Acts and Regulations
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and its regulations form the legal framework for federal impact assessments.
Regulations related to the IAA define:
- the types of projects that may require an assessment under the IAA
- the information to be provided in project descriptions
- items that the Agency must provide to proponents
- circumstances of when the Minister may suspend legislated timelines
- what costs can be recovered from proponents
There are also regulations that remove the requirement for certain projects to go through an impact assessment. This applies to projects that:
- are proposed in an area for which a regional assessment has already been carried out; and
- conform with conditions set out in the regulation.
Projects on federal lands and outside Canada
The IAA includes provisions for projects on federal lands and outside Canada that are not designated projects but that may require an environmental effects determination. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change can designate, by order, classes of projects on federal lands or outside Canada that, if carried out, will cause only insignificant environmental effects. For projects that are part of a class, IAA requirements would not apply. For further details on the projects, visit Projects on federal lands and outside Canada.
The IAA repealed and replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). However, the IAA includes transitional provisions for environmental assessments that were underway at that time. The regulations under CEAA 2012 continue to apply to projects that are being completed under CEAA 2012. For details, see Transitional environmental assessments.
Government-wide regulatory initiatives
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is responsible for the following initiatives:
- Planned or anticipated changes to regulations (Forward Regulatory Plan)
- How guidance on regulatory requirements is provided (Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements)
- Number of administrative burden requirements in regulations (Administrative Burden Baseline initiative)
Planned or anticipated changes to regulations (Forward Regulatory Plan)
The Agency publishes a public list called the Forward Regulatory Plan. It describes regulatory changes that the Agency intends to bring forward over a 24-month period.
The Agency’s Regulatory Stock Review Plan outlines how the Agency will review all of its regulations over a set period of time. It includes:
- a list of regulations that will undergo a review, prioritized in a way that makes sense to the regulator and stakeholders; and
- a timeframe for the review(s).
How guidance on regulatory requirements is provided (Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements)
The Agency’s Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements:
- outlines the commitments, practices and tools that the Agency applies when providing Canadians and businesses with information and guidance on regulatory obligations; and
- identifies when written responses to questions are provided.
Number of administrative burden requirements in regulations (Administrative Burden Baseline initiative)
The Administrative Burden Baseline initiative requires departments and agencies to:
- establish a baseline count of federal regulatory requirements that impose administrative burden on business; and
- annually update and report publicly on the count of baseline requirements.
The Agency updated its Administrative Burden Baseline in September 2022.
Government of Canada’s Acts and Regulations
Most of the Government’s acts and regulations are on the Justice Laws website. However, under the IAA, regulations made under 112 (1)(a.2) are not included on that website. For more information on these regulations, see the List of regulations under the Impact Assessment Act.
Consult the links below to learn about how the Government develops regulations, policies and guidance, or for details about federal regulatory initiatives.
- Cabinet Directive on Regulation
- Federal regulatory management
- Regulatory cooperation
- Administrative Burden Baseline
- Consulting with Canadians
- Canada Gazette (for new and proposed regulations)
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