Minister's Transition Book

Table of Contents

********** "The briefing documents listed below were prepared for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Please note that in the spirit of the Access to Information Act, a limited amount of text within these documents may not be disclosed, especially for reasons related to Canada's economic interests and Cabinet confidences."

Section 1: The Mandate

Section 2: The Organization

Section 3: Decision Making Framework – Key Upcoming Decisions

Section 4: Projects

  1. Current Review Panels
    1. Deep Geologic Repository Project
    2. Frontier Oil Sands Project
    3. Grassy Mountain Gold Mine Project
    4. Milton Logistics Hub Project
    5. Roberts Banks Terminal 2 Project
  2. Current Environmental Assessment Projects led by the Agency
    1. Ajax Gold Copper Mine
    2. Arnaud Apatite Mine
    3. Cote Gold Mine
    4. Eagle's Nest Project - Ring of Fire
    5. Pacific Northwest LNG
    6. Port de Quebec Deepwater Multipurpose Wharf
    7. Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project
    8. Sisson Tungsten and Molybdenum Mine
  3. Current Substituted Environmental Assessment Projects
    1. Woodfibre LNG
  4. Prospective Environmental Assessments
    1. Strange Lake
  5. Map
    1. Current and Potential Environmental Assessments under CEAA 2012

Section 5: Litigation

Section 6: Glossary

Section 1: The Mandate

Overview of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

Overview of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

The Agency delivers high-quality environmental assessments in support of government decisions about major projects. Environmental assessment informs government decision making and supports sustainable development by identifying opportunities to avoid, eliminate or reduce a project's potential adverse impact on the environment before the project is undertaken, and by ensuring that mitigation measures are applied when the project is constructed, operated and decommissioned.

CEAA 2012 and its accompanying regulations provide the legislative framework for federal environmental assessment. CEAA 2012 establishes the Agency and identifies areas in which it must advise and assist the Minister in exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions conferred upon him or her.

The Agency's objectives are:

  • To conduct or administer environmental assessments and administer any other requirements and procedures established by CEAA 2012 and its regulations;
  • To promote uniformity and harmonization in relation to the assessment of environmental effects across Canada at all levels of government;
  • To promote or conduct research in matters of environmental assessment and to encourage the development of environmental assessment techniques and practices, including testing programs, alone or in cooperation with other agencies and organizations;
  • To promote environmental assessment in a manner that is consistent with the purposes of CEAA 2012;
  • To promote monitor and facilitate compliance with CEAA 2012;
  • To promote and monitor the quality of environmental assessments conducted under CEAA 2012; and
  • To engage in consultation with Aboriginal peoples on policy issues related to CEAA 2012.

Environmental assessments consider whether “designated projects” are likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that fall within the legislative authority of Parliament or result from a federal decision about the project. Assessments are conducted by one of three responsible authorities: the Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for projects that it regulates or the National Energy Board for projects that it regulates. CEAA 2012 requires that opportunities for public participation be provided during environmental assessments and that participant funding and a public registry, including an Internet site, be established. CEAA 2012 also defines the roles and responsibilities of the Agency, the other responsible authorities, decision-makers, and project proponents.

When the Agency is the responsible authority, it determines whether an environmental assessment is required for a designated project and conducts or manages the environmental assessment in accordance with the procedures and timelines set out in CEAA 2012. The Agency is also responsible for managing the environmental assessments of most projects that continue to be assessed under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, in accordance with the transitional provisions of CEAA 2012.

The Agency advises the Minister of the Environment in fulfilling the Minister's responsibilities under CEAA 2012, including establishing review panels to conduct environmental assessments of certain projects and issuing enforceable environmental assessment decision statements at the conclusion of the environmental assessment process.

In support of timely and efficient environmental assessments, the Agency coordinates the delivery of federal environmental assessment requirements with provinces and territories to avoid duplication, and advises the Minister of the Environment on requests to substitute the CEAA 2012 process with the environmental assessment process of another jurisdiction. Additionally, the Agency on its own and in collaboration with partners conducts research to support high-quality environmental assessments and develops effective environmental assessment policies and practices. For designated projects for which it is the responsible authority, the Agency promotes compliance with CEAA 2012, and will take action as required to ensure proponents comply with the legislation's requirements.

The Government of Canada takes a whole-of-government approach to Aboriginal consultation in the context of environmental assessments, to ensure that Aboriginal groups are adequately consulted and, where appropriate, accommodated when the Crown (federal government) contemplates actions that may adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. The Agency serves as the Crown consultation coordinator to integrate the Government of Canada's Aboriginal consultation activities into the environmental assessment process to the extent possible, for review panels and for environmental assessments for which the Agency is responsible.

The Agency leads federal project review activities under the environmental and social protection regimes set out in sections 22 and 23 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and in the Northeastern Quebec Agreement. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement are constitutionally protected comprehensive land claim agreements. The Agency supports its President who, as the federal administrator, must review and determine whether projects of a federal nature proposed under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement or Northeastern Quebec Agreement should proceed and, if so, under which conditions.

The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals establishes a self-assessment process for departments and agencies to conduct a strategic environmental assessment of a policy, plan or program proposal. The Agency supports the Minister of the Environment in promoting the application of the Directive, and provides federal authorities with guidance and advice upon request.

The Agency has a compliance promotion and enforcement program, and carries out site inspections to ensure proponents are fulfilling conditions set out in decision statements.

The Agency develops regulations and other instruments that are necessary for the federal environmental assessment process to operate and negotiates agreements with other jurisdictions on behalf of the Minister. The Agency provides advice, training and guidance to federal authorities and proponents on CEAA 2012 and its regulations. This includes advice to federal authorities regarding the obligation to ensure their actions with respect to projects on federal lands or outside Canada do not cause significant adverse environmental effects. Finally, the Agency provides advice and training on the implementation of the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

The Agency was established in 1994 and is headed by a President who reports to the Minister of the Environment. The Agency has its headquarters in Ottawa, with five regional offices in Halifax, Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Overview of CEAA 2012

This overview describes CEAA 2012 as it applies to the Agency. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and National Energy Board use their own respective regulatory processes to fulfill the requirements of CEAA 2012.

