Annex for Integrated Impact Assessments
the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
– and –
the Canadian Energy Regulator
Annex 2 — Public Engagement and Participation for Integrated Impact Assessments
This Annex is governed by the understandings as described in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) and the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER). Pursuant to the MOU and under the terms of this Annex, the Agency and the CER (each a “party” or jointly “the parties”) agree to respect this Annex. This Annex is intended to be read in conjunction with the MOU.
In this Annex, review “participant” is defined broadly to mean anyone appearing at or participating in a review panel process.
This Annex sets out how the Agency and the CER will ensure ongoing cooperation and collaboration with respect to engagement with review participants throughout an integrated impact assessment under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CERA).
This Annex will broadly apply to public engagement activities during an integrated impact assessment involving designated projects also regulated under the CERA.
The roles and responsibilities of the Agency and the CER relating to an integrated impact assessment for CER-regulated facilities and activities will be undertaken in accordance with the IAA and the CERA.
This Annex is intended to provide a flexible framework and will be adapted, as needed and appropriate, on a project-specific basis.
Principles of Public Engagement
Public participation is an essential part of open, informed and meaningful impact assessment processes. The Agency and the CER commit to facilitate meaningful participation by the public and other review participants during integrated impact assessments. Meaningful public participation means that members of the public who wish to participate in an integrated impact assessment have an opportunity to do so and are provided with the information that enables them to participate in an informed way.
The Agency and the CER agree that coordination of public engagement activities throughout all phases of an integrated impact assessment process is important to ensure that the principle of “one project, one assessment” is followed. Public engagement activities throughout the entire impact assessment process will be coordinated by the Agency, in collaboration with the CER.
As a lifecycle regulator, the CER engages with stakeholders from initial engagement on a potential project through to construction, operation and the eventual abandonment of energy infrastructure. In the context of a designated project that includes physical activities regulated under the CERA, the CER will participate in engagement processes jointly with the Agency throughout the entire integrated impact assessment. This will assist the CER in strengthening existing relationships or building new ones that are important to the regulation of the proposed project over its entire lifecycle.
The Agency and the CER recognize that long linear energy project applications often attract a high degree of interest from the public, and have the potential to affect landowners and other rights-holders located along the proposed route, including Indigenous peoples. The Agency and CER agree that flexibility will be required in developing the appropriate range of engagement activities throughout an integrated impact assessment process in order to facilitate meaningful public participation and respect the rights of those directly affected. In developing the appropriate range of options, the Agency and the CER commit to developing a process that is open, inclusive and responsive to community needs, as well as the needs of the review panel process.
The Agency and the CER agree that the integrated impact assessment process will, to the extent that it is consistent with the general legal requirements including the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness, emphasize flexibility and informality in the conduct of the assessment.
Public Engagement during the Impact Assessment
In order to facilitate meaningful public engagement in each phase of the integrated impact assessment process, the Agency and CER agree to the following:
- following any early notification by proponents that a project description is likely be submitted under the IAA, the Agency and the CER will begin discussions regarding appropriate engagement activities that will be undertaken during the Planning phase, particularly where the project is likely to involve numerous landowners, municipalities, Indigenous peoples and/or other review participants; and
- where appropriate, consideration will be given to advancing public engagement activities prior to the submission of the Initial Project Description, as appropriate, in order to improve awareness of the potential integrated impact assessment process.
The primary purpose of the engagement opportunities following the submission of the Initial Project Description is to solicit input from review participants, including landowners, the public, and Indigenous peoples regarding the issues of concern associated with the proposed project.
If the proponent has undertaken any engagement activities prior to the submission of the Initial Project Description and has included a summary of the issues it has heard, this initial engagement by the Agency and CER will also be used to validate the information provided by the proponent.
The input received during this initial engagement period will be reflected in the Summary of Issues that will be provided to the proponent. The Agency and the CER will work together to develop the Summary of Issues.
The primary purpose of the second engagement period following the receipt of the proponent’s response to the Summary of Issues will be to further inform and develop the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines (TIS Guidelines) and the Public Participation Plan.
The Agency and the CER will work together to develop the TIS Guidelines and the Public Participation Plan. The principles outlined in the Public Participation Plan will be integrated into the integrated review panel’s Terms of Reference for the in order to provide a framework within which the review panel will engage with review participants during the integrated impact assessment.
Impact Statement phase
The purpose of the Impact Statement phase is to ensure that the Impact Statement (which would include the application for any regulatory authorizations required under the CERA), includes the required information or studies, as specified in the TIS Guidelines. The public will be provided an opportunity to comment on the proposed review panel’s Terms of Reference during this phase.
If required during the review of the Impact Statement, the Agency and CER will engage review participants in order to inform the determination on whether the required information and studies have been provided by the proponent.
Impact Assessment phase
The purpose of the Impact Assessment phase is for the integrated review panel to conduct the impact assessment and regulatory review of the designated project, and to conduct project-specific engagement and consultation activities. This phase includes the submission and testing of information, resolution of issues and development of mitigation measures. This phase will culminate in the preparation and submission of the Integrated Review Panel Report and proposed conditions.
The integrated review panel will be responsible for designing its approach to public engagement taking into consideration the principles for meaningful engagement included in its Terms of Reference. At a minimum, during the Impact Assessment phase, the integrated review panel will be required to solicit input from review participants at the following steps in its process:
- to request the views of review participants on the information contained in the Impact Statement;
- to request the views of review participants on draft procedures for the conduct of the public hearing; and
- to request the views of review participants on draft potential conditions, should the project be allowed to proceed. This step would occur prior to the start of the oral public hearing.
The Agency and the CER understand that the integrated review panel will determine its own approaches to public engagement.
With respect to the oral public hearing, the Agency and the CER understand that the integrated review panel may choose to give priority or additional opportunities to those review participants who the panel believes may be most affected by the project, including landowners and others whose rights may be directly impacted by the proposed project. The Agency and the CER also recognise the need for process efficiency in order to respect the legislated timelines established for the Impact Assessment phase.
As outlined in the Annex on the development of conditions, the Agency and CER agree that the public will be provided with an opportunity to comment on additional mitigation measures or follow-up requirements that may be developed following the submission of the Integrated Review Panel Report. Additional potential conditions may be developed during this phase, as a result of outstanding issues identified by review participants.
In addition, the Agency and the CER agree to the following:
- the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry Internet Site (the Registry) will be used as the official record for the integrated impact assessment, including as a repository for all information/evidence submitted by review participants in the integrated impact assessment;
- communications with review participants will be coordinated throughout the integrated impact assessment, including prior to the Planning phase;
- appropriate support on procedural and process-related matters will be made available for review participants at appropriate stages of the integrated impact assessment process; and
- communications products will be coordinated throughout an integrated impact assessment process.
The Agency will be responsible for translating any documents it creates into both official languages of Canada prior to their posting on the Registry, including the translation of public notices and releases and the report prepared by the review panel. The Agency will use all reasonable efforts to expedite the translation of the report following its submission by the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry Internet Site.
Points of Contact
The CER and the Agency will each identify a point of contact to coordinate public communication and activities throughout the integrated impact assessment. These identified points of contact will ensure coordination and that communication from both organizations avoids duplication and meets the public need for meaningful information.
The CER point of contact is the hearing manager for the designated project. The Agency’s points of contact are the regional project manager (during the Planning phase) and the panel manager (for all subsequent phases) for the review of the designated project. Each participant will ensure that up-to-date contact information for the points of contact are made available to each other.
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