted. Such an entity has the responsibility to ensure that environmental assessments are conducted and is neither a federal authority nor prescribed federal authority.

For example, environmental assessment requirements for the Canada Port Authorities are set out in the Canada Port Authority Environmental Assessment Regulations.

For French see autorité réglementée

Replacement class screening

A type of class screening that provides a generic assessment of all projects within an identified class.

Once a replacement class screening is declared by the Agency, no further location-specific or project-specific information is needed, so a responsible authority does not need to prepare a project-specific screening report for a project covered by the replacement class screening.

For French see examen préalable substitut

Residence

As defined in the Species at Risk Act, "residence" means a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating.

For French see résidence

Residual environmental effect

An environmental effect that remains, or is predicted to remain, even after mitigation measures have been applied.

For French see effet environnemental résiduel

Responsible authority (RA)

As defined by the Act, "responsible authority", in relation to a project, means a federal authority that is required pursuant to subsection 11(1) to ensure that an environmental assessment of the project is conducted.

When a federal authority becomes responsible for ensuring that an environmental assessment of the project is conducted in accordance with the Act, the federal authority is called a responsible authority.

For French see autorité responsable

Review panel

A panel whose members are appointed by the Minister of the Environment, in consultation with the responsible authority(ies), for the purpose of conducting an assessment by a review panel.

A review panel is comprised of members who are unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to a project and who have knowledge or experience relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project.

For French see commission d'examen

S

Scope of the assessment

The boundaries of the environment assessment study.

The scope of the assessment should be based on:

  • the components that define the project and the environment to be assessed (scope of the project);
  • the factors to be considered in the environmental assessment as described in section 16 of the Act; and
  • the scope of the factors to be taken into consideration (scope of the factors).

For French see portée de l'évaluation

Scope of the factors

The extent to which the factors listed in the Act, and other factors that are considered to be appropriate, need to be considered in the environmental assessment.

The scope of the factors identifies the geographical, spatial and temporal boundaries of the analysis.

For French see portée des éléments

Scope of the project

The components of a proposed undertaking relating to a physical work, or a proposed physical activity not relating to a physical work, that are determined to be part of the project for the purposes of the environmental assessment.

For French see portée du projet

Scoping

An activity that focuses the assessment on relevant issues and concerns and establishes the boundaries of the environmental assessment.

For French see détermination de la portée

Screening

As defined by the Act, "screening" means an environmental assessment that is conducted pursuant to section 18 and that includes a consideration of the factors set out in subsection 16(1).

A screening is a self-assessment type of environmental assessment that is usually conducted for projects that are not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The screening process systematically evaluates and documents the anticipated environmental effects of a proposed project and determines the need to modify the project plan or recommend further mitigation to eliminate or minimize the adverse environmental effects.

For French see examen préalable

Screening report

As defined by the Act, "screening report" means a report that summarizes the results of a screening.

A screening report usually contains a description of the project, the scope of project and assessment, and identification of the environmental effects, proposed mitigation measures, and the likely significance of the residual effects. It can also contain information on the analysis methodology, the public participation methods and results and the follow-up program, if appropriate.

For French see rapport d'examen préalable

Self-assessment

A principle that means that a federal authority that must exercise one of the powers or performs one of the duties or functions in respect of a project is also responsible for ensuring that the environmental assessment is carried out. This principle applies to screenings.

Self-assessment is also commonly called "self-directed environmental assessment".

For French see autoévaluation

Species at risk

As defined by the Species at Risk Act, "species at risk" means an extirpated, endangered or threatened species or a species of special concern.

For French see espèce en péril

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA)

The systematic and comprehensive process of evaluating the environmental effects of a policy, plan or program and its alternatives, as described in The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

For French see évaluation environnementale stratégique

Sustainable development (SD)

As defined in the Act, "sustainable development" means development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

For French see développement durable

T

Track decision

A determination made by the Minister of the Environment early in the comprehensive study process regarding whether a project may continue to be assessed by means of a comprehensive study, or should instead be referred to a mediation or an assessment by a review panel.