Federal Areas of Jurisdiction

Under CEAA 2012, an environmental assessment focuses on potential adverse environmental effects that are within federal jurisdiction, including:

  • fish and fish habitat;
  • other aquatic species;
  • migratory birds;
  • federal lands;
  • effects that cross provincial or international boundaries;
  • changes to the environment that affects Aboriginal peoples, such as their use of lands and resources for traditional purposes; and
  • changes to the environment that are directly linked to or necessarily incidental to any federal decisions about a project.

An environmental assessment will consider a comprehensive set of factors that include cumulative effects, mitigation measures and comments received from the public.

Determining if a Federal Environmental Assessment is Required

Proponents must provide to the Agency a description of their proposed project if it is described in the regulations (Regulations Designating Physical Activities commonly known as the Project List Regulations) identifying projects that may require a federal environmental assessment.

Upon receipt of the proponent's complete project description, the Agency has 45 days to determine if a federal environmental assessment will be required. This determination is based on the possibility for adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction. This 45-day time limit includes a 20-day period during which the public is invited to provide comments.

Designated projects that are regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or the National Energy Board automatically require an environmental assessment by those regulators. Proponents of these projects are not required to submit a project description to the Agency.

The Minister of the Environment may designate a project not identified in the regulations if there is the potential for environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction or public concerns about such environmental effects.

Environmental Assessment by a Responsible Authority

The responsibility for conducting an environmental assessment rests with:

  • the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (for designated projects they regulate);
  • the National Energy Board (for designated projects they regulate); or
  • the Agency (for all other designated projects).

Review Panels

When the Agency is the responsible authority for a designated project, the Minister of the Environment may, within 60 days of the start of the environmental assessment, refer the designated project to an environmental assessment by review panel. A review panel is composed of experts with knowledge and expertise related to potential adverse environmental affects that may be caused by a designated project. A joint review panel may be established with another jurisdiction, such as a province.

Review panels are required to hold public hearings and must do so in a manner that allows interested parties that are directly affected or that have relevant information or expertise the opportunity to participate. The review panel must also consider written comments from the public and provide a summary of any comments received in its report.

A review panel submits its report and recommendations to the Minister of the Environment.

Timelines

CEAA 2012 sets the following timelines for the Government to complete its work:

  • Three hundred and sixty-five days from the commencement of an environmental assessment by the Agency to the Minister's environmental assessment decision; and
  • Twenty-four months for an environmental assessment by review panel from the time of referral to the issuance of a decision statement by the Minister. The Minister sets project-specific timelines for each phase of the review panel process.

The Minister may extend these timelines for up to three months to enable cooperation with another jurisdiction or because of circumstances that are specific to the project. The Governor in Council can extend timelines beyond the three months.

The Minister must terminate a review panel that fails to meet its deadline, and may also terminate a review panel when he or she is of the view that it is not likely to meet its deadline. In both cases, the Agency is required to complete the environmental assessment.

Timelines apply to government and panel activities and not to the periods of time required for the proponent to gather information needed to complete the environmental assessment.

Public Participation

CEAA 2012 provides opportunities for public participation throughout the environmental assessment process:

  • There is a comment period in the initial steps when the Agency is determining whether an environmental assessment is required.
  • An opportunity for public participation is provided during the conduct of all environmental assessments.
  • The public is provided opportunities to comment on the draft environmental assessment report for projects assessed by the Agency.
  • The public is provided with an opportunity to comment on draft conditions to be included in a decision statement (proposed mitigation measures and follow-up requirements).
  • Review panels must hold public hearings during which interested parties can participate. Review panels also consider all written comments from the public.
  • The Agency, through its Participant Funding Program, provides funding to facilitate the participation of the public during environmental assessments it conducts and those conducted by a review panel.

Internet Site

Key project information and documents related to an environmental assessment are accessible to the public on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site. This includes:

  • a summary of the proponent's project description;
  • a notice that an environmental assessment has commenced;
  • notices requesting public input;
  • the factors that will be considered in the environmental assessment;
  • the findings of the environmental assessment;
  • consultation documents; and
  • the environmental assessment decision statement.

Federal-Provincial Cooperation

CEAA 2012 recognizes responsibility for the environment is shared with other jurisdictions. Cooperation with other jurisdictions is enabled through various mechanisms. These include carrying out cooperative assessments, establishing joint review panels, and delegating the conduct of all or a part of a federal environmental assessment to another jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the Minister of the Environment, if satisfied that the substantive requirements of CEAA 2012 can be met by a provincial process and if that province requests it, must allow for the substitution of the federal environmental assessment process by the provincial process. In such cases, the Minister of the Environment still makes a decision about whether the environmental effects caused by the project are likely to be significant, using the environmental assessment report prepared by the province.

The Governor in Council may exempt a designated project from application of CEAA 2012 if it determines that a province will undertake an equivalent assessment.

Cooperation and Communication with Aboriginal Peoples

Cooperation and communication with Aboriginal peoples with respect to environmental assessment is a key component of CEAA 2012. The definition of environmental effects requires consideration of changes to the environment caused by a project that in turn may affect Aboriginal peoples, such as to their:

  • health and socio-economic conditions;
  • physical and cultural heritage;
  • current use of land and resources for traditional purposes; or
  • structures, sites or things that are of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance.

Starting environmental assessments early in the planning of a project will assist the Government of Canada in discharging its legal duty to consult and, if appropriate, accommodate Aboriginal peoples when the Crown contemplates conduct (associated with designated projects) that might adversely impact established or potential Aboriginal and treaty rights.

To support Aboriginal engagement in environmental assessment and consultation, the Agency makes funding available to potentially impacted Aboriginal groups through its Participant Funding Program.

Decision Making and Enforcement

At the end of an environmental assessment by the Agency or a review panel, the Minister of the Environment determines whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account mitigation measures that were identified during the environmental assessment. If it is determined that a project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the Governor in Council will then decide whether these effects are justified in the circumstances. A decision statement is issued that sets out the decision and associated conditions with which the proponent must comply.

