Phase 3: Impact Assessment

Phase 3: Impact Assessment

Roles and Responsibilities

The Proponent
  • Provides clarifications to the Agency or Review Panel as required
  • Participates in public engagement sessions
  • Participates in consultations with Indigenous groups
  • Participates in the public hearing, where applicable
  • Provides comments on potential conditions
The Agency
  • Sets time limits
  • Leads consultation with Indigenous peoples implements the Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan
  • Leads public engagement sessions and implements the Public Participation Plan
  • Administers the Participant Funding Program
  • Conducts analysis on the Proponent's Impact Statement
  • Collaborates, engages and consults with federal authorities and provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdictions
  • May engage the Proponent to seek clarifications or ask questions
  • May initiate an Independent Science Review, if required
  • Ensures that any portion of the assessment delegated to provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdiction adheres to the Agency's process and quality requirements
  • Considers information and evidence received
  • Works with knowledge holders to understand and apply Indigenous knowledge as part of the analysis, when provided
  • Prepares the draft Impact Assessment Report
  • Prepares draft potential conditions
  • Prepares draft Consultation Report
  • May co-develop with Indigenous groups sections of the draft Impact Assessment Report, draft potential conditions and/or draft Consultation Report relevant to the groups
  • Revises draft documents, as necessary, to reflect engagement, consultation and public comments
  • Submits the Impact Assessment Report and Consultation Report to the Minister
  • Recommends to the Minister the potential conditions that may form part of the Decision Statement
  • Posts documents to the Registry

In the case of a Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel:

  • Sets time limits
  • Appoints panel members
  • Leads consultation with Indigenous peoples
  • Develops the Review Panel's draft Terms of Reference and accepts comments on the draft Terms of Reference
  • Develops the Joint Review Panel Agreement, when applicable, and accepts comments on the draft Joint Review Panel Agreement
  • Engages on draft documents prior to the establishment of the Review Panel and following the submission of the Review Panel's Report
  • Assigns a secretariat to work separately from the Government to support the Review Panel
  • Administers the Participant Funding Program
  • Develops and engages potential conditions
  • Prepares and consults Indigenous groups on the Crown Consultation Report
  • Posts documents to the Registry
Review Panel Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel
  • Conducts the impact assessment, including assessing the information, analysis and results in the Impact Statement
  • Considers the evidence provided by federal authorities and provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdictions
  • Engages Indigenous groups and the public
  • Initiates an Independent Science Review, if required
  • Holds public hearings
  • Prepares the Impact Assessment Report
  • Recommends potential conditions, potential mitigation measures and follow-up programs
  • Submits Impact Assessment Report to the Minister
  • Ensures information is posted on the Registry
Public Public
  • Reviews and provide comments on draft documents
  • Participates in engagement activities
  • Participates in public hearings
  • May contribute community knowledge
Indigenous Groups Indigenous Groups
  • May contribute Indigenous knowledge
  • Provide input into the assessment process
  • Review and provide comments on draft documents
  • Participate in engagement and consultation activities
  • Participate in public hearings
  • May co-develop with the Agency sections of the draft Impact Assessment Report, potential conditions and/or draft Consultation Report relevant to the groups
Expert Federal Departments Expert Federal Departments
  • Review the Impact Statement in detail and examines the information, analysis and results relevant to their respective mandates
  • Provide expert advice on the Impact Statement
  • Participate in and support Crown consultation with Indigenous groups
  • Participate in public participation
  • Participate in public hearings
  • Provide expert advice to support the development of the Impact Assessment Report and potential conditions
Other Jurisdictions (Provincial, Territorial or Indigenous) Other Jurisdictions (Provincial, Territorial or Indigenous)
  • Collaborate with the Agency or Review Panel to conduct a harmonized or joint process, where possible
  • Participate in Indigenous and public engagement
  • Participate in public hearings
  • Provide input and advice into the assessment process
Lifecycle Regulator (in the case of integrated Review Panels)
  • Participates in consultations with Indigenous peoples
  • Collaborates on the development of the Review Panel's Terms of Reference and accepts comments on the draft Terms of Reference
  • Collaborates on the development of the Joint Review Panel Agreement, when applicable, and accepts comments on the draft Joint Review Panel Agreement
  • Assigns a secretariat to work separately from the Government to support the Review Panel
  • Collaborates on the development of potential conditions