For French see décision concernant le processus d'évaluation environnementale

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)

A body of knowledge built up by a group of people through generations of living in close contact with nature.

Also see aboriginal traditional knowledge.

For French see connaissances traditionnelles écologiques

Transboundary environment effects

Environmental effects which occur across provincial or international boundaries, or boundaries between federal and non- federal lands.

For French see effet environnemental transfrontalier

Trigger

Circumstances obliging a prescribed body or a federal authority to ensure that an environmental assessment is conducted under the Act or its regulations.

Under subsection 5(1) of the Act there are four types of federal support or triggers that oblige a federal authority to ensure that an environmental assessment of the project is conducted before irrevocable decisions are made.

For French see déclencheur

U

Undertaking

An activity in the life-cycle of a physical work. This concept is used for the purpose of defining projects under the Act.

Examples in particular include construction, operation, modification, decommissioning and abandonment of a physical work.

For French see réalisation

V

Valued ecosystem component (VEC)

The environmental element of an ecosystem that is identified as having scientific, social, cultural, economic, historical, archaeological or aesthetic importance.

The value of an ecosystem component may be determined on the basis of cultural ideals or scientific concern. Valued ecosystem components that have the potential to interact with project components should be included in the assessment of environmental effects.

For French see composante valorisée de l'écosystème

W

Work plan

A tool used to guide the conduct and management of an environmental assessment. The primary uses of the work plan are to document any planning assumptions and decisions, to facilitate communication among responsible and federal authorities, and to document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines for the environmental assessment.

For French see plan de travail

Part 3. Acronyms

The following is a list of commonly used environmental assessment related acronyms and their full terms.

AAC

Aboriginal Advisory Committee

AQÉI

Association québécoise pour l'évaluation d'impacts (Québec Association for Impact Assessment)

ATIP

Access to Information and Privacy

ATK

Aboriginal traditional knowledge

CCME

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment

CEAA 1

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

CEAR

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry

CEARIS

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet site

CSR

Comprehensive study report

EA

Environmental assessment

EARP

Environmental Assessment and Review Process

EARPGO

Environmental Assessment and Review Process Guidelines Order

EIA

Environmental impact assessment

EIS

Environmental impact statement

EMS

Environmental management system

EPP

Environmental protection plan

ESA

Environmental site assessment

FA

Federal authority

FCR

Federal Coordination Regulations

FEAC

Federal environmental assessment coordinator

FEAI

Federal Environmental Assessment Index

FEARO

Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office

IAIA

International Association for Impact Assessment

IAP2

International Association for Public Participation

ISO

International Organization for Standardization

IUCN

World Conservation Union 2

JBNQA

James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement

MCSR

Model class screening report

MVEIRB

Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board

MVRMA

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act

OAIA

Ontario Association for Impact Assessment

OPS

Operational policy statement

PEAT

Project, Exclusion, (Federal) Authority, Trigger

PFP

Participant Funding Program

POC

Project outside Canada

QAP

Quality Assurance Program

RA

Responsible authority

RAC

Regulatory Advisory Committee

RCSR

Replacement Class Screening Report

REAC

Regional environmental assessment committee

RSEA

Regional strategic environmental assessment

SARA

Species at Risk Act

SD

Sustainable development

SEA

Strategic environmental assessment

SIA

Social impact assessment

SIFÉE

Secrétariat international francophone pour l'évaluation environnementale (International French Secretariat for Environmental Assessment)

SMCEA

Senior Management Committee for Environmental Assessment

TEK

Traditional ecological knowledge

VEC

Valued ecosystem component


1 The acronym CEAA may also be used in reference to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, however, the short form "the Agency" is more commonly used in order to avoid confusion.

2 Formerly the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; in 1990, the name was changed to the World Conservation Union, but the acronym IUCN was kept.

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