Failure to fulfill the conditions in a decision statement is a violation of CEAA 2012. Enforcement officers have powers to verify compliance and the Minister may also seek an injunction to stop activities that violate CEAA 2012 or to prevent such violations. Contraventions of CEAA 2012 can result in maximum fines as high as $400,000.

Follow-up Programs

Follow-up programs are mandatory after all environmental assessments. These programs are intended to verify the accuracy of the predictions regarding potential environmental effects and to determine if mitigation measures are working as intended.

Regional Studies

The Minister of the Environment has authority to establish a committee to conduct regional studies—a regional environmental assessment —for regions that are entirely composed of federal lands. The Minister may also establish a committee jointly with another jurisdiction or jurisdictions to conduct a regional study for regions outside federal lands.

Federal Lands

For projects on federal lands that are not designated projects, CEAA 2012 requires that before federal authorities make a decision that would allow a project to proceed, they must determine whether a project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Federal authorities report annually to Parliament on the actions taken to fulfill this obligation. Projects outside Canada that receive federal funding or where the Government of Canada is the proponent are subject to this same standard.

Role of the Minister of the Environment

Summary

  • The Minister of the Environment is responsible for key decisions associated with the environmental assessment of specific projects and for instruments (e.g. regulations) that shape the process.
  • The Minister may require the environmental assessment of a project not on the Regulations Designating Physical Activities (Project List Regulations) because of the potential for adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction or public concerns about those effects.
  • The Minister may refer the environmental assessment of a designated project to an independent review panel. The Minister appoints the panel and sets its terms of reference, including timelines. The Minister may enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction for a joint review panel.
  • The Minister must approve the substitution of the federal environmental assessment process by a provincial review if satisfied that the substantive requirements of CEAA 2012 will be met.
  • At the end of an environmental assessment, the Minister determines whether a designated project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and issues a decision statement that sets conditions (mitigation measures and follow-up program requirements) that are binding on the proponent.
  • The Minister refers to the Governor in Council the issue of whether the likely significant effects of a project are justified in the circumstances.
  • The Minister may extend timelines for an environmental assessment by three months and may recommend to the Governor in Council further extensions.

Background

Minister's powers to shape the environmental assessment process
  • Making regulations, including the Project List Regulations, necessary for CEAA 2012 to operate.
  • Recommending that the Governor in Council make certain regulations (e.g. Federal Authority as a Responsible Authority for Designated Projects Regulations proposed in June 2015 to make the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board responsible for the environmental assessment of projects that it regulates).
  • Issuing guidelines and codes of practice.
  • Entering into agreements with other jurisdictions.
Minister's role in specific environmental assessments includes the following:
  • Requiring an environmental assessment of a project not on the Project List Regulations (i.e. designating the project) if there is the potential for environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction or public concerns about such effects.
  • Referring the environmental assessment of a designated project to a review panel. This must be done within 60 days of the start of an environmental assessment.
  • Appointing the members of a review panel, setting their terms of reference, including the scope of factors to be assessed, and establishing timelines for the specific phases of the environmental assessment.
  • Extending timelines by three months for environmental assessments by the Agency (12 months) or a review panel (24 months) to permit cooperation with another jurisdiction or to deal with project-specific circumstances.
  • Terminating review panels that have not or are not likely able to submit their report in accordance with the timelines that have been set.
  • Approving the substitution of a federal environmental assessment by a provincial review.
  • Recommending that the Governor in Council exempt a specific project from the application of CEAA 2012 where there is an equivalent assessment by a province.
  • Making the decision on the significance of a project's environmental effects after an environmental assessment by the Agency, review panel or by a province when substitution has been approved.
  • Setting conditions that are binding on a proponent to mitigate adverse environmental effects, to implement a follow-up program that verifies if the environmental assessment predictions were accurate and determines the effectiveness of any mitigation measures.
  • Should the Minister determine that the adverse environmental effects of a project are significant, he or she must bring forward a submission to Cabinet in order for the Governor in Council to determine whether the significant adverse environmental effects are justified in the circumstances.
Other ministerial powers include the following:
  • Designating persons to be enforcement officers to verify compliance and prevent non-compliance with CEAA 2012.
  • Appointing a “committee” (a body similar to a review panel) to conduct a regional study of activities, including existing and future projects, in a region. These regional studies must normally be done in cooperation with a province.
The Minister's role in relation to transitional environmental assessments performed under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act:
  • There are still projects whose environmental assessments are being completed under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  • For projects that are being assessed as a comprehensive study, the Minister's role is limited to issuing a decision statement, setting out his or her opinion on the significance of any adverse environmental effects that the project may cause, as well as appropriate mitigation measures and follow-up requirements.

Role of the President

Summary

  • The President is the chief executive officer of the Agency and a deputy of the Minister of the Environment. The President is also the Federal Administrator under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.
  • The President advises the Minister with respect to decisions under CEAA 2012 including whether to designate a project, approve substitution by a provincial review, refer a project to review panel, determine whether a project is likely to cause significant effects and on the conditions to be included in a decision statement.
  • The Agency decides whether to require an environmental assessment of projects identified on the Regulations Designating Physical Activities (Project List Regulations) following a review of a project description provided by the proponent. The Agency conducts environmental assessments in doing so, provides opportunities for public participation and prepares the environmental assessments report.

Background

The President's Role

The President is the chief executive officer of the Agency and a deputy of the Minister of the Environment for the purposes of CEAA 2012. The Minister may authorize the President to exercise any of the Minister's powers under the Act and has delegated the authority to designate enforcement officers.

The President reports to the Minister of the Environment and provides advice and support to the Minister in fulfilling his or her responsibilities under CEAA 2012. The President maintains a close working relationship with the Deputy Minister of Environment Canada to ensure a consistent and coordinated approach in the advice provided to the Minister and in addressing issues of concern to the Minister's overall portfolio.

The President is a member of the Deputy Ministers' Committee established under the Major Projects Management Office initiative and also works closely with counterparts in other jurisdictions. The President is responsible for decisions to provide funds under the Participant Funding Program.

The President is also the Federal Administrator of the federal environmental and social assessment regimes under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. This means the President renders decisions during and at the end of the review of federal projects assessed under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement regime.

