Terms of Reference


The Minister’s Advisory Council will provide the Minister of Environment and Climate Change with advice on issues related to the implementation of the impact assessment, regional and strategic assessment regimes set out under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA).

The mandate of the Council is to provide non-political advice to the Minister on the implementation of the impact assessment regime in relation to the purposes set out for it in section 6 of the IAA.

In carrying out its mandate, the Council will review how effectively the new regime is:

The Council will focus its advice to the Minister on the governance of the regime, the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes established under the IAA and implemented by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, and will provide advice with respect to regional and strategic assessments to be given priority. 

The Council will respond to requests or priority areas identified by the Minister.

Biennial Report

The Council must produce a report for the Minister every two years, with the first report to be submitted in June 2021. The report must include a summary of all advice the Council provided to the Minister over the reporting period. The report must be provided to the Minister in both official languages. The Minister will table the report in both Houses of Parliament and will provide comments to the Council within 90 days of receipt of the report.

Membership Selection Process

Members of the Council will serve as knowledgeable individuals in their own right and in their personal capacity in the best interests of Canadians. They will not represent their firms, organizations, or professional affiliations.


The Council will be comprised of accomplished Canadians, with diverse and varied backgrounds relevant to impact assessment, governance and public interest decision making. The Council membership will represent a distribution of experience from across groups engaged in the impact assessment regime to ensure a balance of perspectives are represented.

The Council will be composed of between 7 and 12 members, including the Chair. The President of the Agency will also participate in Council meetings as an ex-officio non-voting member. Pursuant to subsection 117(3) of the IAA, the membership of the Council will include at least one member recommended by each of a First Nations, Inuit and Métis entity or governing body.

Selection Process and Tenure

The Minister will appoint members following an open, transparent and merit-based selection process designed to ensure a balance of expertise and representation. The term for initial member appointments will be evenly divided between terms of two and four years, with all future appointments occurring every two years, for a four-year term.

The Chair is selected and appointed by the Minister.

Selected members will confirm acceptance of their appointment by returning a signed acceptance letter to the Secretariat.

Conflict of Interest

Members are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and provide advice exclusively in their personal capacity; the use of their positions cannot be reasonably construed to be for their private gain or that of any other person, company, or organization. Members are required to avoid real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest, and are expected to recuse themselves on issues, where necessary. A member’s recusal from a discussion will be recorded in the meeting minutes. In the spirit of transparency, should any recusal become relevant to the report for the Minister, it will be noted in the report.

Member Replacement Process

In the event that a member can no longer fulfill their role for any reason, the member must advise the Minister, in writing, of their resignation, providing a minimum notice of four weeks. To maintain a membership of between 7 and 12 members, the Minister will take appropriate action to replace the member using an open and transparent appointment process.

Member Termination Process

The Minister, upon receipt of a recommendation from the Chair or the Agency, may terminate a member’s appointment for cause. A member's failure to:

may give cause for termination.

Should a member’s lack of attendance or engagement be deemed to be reducing the effectiveness of the Council, the Council may choose to initiate a request to the Minister, through the Secretariat, to replace the individual.


For any given meeting, the Chair will ensure that there is adequate representation to discuss issues of interest and inform decisions. The Chair will confer with any member that would not be available to attend on whether the Council meeting can proceed in their absence.  Absent members will send their views on issues for discussion or decision in writing to the Chair in advance of the meeting. All member views must be considered and represented in advice submitted to the Minister. 

Roles and Responsabilities


All members have equal status during Council meetings and discussions and have a responsibility to:


The Chair will lead and direct the Council, and is responsible for engaging with members and establishing a healthy environment for deliberation, dialogue and decision-making. The Chair is responsible for finalizing the Council meeting agenda, coordinating the development of the Council reports and supporting, and in any other way, the fulfillment of the Council’s mandate. The Chair will participate in bilateral meetings with the secretariat once per month, or as deemed necessary, to share information and updates, and prepare for upcoming meetings.

The Chair will act as a liaison between the members of the Council and the Minister.


The Agency will act as Secretariat to the Council.

The Secretariat is a resource for members and provides advice to the Chair on the management of the Council. The Secretariat works with the Chair to develop and circulate the agenda and meeting materials, coordinate meeting logistics, prepare meeting minutes, coordinate any contractual arrangements, and organize the invitation of guests. The secretariat also supports the work of the ex-officio member.

Ex-Officio Member

The President of the Agency will act as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Council.  In this role, the President will act as the Agency’s official liaison between the Council and the federal government, including expert federal departments and lifecycle regulators; and as a resource for Council members. The President does not participate in formulating the Council’s report or advice to the Minister.

In the event that the President is not able to participate in a Council meeting or associated discussions, the Vice-President of External Relations and Strategic Policy would represent the President in this capacity as the ex-officio member.


The Chair may invite external participants and individuals with particular expertise or experience to provide input on a specific topic or agenda item. Invited guests would participate in meeting discussions. Provincial, territorial and federal government representatives may be invited to attend as observers, or to share information, at the request of the Chair.


Members are remunerated for their preparation for and participation in Council meetings and are eligible to be reimbursed for their travel expenses in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

Meeting Frequency

The Council will meet two to four times per year. To the extent possible, at least one of these meetings will be in-person. Additional meetings, such as sub-working groups meetings, may be held to discuss key issues of interest and prepare advice for the Minister.

Members of the Council will work towards unanimous advice on as many matters as possible. 

Language of Work

The Council work will be performed in either official language in accordance with the Official Languages Act.


To ensure that members speak freely during Council meetings and with regard to the advice that they provide to the Minister, the Council’s meeting records and Council reports will be non-attributable. The confidentiality and privacy policies of the Government of Canada apply to all meeting records which are available upon request.


For clear and consistent messaging, members shall direct media inquiries to the Chair.

The Chair may seek assistance from the Secretariat in engaging with the media. Members may speak about the Committee’s past and documented activities in their professional communities.  The Secretariat will engage with the Agency’s Communications team to oversee any media-related engagement for the Council.

Review of Council’s Effectiveness and Efficiency

A formal review may be conducted periodically to determine whether administrative, management or other improvements are required to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Council. A review report could be shared with Council members for consideration.

In addition, the Minister may review the Terms of Reference of the Council, as needed. Recommendations for improvements will be considered on an ongoing basis.

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