Step by Step

Impact Assessment by the Agency

  1. Once the Agency posts the Notice of Determination on its Footnote Registry Internet Site (the Registry) that it is satisfied that the Footnote Impact Statement contains all of the required information and studies outlined in the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines, the time limit of up to 300 days begins.
  2. When a designated project requires an impact assessment by another jurisdiction, including provincial, territorial or Indigenous jurisdictions, the Agency offers to consult and cooperate with the other jurisdiction(s) for the conduct of the impact assessment and implements the Impact Assessment Cooperation Plan developed in the planning phase.
  3. Federal authorities that may be in possession of specialist or expert information or knowledge continue their analysis of the Impact Statement relevant to their respective mandates. Federal authorities provide their expert advice on the Proponent's Impact Statement to the Agency. This advice is posted to the Registry.
  4. The Agency continues its analysis on the Impact Statement and considers comments received.
  5. The Agency may engage the Proponent to seek clarifications, resolve issues or to ask questions on the Impact Statement.
  6. The Agency continues to consult Indigenous groups and implement the Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan developed in the planning phase.
  7. The Agency continues to engage the public and implement the Public Engagement Plan developed in the planning phase.
  8. The Agency may hold public meetings or open houses to allow Indigenous groups, stakeholders and the public to participate in the impact assessment process. These events are also opportunities for the public to ask questions of the Proponent, the Agency and federal expert departments.
  9. If required, the Agency can initiate an Footnote Independent Science Review. The Agency would select independent experts and develop science questions to pose to the experts. The independent experts would produce a report that will be considered by the Agency when developing the Impact Assessment Report. The Agency will review any comments received from the Proponent, stakeholders and Indigenous groups on the report so that they are considered in the development of the Impact Assessment Report.
  10. The Agency develops the draft Footnote Impact Assessment Report. In preparing its analysis, the Agency considers the information and evidence provided by the Proponent, expert federal departments, Indigenous groups, the public and other jurisdictions, including provincial, territorial and Indigenous.
  11. The Agency prepares draft potential Footnote conditions.
  12. The Agency develops a Footnote Consultation Report and consults Indigenous groups on the document.
  13. The Agency may co-develop or collaborate on some sections of the Impact Assessment Report, draft potential conditions and Consultation Report with Indigenous groups.
  14. The Agency seeks views on the draft Impact Assessment Report and draft potential conditions.
  15. The Agency considers the comments received in order to finalize the Impact Assessment Report and potential conditions.
  16. The Agency provides the Impact Assessment Report, Consultation Report and recommended potential conditions to the Minister.

Substituted Impact Assessment

  1. If the Impact Assessment is substituted to a provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdiction in the planning phase, the assessment would be conducted by that jurisdiction.
  2. The Agency and expert federal departments are given the opportunity to participate in the process (e.g. participation in a technical working group, provision of advice, etc.)
  3. The Agency may participate in Crown consultation with Indigenous groups.
  4. The Agency develops draft potential conditions for the Federal Decision Statement. The public and Indigenous groups have an opportunity to comment on these draft conditions.
  5. The Impact Assessment Report produced by the other jurisdiction, the Consultation Report and the recommended potential conditions are provided to the Minister.