The President is also designated as the Agency's Accounting Officer under the Financial Administration Act. He is accountable before the appropriate committees of the Senate and House of Commons to answer questions related to the following management responsibilities:

  • the measures taken to organize the resources of the department to deliver departmental programs in compliance with government policies and procedures;
  • the measures taken to maintain effective systems of internal control in the department;
  • the signing of the accounts that are required for preparation of the Public Accounts (pursuant to section 64 of the Financial Administration Act); and
  • the performance of other specific duties assigned to him or her by the Financial Administration Act or any other act in relation to the administration of the department.

Aboriginal Consultation

Summary

  • The Minister of the Environment's environmental assessment decision under CEAA 2012 is considered to be Crown conduct that gives rise to the legal duty to consult. Aboriginal consultation must be adequate, both substantively and procedurally, to meet the federal Crown's legal duty to consult for the purposes of the environmental assessment decision.
  • Under the 2007 Cabinet Directive on Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Resource Project, the Agency is the Crown Consultation Coordinator for projects that it assesses and integrates Aboriginal Consultations, to the extent possible, into the environmental assessment process.
  • The Agency has developed an approach that integrates, to the extent possible, the federal Crown's legal duty to consult obligations into the environmental assessment process for designated projects, which is consistent with the principles and directives in the Government of Canada's Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation: Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Duty to Consult (2011).
  • The Agency's activity related to Aboriginal consultation and accommodation has three primary objectives:
    1. management of Aboriginal consultation activities for designated projects to ensure that Aboriginal groups whose potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights are adversely impacted are adequately consulted and accommodated as part of the environmental assessment process;
    2. fulfillment of the requirements of CEAA 2012, namely the assessment of the environmental effects of designated projects on Aboriginal peoples; and
    3. engagement with Aboriginal peoples to consult on policy issues related to CEAA 2012.
  • Budget 2015 renewed $34 million of sunsetting funding related to aboriginal consultations for a further five years starting in 2015-2016.

Considerations

The Government of Canada relies on the federal environmental assessment process to meet its legal duty to consult obligations with Aboriginal groups whose potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights are adversely impacted by Crown conduct associated with designated projects.

The Minister of the Environment's environmental assessment decision under the legislation is considered to be Crown conduct giving rise to the legal duty to consult. In making this decision, the Minister must be satisfied that the consultation process was adequate in fulfilling the legal duty.

In addition to consultations arising from project assessments, the Agency engages Aboriginal groups in several ways. Under CEAA 2012 the Agency must consult Aboriginal peoples on policy issues related to CEAA 2012. Agency staff supports Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in negotiating and implementing environmental assessment aspects of modern treaties. With portfolio partners, the Major Projects Management Office and other government departments, we work to promote positive relationships with Aboriginal groups.

Background

The Government of Canada consults with Aboriginal people for reasons of good governance, sound policy development and decision making, as well as for legal reasons. The legal duty to consult with Aboriginal groups applies when the Crown contemplates actions that may adversely affect established or potential Aboriginal and treaty rights. To enable Crown compliance with this legal obligation, the Government of Canada released updated guidelines in 2011 entitled, Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation: Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Duty to Consult.

The integration of Aboriginal consultation activities with the environmental assessment process is consistent with the direction provided in these guidelines. The steps for consultation are outlined in the Agency's Aboriginal Consultation Practitioner Guide.

Under the 2007 Cabinet Directive on Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Resource Projects the Agency is the Crown Consultation Coordinator for projects that it assesses and integrates Aboriginal Consultations, to the extent possible, into the environmental assessment process.

Budget 2015 renewed sunsetting funding related to aboriginal consultations for a further five years starting in 2015-2016. Included in the renewal was $34 million ($6.8 million per year) for the Agency to continue consultations with Aboriginal groups. This funding comprises capacity funding for the Agency ($3.8 million per year) and contribution funding ($3 million per year) exclusively for Aboriginal groups who meet the eligibility criteria of the Participant Funding Program.

Intergovernmental Relations

Summary

  • Some projects require both an environmental assessment under the federal statute and that of another jurisdiction.
  • The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is the federal-provincial venue for policy discussions on environmental management issues, including environmental assessment.
  • Where there is a risk that projects in Canada will cause environmental effects in the U.S., the Agency has established an approach for engaging with U.S. officials on those environmental assessments.
  • Annual meetings of senior officials from the Agency and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Council on Environmental Quality enable collaboration and sharing of information on our respective approaches to environmental assessment.

Considerations

Intergovernmental Affairs

CEAA 2012 includes tools that provide for cooperation between jurisdictions within Canada: cooperative environmental assessments, delegation, substitution and equivalency. As such, CEAA 2012 aims to achieve the approach endorsed in 2009 by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment of “one project-one assessment”.

The following provides a general description of the cooperative mechanisms under CEAA 2012:

  • Coordinated/Cooperative Environmental Assessments: The Agency and another jurisdiction may coordinate their efforts so that a single environmental assessment meets the legal requirements of both jurisdictions.
  • Joint Review Panels: The Minister of the Environment may enter into an agreement with any jurisdiction to establish a review panel.
  • Delegation: The responsible authority may delegate the carrying out of any part of the environmental assessment and the preparation of the environmental assessment report to another jurisdiction.
  • Substitution: If the Minister of the Environment is satisfied that the substitution requirements of CEAA 2012 can be met, he or she must agree to a provincial request for substitution. The Minister makes a decision about the project using the environmental assessment report prepared by the province.
  • Equivalency: The Governor in Council can exclude a project from application of CEAA 2012 if it determines that a province will undertake an equivalent environmental assessment and the conditions in CEAA 2012 have been met.

The substitution and equivalency provisions do not apply for projects assessed by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or for projects referred to a panel review.

International Affairs

CEAA 2012 includes provisions which require consultation and cooperation with a foreign jurisdiction when that jurisdiction also has an environmental assessment requirement for the designated project. To ensure the U.S. is aware of environmental assessment activities in Canada which may have impacts in the U.S., the Agency has established an approach for engaging with U.S. officials on environmental assessments for projects that have the potential to cause adverse transboundary environmental effects on a watershed, air shed or land use in the U.S., or may be associated with activities in the U.S.

