Memorandum of Understanding concerning
Integrated Impact Assessments under the
Impact Assessment Act
the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
- and –
the Canadian Energy Regulator
(together, “the parties”)
Table of contents
Whereas the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CERA) came into force on 28 August 2019;
Whereas under the IAA, projects that include one or more activities designated by the Regulations Designating Physical Activities (the Project List) are subject to the IAA and may require an impact assessment;
Whereas under the IAA and the Project List, the assessment of designated projects that are regulated by the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) under the CERA will proceed by way of an integrated impact assessment;
Whereas the CER has statutory responsibilities pursuant to the CERA and the IAA and is responsible for, among other things, ensuring that pipeline, power line and offshore renewable energy projects within Parliament’s jurisdiction are constructed, operated and abandoned in a safe and secure manner that protects people, property and the environment;
Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (the Minister) have statutory responsibilities pursuant to the CERA and the IAA;
Whereas the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) has statutory responsibilities pursuant to the IAA;
Whereas under section 43 of the IAA, the Minister must refer the impact assessment of a designated project to a review panel if the project includes physical activities that are regulated under the CERA;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to implementing an impact assessment and regulatory system that Canadians trust and recognizes the importance of fair, inclusive, transparent and efficient processes;
Whereas the parties wish to ensure that the principle of “one project, one assessment” is followed in reviewing designated projects that are regulated by the CER, and that any reviews of designated projects under the IAA are conducted in an efficient and effective manner, without unnecessary delays or duplication of effort;
Whereas it is necessary to take certain measures, and develop certain guidance documents and procedures to support the implementation of the IAA and CERA to ensure that the assessment of those designated projects can proceed efficiently and effectively; and
Whereas the parties recognize and acknowledge that although guidance documents and procedures described herein are substantially complete, refinements may be necessary in implementing the IAA and CERA.
The parties agree to work collaboratively to design and implement integrated impact assessment processes under the IAA and CERA, as outlined in this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
This MOU applies to the integrated impact assessment process of any designated projects as defined in section 2 of the IAA that are also regulated under the CERA.
The objectives of this MOU are to:
- implement an overarching framework to allow for a single, comprehensive process for integrated impact assessments that is fair, inclusive, transparent and efficient;
- describe the roles and responsibilities for the parties for the conduct of integrated impact assessments;
- facilitate coordinated public engagement and Indigenous consultation activities in the integrated impact assessment process for designated projects regulated by the CER;
- ensure the statutory requirements of both the IAA and the CERA can be fulfilled; and
- facilitate timely and consistent information sharing and coordination between the parties.
3. Designation of Projects by the Minister of the Environment
The Agency commits to consult with the CER prior to making recommendations to the Minister regarding any requests to designate projects that are received under the IAA and are not listed on the Project List, which include physical activities regulated under the CERA. The Agency will consult with the CER:
- regarding any project-specific information received from a project proponent or a third party in relation to a potential designation; and/or
- prior to making any recommendations to the Minister regarding a potential designation; and/or
- following any decision by the Minister to designate a project.
4. Information Sharing
4.1 Reciprocal Notification
The Agency and the CER agree to keep each other informed, in a timely manner, of emerging projects which may be subject to both the IAA and the CERA. The parties will each identify an official who will act as the principal point of contact for the sharing of information regarding emerging projects.
4.2 Public Registry
Insofar as both the Agency and the CER maintain public registries, the Impact Assessment Registry internet site (the Registry) maintained by the Agency will be the official record of the integrated impact assessment process. The Registry will include all information related to all integrated impact assessments undertaken by the Agency and the CER, until the issuance of a Decision Statement under the IAA.
Following the issuance of a Decision Statement, the CER will ensure that all subsequent filings and records (e.g., condition compliance filings and other filings related to the lifecycle oversight of the project) are posted to the CER Registry; the Registry (for each designated project) will also contain a link to the CER Registry.
5. Participant Funding
Participant funding for all integrated impact assessments will be provided and administered by the Agency pursuant to its participant funding program. The funding will cover participation in the impact assessment, until the issuance of the Decision Statement.
6. Timeline for Impact Assessment Phase
Prior to the Agency posting a copy of the Notice of Commencement of an integrated impact assessment on the Registry, the parties will discuss the need for any recommendation as to whether a time limit longer than 300 days is required and the reasons for any such recommendation.
The Agency will consult the CER prior to any decisions being made with respect to an overall time limit for the impact assessment of a designated project that is longer than 300 days. Time limits that are longer than 300 days should only be sought where appropriate due to the nature of the designated project.
7. Joint Agency-CER Project Team and Secretariat
Upon submission of a proponent’s Initial Project Description under the IAA, the parties shall jointly set up a project-specific project team. This team may transition into a secretariat when the review panel is appointed. The project team and secretariat, as relevant, will:
- coordinate and conduct all tasks necessary to complete early engagement and other procedural steps required in the Planning phase; and
- support the review panel in conducting the integrated impact assessment on behalf of their respective organizations.
The composition and functioning of the project team and secretariat will be in accordance with the terms set out in certain guidance documents and procedures to be established by the parties and as described below.
8. Cost Sharing
Costs associated with integrated impact assessments will be apportioned between the parties in accordance with a cost-sharing agreement to be finalized prior to the appointment of the review panel for each integrated impact assessment.
The parties agree to develop and implement a set of annexes that set out the principles and details necessary to facilitate the implementation of integrated impact assessments. These documents will be publicly available when complete. These annexes may include:
- Information Sharing and Notification;
- Public Engagement and Participation;
- Crown Consultation;
- Generic Terms of Reference for an Integrated Review Panel;
- Appointments to Rosters and Integrated Review Panels;
- Project Team and Secretariat;
- Development of Conditions; and
- Generic Joint Integrated Review Panel Agreement.
- creates an administrative framework within which the parties will cooperatively allow for the exercise of the powers and duties established by the IAA and the CERA, as necessary and as reflected in those Acts;
- is to be read and interpreted in a manner consistent with the IAA and the CERA and all other legal requirements, including but not limited to applicable legislative and regulatory requirements; and
- does not create any new legal powers or duties, nor does it alter the powers and duties to be established by the IAA and the CERA and is not legally binding on the parties.
11. Terms of the MOU
This MOU comes into effect upon the date of final signing by both parties and remains in effect until withdrawn by either signatory upon reasonable notice in writing. The MOU may be amended with the mutual written agreement of both parties.
This MOU is also subject to review upon the agreement of both parties to ensure that the agreement continues to fully align with the relevant legislation, and reflects the full intentions of the parties.
Original signed by
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
October 31, 2019
Original signed by
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Energy Regulator
October 17, 2019
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