Impact Assessment by Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel

  1. For both Review Panels and Footnote Integrated Review Panels, the Agency leads Crown consultation with Indigenous groups and implements the Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan developed in the planning phase. This may include direct consultation by the Agency with Indigenous groups, in addition to participation by Indigenous groups in the Review Panel process.
    • In the case of Integrated Review Panels, the lifecycle regulator will participate in consultations with Indigenous groups.
  2. When a designated project requires an assessment by another jurisdiction, including provincial, territorial or Indigenous, the Minister may enter into an agreement or arrangement with the other jurisdiction for the conduct of the impact assessment. In this case, the Agency, in consultation with the relevant jurisdiction, develops and engages on the Footnote Joint Review Panel Agreement. The Agency engages and invites comments on the document.
  3. The Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel will conduct its analysis on the information and studies provided in the Proponent's Impact Statement.
  4. The Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel will engage with the Proponent, expert federal departments, Indigenous groups, the public and other jurisdictions, including provinces, territories and Indigenous, on the Impact Statement. The Impact Statement is posted on the Registry and comments are invited on the document.
  5. Federal authorities review the Impact Statement in detail and examine the information, analysis and results relevant to their respective mandates. Federal authorities provide their expert advice on the Proponent's Impact Statement to the Agency. This advice is posted to the Registry.
  6. The Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel holds a Footnote public hearing when the panel determines that it has sufficient information.
  7. The need may arise for the Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel to retain the services of independent, non-government experts to provide advice or support in delivering on its mandate, where that expertise is not available from expert federal departments or other government agencies. All requested information provided by independent, non-governmental experts will be posted on the Registry.
  8. If required, the Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel can initiate an Independent Science Review. The Panel would select independent experts and develop science questions to be posed to the experts. The independent experts produce a Report that will be considered by the Panel when developing the Impact Assessment Report.
  9. Upon completion of the public hearing and the close of the record, the Review Panel or Integrated Review Panel prepares and submits to the Minister the Footnote Impact Assessment Report that contains the Review Panel's rationale, conclusions and recommendations, including recommendations for conditions.
    • In the case of Integrated Review Panels, the report will include recommendations on potential conditions and will address the requirements of both the Impact Assessment Act and the relevant provisions of the legislation of the lifecycle regulator.
  10. The Agency prepares draft potential conditions based on the Panel's recommendation. The Agency engages and invites comments on the draft potential conditions.
  11. The Agency prepares a Consultation Report that documents the outcomes of the Crown consultation process. The Agency will consult Indigenous groups on the relevant sections of the draft Report.
  12. The Agency submits the Consultation Report and potential conditions to the Minister.

FAQ

1. What does an Impact Assessment consider?

Whether conducted by the Agency or Review Panel, impact assessments must take into account key elements set out in the Impact Assessment Act. The interactions and effects of the relevant factors are described in an Impact Assessment Report. The factors to be considered include:

  • Changes, both negative and positive, to the environment, health, social or economic conditions as well as the effects of malfunctions and accidents, cumulative effects and interactions between effects.
  • Mitigation measures that are technical and economically feasible
  • The impact that the project may have on any Indigenous group or the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada
  • Purpose of and need for the project
  • Alternative means of carrying out the project
  • Alternatives to the designated project
  • Indigenous knowledge provided
  • Considerations related to Indigenous cultures
  • Any assessment of the effects of a designated project that is conducted by or on behalf of an Indigenous governing body
  • Extent to which the project contributes to sustainability
  • Extent to which the project affects the Government of Canada's ability to meet its environmental obligations and commitments related to climate change
  • Any change to the designated project that may be caused by the environment
  • The requirements of the follow-up program
  • Community knowledge
  • Comments received from the public
  • Comments from another provincial, territorial or Indigenous jurisdiction
  • Any relevant regional or strategic assessment
  • Any study or plan that is conducted or prepared by a jurisdiction that is in respect of a region related to the designated project
  • The intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors
  • Any other matter relevant to the impact assessment that the Agency requires to be taken into account
2. What is the Agency or Review Panel assessing in the review of the Impact Statement?

Examples of questions that the Agency or Review Panel will ask when reviewing the Impact Statement include:

  • Are effects predictions well founded?
  • Are the mitigation measures and follow-up program appropriate and likely to function as designed?
  • Are the proposed mitigation measures sufficient to reduce the likelihood of potential adverse effects of the designated project?
3. How will the Agency and provincial, territorial or Indigenous jurisdictions work together to achieve "one project, one review"?

A spectrum of cooperation mechanisms are used to achieve "one project, one review." If another jurisdiction's process allows, and to the extent possible, the Agency endeavours to collaborate and avoid process duplication by taking into consideration the following tools when conducting an impact assessment:

  • Cooperation Agreements: An agreement between the Government of Canada and a jurisdiction to provide a framework for cooperation when the federal assessment process and that of the other jurisdiction apply to the same project. The agreement sets out the principles and mechanisms for a cooperative assessment and describes the roles and responsibilities of the parties.
  • Cooperative Assessments: A single, jointly implemented process that satisfies the requirements of all jurisdictions involved. This could include asking the Proponent for single set of information, jointly administering the process, coordinating information requirements, coordinating public participation and Crown consultation with Indigenous groups, and more. Federal time limits could be adjusted for the purpose of aligning with the other jurisdiction's process.
  • Delegation: The Agency can delegate all or a part of the federal assessment process to another jurisdiction. The Agency would ensure that the requirements of the federal process are met and the Minister or Governor in Council (the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) would retain decision-making power.
  • Substitution: The Minister could approve the substitution of the assessment process of another jurisdiction for the federal process. The Minister's decision to allow substitution would be made before the end of the planning phase. In a substituted assessment, the other jurisdiction would commit to satisfying the conditions set out in the Impact Assessment Act. The Minister or Governor in Council (the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) would retain decision-making power.
  • Joint Review Panels: Review Panels can be established in cooperation with another jurisdiction to conduct an impact assessment. A Joint Review Panel Agreement would be established between the Minister and the other jurisdiction outlining the review process and the terms of reference for the Joint Review Panel. The Joint Review Panel would meet the process requirements of both jurisdictions. The Joint Review Panel's Impact Assessment Report including rationale, conclusions and recommendations, would be submitted to both jurisdictions. Federal time limits could be adjusted for the purpose of aligning with the other jurisdiction's process.
4. Can the Agency establish time limits for the impact assessment?

Before the commencement of the impact assessment, the Agency may establish a longer time limit for the impact assessment to allow the Agency to cooperate with a provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdiction or for project-specific circumstances. The Agency may also establish shorter time limit for any reason that it considers appropriate. The reasons for establishing a new time limit are posted on the Registry.

5. What is an Integrated Review Panel?

Impact assessments of projects involving lifecycle regulators, including the Canadian Energy Regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or offshore petroleum boards, would be conducted by Integrated Review Panels. The single, integrated assessment would be conducted through a panel review process and would fulfill, to the extent possible, the requirements of relevant Acts. Lifecycle regulators would participate in all stages of the impact assessment to provide expertise. The Agency would appoint panel members, with at least one panel member from the roster of the lifecycle regulator.

6. What is a Review Panel Secretariat?

A Review Panel Secretariat supports the conduct of an Impact Assessment by a Review Panel and comprises staff from the Agency. In the case of a Joint Review Panel, staff from any provincial, territorial, or Indigenous jurisdiction may also be part of the secretariat. In the case of an Integrated Review Panel, staff from the lifecycle regulator are part of the secretariat

The secretariat provides administrative, technical and procedural support to Review Panels, Joint Review Panels and Integrated Review Panels. The secretariat supports the Review Panel in conducting its review in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The Agency ensures that all other activities performed by Agency staff while assigned to the secretariat are conducted in a way to avoid a conflict of interest with the Review Panel. The work of the Secretariat staff is separated from the rest of the Government by an ethical wall. This means the Secretariat staff work at the direction of the Review Panel and do not communicate with the Agency or any jurisdiction regarding the deliberations of the Review Panel.

7. How are Review Panel members selected?

Review Panel members must be unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to the designated project and must have knowledge or experience relevant to the designated project's anticipated effects or have knowledge of the interests and concerns of the Indigenous peoples of Canada that are relevant to the assessment. The Review Panel chairperson is appointed by the Agency.

Potential members of a Review Panel may be selected from a roster of candidates established by the Minister or may be identified for the purpose of the specific project. The Agency identifies potential candidates and conducts interviews to identify relevant knowledge and expertise and any potential bias or conflict of interest. Once the membership of the Review Panel has been decided by the Agency, panel appointments are made public and notification is posted on the Registry.

In the case of Integrated Review Panels with lifecycle regulators, at least one panel member must be selected from the lifecycle regulator's roster on the recommendation of the lifecycle regulator. The panel members from the roster of the lifecycle regulator cannot form the majority of the Review Panel.

8. What types of hearing sessions can a Review Panel may hold?

Types of hearing sessions may include:

  • Community hearing sessions: Encourages the full and open participation of people living in or adjacent to the project area and provides a more informal setting in which community members are able to make presentations to the Review Panel on any matters within the scope of the review and present community knowledge or Indigenous knowledge.
  • General hearing sessions: Provides an opportunity for participants and the Proponent to make presentations to the Review Panel on both the technical and non-technical subjects that are within the scope of the review. They also provide the opportunity for participants to question the information submitted during the review process.
  • Technical hearing sessions: Allows participants who possess specialized knowledge or expertise in a specific topic to present the results of their analysis of the potential environmental and other effects of the designated project to the Review Panel. They also allow for scrutiny of the designated projects by participants who have conducted a technical review of the project. This may include participants who have hired technical experts to assist them with their review.
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