In addition, regular meetings between senior officials from the Agency and senior officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality present an opportunity for Canada and the U.S. to discuss environmental assessment policy directions in the two nations. It also provides a forum to share information about approaches to environmental assessment, exchange best practices, and explore areas of mutual interest and continued or future collaboration.

Participant Funding Program

Summary

  • The Participant Funding Program is a contribution program which supports public participation and Aboriginal consultation activities associated with environmental assessments managed by the Agency.
  • It is established through section 57 and subsection 58(1) of CEAA 2012. CEAA 2012 requires the Agency to establish a Participant Funding Program to facilitate participation of the public in the environmental assessment of designated projects for which it is the responsible authority or that have been referred to a review panel under section 38.
  • The Participant Funding Program is administered by the Agency in accordance with its Terms and Conditions. The Agency's President makes the final determination of funding allocations.
  • The Participant Funding Program budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 is $4.46 million, of which $3 million is reserved exclusively for Aboriginal groups who plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government through the environmental assessment process, in support of the Crown's duty to consult. The remaining $1.46 million supports individuals, non-profit organizations and other groups interested in participating in a federal environmental assessment.

Considerations

Public participation is a fundamental objective of the federal environmental assessment process established by CEAA 2012. Public participation allows for ecological knowledge, concerns and values to be brought forward and taken into consideration during the environmental assessment process. The Participant Funding Program supports public participation and Aboriginal consultation activities in the environmental assessment process.

Background

Administration of the Participant Funding Program

The Participant Funding Program includes the following financial assistance for participation in the federal environmental assessment process:

  1. regular funding provides financial assistance to members of the public, not-for-profit organizations and other interested parties to participate in public consultation opportunities provided during an environmental assessment by a review panel or by the Agency; and
  2. Aboriginal funding provides funding specifically to Aboriginal groups to assist them in preparing for and participating in Aboriginal consultation activities and public consultation opportunities associated with an environmental assessment by a review panel or by the Agency.

Interested parties must complete and submit to the Agency an application form, which includes a work plan. All application forms received are reviewed by an independent Funding Review Committee to determine the eligibility of the applicants and to provide recommendations to the President of the Agency on whether funding should be provided, and if so, in what amount. The Committee's recommendations are forwarded to the President of the Agency, who makes the final determination on funding allocations based on the Committee's report and the recommendation package prepared by the Agency. Eligible recipients must enter into a Contribution Agreement with the Agency.

Eligible recipients

In order to be eligible to receive funds, the parties must demonstrate that they meet a least one of the following criteria:

  • have a direct, local interest in the project, such as living or owning property within the project area;
  • have community or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the environmental assessment; or
  • plan to provide expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project.
Eligible costs

The Participant Funding Program covers expenses incurred to participate in an environmental assessment or Aboriginal consultation activities. Expenses that may be considered for funding include: fees for expert advice, travel expenses to participate in meetings or hearings and costs associated with information collection and dissemination.

The Participant Funding Program is not meant to cover all expenses incurred by participants throughout the environmental assessment process. As a result, groups and individuals sometimes object to the level of funding made available for specific projects, which they perceive as inadequate.

Evolution of Environmental Assessment — A Chronology
Year Milestone
1974
  • Cabinet establishes the federal environmental assessment and review process.
  • Departments and agencies (self-assessment) to “take environmental matters into account throughout the planning of project, program and activities initiated by the department or agency, or for which federal funds are solicited or for which federal property is required.”
1977
  • Cabinet adjusts the Environmental Assessment and Review Process to:
    • provide for “panel” members from outside what was then the Department of Fisheries and the Environment; and
    • provide for public comment.
1984
  • More detailed process set out in Environmental Assessment and Review Process Guidelines Order (EARPGO).
1989
  • Federal Court of Appeal rules that EARPGO was a law of general application binding on the federal government.
1990
  • Introduction of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).
  • Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals is issued.
1992
  • CEAA receives royal assent.
1995
  • CEAA and its regulations come into force. Establishment of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) as a body to support departments under self-assessment process.
2000
  • Agency conducts five-year review of Act on behalf of the Minister.
2003
  • Amendments to CEAA result in greater coordination role for the Agency.
2007
  • Budget 2007 increases Agency funding by 40% ($11 million per year for five years) so it can take on a greater role managing environmental assessments.
2010
  • Amendments to CEAA (in the Budget Implementation Act) make the Agency responsible for comprehensive study-type environmental assessments .
2012
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 passed by Parliament and brought into force. The Agency becomes responsible for all environmental assessments, except for projects regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board.
2015
  • Budget 2015 renews Agency Aboriginal Consultation Funding ($34 million) and Major Project Management Office ($40 million) for 5 years.

Section 2: The Organization

Agency President and Sector Heads — Biographies

Ron Hallman
President

Ron Hallman was appointed President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) effective July 8, 2013.

From 2011 to 2013, Ron served as Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Regional Operations in the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. In this role, he led a team of seven Regional Directors General responsible for program delivery across ten provinces and directed the Community Infrastructure, Governance, Urban Aboriginal and Emergency Management program areas, working with Aboriginal leaders and key partners to better support on-reserve First Nations communities and urban Aboriginal populations. In addition to his formal accountabilities, he served as the department's Co-Champion for the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign and as the Champion for the department's employee-led “Committee for the Advancement of Native Employment” (CANE).

Prior to joining AANDC, Ron served in a variety of executive roles in the Parks Canada Agency, including: Vice President, Protected Area Establishment and Conservation (2009-2011); Executive Director, Mountain Parks (2006-2009); and Chief of Staff and Corporate Secretary (2003-2006). Previously, he served as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage.

From 1995 - 2002, Ron served in a variety of exempt staff roles, including in the Office of the Minister of Environment, the Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and at the Senate of Canada.

Ron Hallman was born in New Westminster, BC, and raised in British Columbia and Alberta. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Arts in Political Science, both from the University of Calgary.

Helen Cutts
Vice President, Policy Development

Helen Cutts was appointed Vice-President of Policy Development in February 2011. Reporting to the President, Helen is responsible for legislative, regulatory and policy elements of environmental assessment.

Before joining the Agency, Helen was the Executive Director of Expenditure Analysis and Compensation Planning at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Prior to that, she was the Director General of the Strategic Policy Branch at Industry Canada.

A good part of her 29-year career was spent with the Department of Finance in a range of areas: economic and fiscal analysis, international negotiations, economic development and financial sector policy. Ms. Cutts started her career as a full-time lecturer in the Economics Department at the University of Waterloo.

Helen completed a Master of Arts from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts from Queen's University, both in the field of economics.

Heather Smith
Vice President, Operations

Heather Smith was appointed Vice-President, Operations at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency effective May 2014.

In previous positions, Heather was Executive Director in the Government Operations Sector of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and Director General in the Strategic Policy Branch at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

Heather held several management positions within Justice Canada, as General Counsel and Head of AAFC Legal Services; General Counsel and Head of Legal Services at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; and General Counsel in the Legal Services Unit of Social Development Canada/Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Heather also served as legal counsel at Environment Canada Legal Services and Manager of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Office at Environment Canada.

Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of King's College and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto. She has also earned the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation from the McMaster/DeGroote Directors College.

Juliet Woodfield
Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Juliet Woodfield joined the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on April 1, 2014 as the Director General of the Corporate Services Sector. A year later, she was appointed Vice-President of the same sector. In this capacity, she has oversight responsibility and leadership for administration, communications, finance, human resources, and information management and technology.

Prior to joining the Agency, Juliet served at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for three years as the Acting Executive Director of Financial Management Policies and Transfer Payments, as well as the Senior Director of Financial Management Community Development at the Office of the Comptroller General (OGG).

From 2007 to 2011, Juliet served at the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), overseeing the financial audits of several federal government departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. She has also been a member of the Professional Practices Group at the OAG, where she led a team responsible for the transition of the OAG to the new Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards.

From 1990 to 2001, Juliet worked as the Director of Finance for a midsize hospital and also as Controller for an oil and gas company in Calgary. For four years, she also served as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Security Investment Program in Brussels, Belgium.

Juliet was born in Northern Ireland and raised in Calgary, AB. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting from the University of Calgary and is a Chartered Professional Accountant with membership in Alberta.

Agency Organizational Chart

Agency Organizational Chart

2015 -2016 Agency Financial Resources

Summary

  • The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's (the Agency) total funding for 2015-2016 to support its statutory mandate is expected to be $32.2 million, funded as follows:
    • $17.4 million in A-base funding and
    • $14.8 million in B-base funding due to sunset in 5 years from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.
  • This supply includes:
    • $17.4 million in total Main Estimates – Vote 1
    • $6.8 million in Supplementary Estimates A for Aboriginal Consultation; and
    • Anticipated $8 million in Supplementary Estimates B for the Major Projects Management Office Initiative.
  • Budget 2015 provided:
    • the Agency with $34 million over five years ($6.8 million per year), starting in 2015-2016 for consultation with Aboriginal peoples, enabling them to participate in the environmental assessment of projects, and
    • the Major Projects Management Office Initiative with $135 million over five years. *************************************************** which included $40 million (8.0 million per year) for the Agency for five years, starting in 2015-2016.
    • The temporary funding associated with these two sunsetting programs represents greater than 45% of the Agency's funding.
  • The Agency is subject to a number of financial pressures which are beyond its control including the volume and timing of environmental assessments, cost of services provided by other government departments, litigation costs, and Access to Information and Privacy Requests.
  • The Agency has lapsed funds in the Participant Funding Program over the past five years, primarily due to market forces which impact on the timing of environmental assessments and related requests for funding.

Background

Budget 2015: Aboriginal Consultation Funding

The Agency's Aboriginal Consultation funding, approved at $6.8 million per year for five years includes:

  • $3.58 million per year to continue to coordinate the fulfillment of the federal Crown's Aboriginal Consultation requirements within the environmental assessment processes that it leads;
  • $3.0 million per year in contribution funding to enable eligible Aboriginal groups to engage in consultation with the Crown during the environmental assessment process and to ensure that Aboriginal communities have the capacity to effectively participate in project reviews; and
  • $0.22 million per year for accommodation charges to be transferred to Public Works and Government Services Canada.
Budget 2015: Major Projects Management Office Initiative

Budget 2015 provided $135 million over five years, starting in 2015-2016 for the Major Projects Management Office Initiative as follows:

  • *************************************************************** included $40 million of this funding for the Agency over five years starting in 2015-2016.
  • As part of this horizontal initiative, this funding will allow the Agency to continue to enable efficient and effective regulatory reviews of major resource projects and advance government-wide efforts to modernize the regulatory system for major resource projects.
  • For 2015-2016, the Agency has provided the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat with a summary of adjustments of $8 million to the Supplementary Estimates (B) process related to this funding.
Market Forces Impact on Environmental Assessment Costs and Participant Funding Program Requests
  • Market forces impact proponents' project investment decisions which in turn impact the volume and timing of environmental assessments of those projects.
  • The costs related to the environmental assessment vary in direct relation to proponent activity and therefore are difficult to predict and plan. This places financial pressures on the Agency due to a high degree of uncertainty in forecasting activity.
  • In addition, the environmental assessment process also spans multiple years which can also subject projects to a number of variables such as market conditions and environmental and economic factors.
  • As a result of this varying environmental assessment activity, the timing of requests for participant funding for consultation also varies and is unpredictable.
  • A commitment to participant funding may be planned in one year but could be realized across multiple fiscal years depending on the progression of the environmental assessment.
  • All commitments are carried forward from one year to another and are honored by the Agency.

2015-2016 Agency Report on Plans and Priorities

2015-2016 Agency Report on Plans and Priorities

Section 3: Decision Making Framework – Key Upcoming Decisions

Environmental Assessment Decision-Making under CEAA 2012 and the Former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Summary

  • Environmental assessments of projects will be brought forward for your decision under either the former Act, or for your decision under CEAA 2012. With the exception of assessments by review panels, CEAA 2012 requires that environmental assessments be completed under the former Act if they were initiated prior to its repeal on July 6, 2012.
  • The former Act required an environmental assessment of a project before a federal authority exercised a power, duty or function in relation to the project. For projects being assessed under the former Act, you must determine the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects, and refer the project back to the federal authority responsible for taking action in relation to the project.
  • CEAA 2012 applies to proponents of potential projects. Under CEAA 2012, you must determine the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects. If it is determined that the project can proceed, you must issue a decision statement with legally enforceable conditions directed at the proponent.

Considerations

Projects under the former Act are subject to a regulated timeline of 365 calendar days for the Agency to submit a comprehensive study report to you. There is no legislated timeline for your environmental assessment decision. A target date for your decision is set by project agreements established through the Major Project Management Office.

Under CEAA 2012, you must make an environmental assessment decision within 365 calendar days of commencing the process for environmental assessments by the Agency, and for panel reviews, within 24 months from the date the project is referred to review panel.

Time taken by the proponent to complete its work or provide information is not included within the 365-day timeline within which you must take your decision on the Project. During this time, the federal timeline is paused, but work on the environmental assessment on the Project continues.

Background

Environmental Assessment Decision under the former Act:

Under section 23 of the former Act, you must determine whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, after taking into account the Report, comments from the public and Aboriginal groups, and the implementation of any mitigation measures you consider appropriate. Your decision is documented in an Environmental Assessment Decision Statement directed to federal authorities responsible for making decisions in relation to the project.

If you think that additional information is necessary or that public concerns need to be addressed further, you can request that the appropriate federal authority or the proponent ensure that this is completed prior to issuing your Environmental Assessment Decision Statement.

If you conclude that the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the Governor in Council (Cabinet) must decide whether these effects are justified in the circumstances.

If you conclude that the Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, or if Cabinet concludes that significant adverse environmental effects are justified, the responsible federal authorities may allow the Project to proceed.

If Cabinet concludes that the significant effects are not justified, the responsible federal authorities cannot make a decision that allows the Project to proceed.

Environmental Assessment Decision under CEAA 2012:

Section 52 of CEAA 2012 requires that you determine whether the Project, taking into account the implementation of mitigation measures that you consider appropriate, is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, as defined in section 5 of CEAA 2012. Your decision is documented in a Decision Statement directed to the proponent.

If you decide that the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, you must refer the Project to Cabinet to decide whether these significant adverse effects are justified in the circumstances.

If you decide that the Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, or if Cabinet decides that the likely significant adverse environmental effects are justified in the circumstances, you must establish conditions with which the proponent must comply. These must include implementation of mitigation measures you considered in making your decision and implementation of a follow-up program.

If Cabinet concludes that the significant effects are not justified, your Decision Statement would not allow the Project to proceed.

Substitution in British Columbia Under CEAA 2012

Summary

  • CEAA 2012 gives the Minister of the Environment the authority to approve the substitution of another jurisdiction's environmental assessment process for an environmental assessment.
  • While other provinces have expressed an interest, British Columbia (B.C.) is the only province that has requested substitution to date.
  • Of the 22 standard federal environmental assessments initiated in B.C. since the coming into force of CEAA 2012, 13 have been substituted to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.
  • The LNG Canada Export Terminal Project was the first substituted project to complete the environmental assessment process; it was approved by both levels of government on June 17, 2015. The Woodfibre LNG Project is the next to reach the environmental assessment decision phase.

Background

CEAA 2012 enables cooperation between the federal government and other jurisdictions in the delivery of timely, high quality environmental assessments through a number of different means. One of these approaches allows you to grant the substitution of the environmental assessment process of another jurisdiction for the environmental assessment process that would otherwise be conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency). This approach achieves the objective of “one project-one assessment” which has been endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Substitution under CEAA 2012 does not apply to environmental assessments conducted by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. In addition, an environmental assessment that has been referred to a review panel cannot be substituted.

CEAA 2012 requires you to approve a substitution request if you are satisfied that conditions for substitution, set out in CEAA 2012, will be met and you are of the opinion that the provincial process would be an appropriate substitute. The conditions for substitution set out in CEAA 2012 are that:

  • the process to be substituted will include consideration of the factors set out in subsection 19(1) (e.g. environmental effects as defined in CEAA 2012, significance of effects, comments from the public);
  • the public will be given an opportunity to participate in the assessment;
  • the public will have access to records in relation to the assessment, to enable their meaningful participation;
  • at the end of the assessment, a report will be submitted to you;
  • the report will be made available to the public; and
  • any other conditions that you establish will be met.

In 2013, the Agency and B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to enable timely and efficient use of the substitution provisions in CEAA 2012, including procedural delegation of Aboriginal consultation to B.C. In the Memorandum of Understanding, B.C. commits to conduct a substituted environmental assessment in a manner that addresses the conditions set out in CEAA 2012, as well as any additional conditions that you may identify. This commitment is confirmed on a project-by-project basis.

Under a substituted environmental assessment process, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office uses the provincial process to examine the environmental effects of the Project, to consult Aboriginal groups, and obtain the views of the public with respect to the environmental effects of the Project.

At the conclusion of the environmental assessment, B.C. submits a report to the Agency, setting out the analysis and conclusions on the significance of the environmental effects. B.C. also provides a report on the results of its Aboriginal consultation activities outlining the potential effects of the Project on existing or potential Aboriginal or treaty rights. You, as Minister of the Environment, must take into account the environmental assessment report when reaching a conclusion on the significance of any adverse environmental effects and in establishing conditions in your environmental assessment Decision Statement under CEAA 2012. The Decision Statement will include conditions the proponent must meet, with respect to the implementation of mitigation measures and a follow-up program. You will also need to determine whether the Agency has met its legal duty to consult Aboriginal groups based on the Aboriginal consultation report.

The next substituted Project requiring your attention in the near future is the Woodfibre LNG Project (see transition book note on the Woodfibre LNG Project).

Key Upcoming Decisions

Key Decisions Requiring Action by the Minister of the Environment by March 31, 2016
Project Name Description of Project EA Type Target Date MOE Decision Decision Sought
Deep Geologic Repository
  • Ontario Power Generation is proposing to construct and operate a facility for the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste at the existing Bruce Nuclear site in Kincardine, Ontario. Used nuclear fuel will not be stored or managed in the proposed facility.
  • The Project would hold waste currently in interim storage on the Bruce Nuclear Generating site, as well as waste from the continued operations of nuclear generating sites at Bruce, Darlington and Pickering, Ontario.
Joint Review Panel with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission **********

EA Decision Required.

The Minister of the Environment must make an environmental assessment decision within the 24 month legislated decision timeline for panel reviews. The former Minister extended this timeline by 90 days until December 2, 2015. The Governor in Council has authority to further extend the time frame for the Minister’s decision.

Mine Arnaud
  • Mine Arnaud Inc. is proposing the construction, operation and decommissioning of a 24-million-tonne apatite concentrate mine in the vicinity of the city of Sept-Iles.
  • The apatite concentrate would be moved to the federal Port of Sept-Iles prior to being shipped.
Comprehensive Study as per the Former Act **********

EA Decision Required.

There is no legislated timeline for the Minister’s environmental assessment decision for projects under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. **********. The MPMO Project Agreement timelines, by approximately weeks to allow for the adequacy of consultation analysis to be completed.

Woodfibre LNG
  • Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited is proposing to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas facility located seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, on the northwestern shoreline of Howe Sound.
  • The project includes the development of a natural gas liquefaction facility and a transfer facility to enable the export of the product to global markets via marine vessels.
  • The project would operate for approximately 25 years and produce between 1.5 and 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year.
Substituted EA by British Columbia under CEAA 2012 **********

EA Decision required.

**********.

Côté Gold Mine Project
  • IAMGOLD is proposing the construction, operation, and decommissioning of an open-pit gold mine and on-site metal mill with a mine and mill life of approximately 15 years.
  • The proposed mine, located 20 kilometres southwest of the community of Gogama in northeastern Ontario, would have an ore production capacity of 60,000 tonnes per day.
Standard EA by Agency under CEAA 2012 **********

EA Decision Required.

The Minister of the Environment must make an environmental assessment decision within 365 calendar days of commencing the process for environmental assessments by the Agency.

Timeline currently paused awaiting information from the proponent.

Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project
  • Teck Resources Limited is proposing to construct, operate and reclaim an oils sands surface mine in northeastern Alberta, with a production capacity of approximately 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen.
  • The proposed mine is located in northeastern Alberta, approximately 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
Joint Review Panel with the Alberta Energy Regulator **********

Signing of Joint Review Panel Agreement with the Alberta Energy Regulator and establishment of the Review Panel Terms of Reference :

The Minister of the Environment may enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction that has EA responsibilities. The Minister is also required to establish the Terms of Reference for the review panel.

Appointment of panel members : The Minister of the Environment is required to appoint a member to the review panel, and to approve the membership of the chairperson and another member, as proposed by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Tazi Twe Hydroelectric Project
  • Black Lake First Nation and Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SaskPower) are proposing the construction and operation of a 42 to 50 megawatt water diversion type electrical generating station at Elizabeth Falls.
  • The project would be located adjacent to the Fond du Lac River between Black Lake and Middle Lake, on Black Lake First Nation Reserve lands in northern Saskatchewan.
Standard EA by Agency under CEAA 2012 **********

Reissue decision statement

The Minister of the Environment will be asked to re-issue the decision statement to correct an Agency error.

Pacific NorthWest LNG
  • Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. is proposing to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine terminal near Prince Rupert, within the District of Port Edward.
  • The Pacific NorthWest LNG facility would be located on Lelu Island and would convert natural gas to LNG for export to Pacific Rim markets in Asia.
Standard EA by Agency under CEAA 2012 **********

EA Decision required.

The Minister of the Environment must make an environmental assessment decision within 365 calendar days of commencing the process for environmental assessments by the Agency.

Timeline currently paused awaiting information from the proponent.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine Project
  • Benga Mining Limited is proposing to construct and operate an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the town of Blairmore in the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta.
  • The mine would have the capacity to produce a maximum of 4 million tonnes of clean coal over a mine life of approximately 25 years.
Joint Review Panel with the Alberta Energy Regulator **********

Signing of Joint Review Panel Agreement with the Alberta Energy Regulator and establishment of the Review Panel Terms of Reference . The Minister of the Environment may enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction that has EA responsibilities, and is required to establish the Terms of Reference for the review panel.

Appointment of panel members : The Minister of the Environment is required to appoint a member to the review panel, and to approve the membership of the chairperson and another member, as proposed by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Milton Logistics Hub Project
  • The Canadian National Railway Company is proposing to construct and operate a railway yard with more than 20 km of track in Milton, Ontario, approximately 50 km west of Toronto.
  • The purpose of the railway yard is to serve as an intermodal hub to transfer approximately 350,000 – 450,000 containers per year between trucks and railcars.
Review Panel **********

Issuance of the Review Panel Terms of Reference OR Signing of Joint Review Panel Agreement with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The Minister of the Environment is required to establish the Terms of Reference for the review panel, and may enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction that has EA responsibilities.

Appointment of panel members : The Minister of the Environment is required to appoint members to the review panel. Should the EA proceed as a joint review panel with the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Minister would be required to approve the membership of the chairperson and another member, as proposed by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project
  • Port Metro Vancouver is proposing to develop a three-berth marine container terminal near the existing Deltaport Terminal and Westshore Terminals.
  • The project would be located approximately 35 km south of Vancouver at Roberts Bank, Delta, British Columbia.
Review Panel ********** Appointment of panel members: The Minister of the Environment is required to appoint 3 members to the review panel.
Strange Lake Rare Earth Mine
  • Quest Rare Mineral Ltd. is proposing to construct an open-pit rare earth metal mine with a concentrator, an airstrip and an 18 kilometre road in northern Quebec near the Labrador border.
  • The proponent proposes to transport the concentrate from the mine by constructing a new 148 kilometre road in Labrador, a new marine terminal in Anaktalak Bay and marine shipping to a processing plant to be constructed in southern Quebec.

Anticipatory Joint EA with the Governments of Nunatiavut and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Project components in Quebec are currently subject to EA under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

**********

Approval of a Memorandum of Understanding

The proposed Agreement would establish the terms of reference for a joint EA process conducted in cooperation with the Governments of Nunatsiavut and Newfoundland and Labrador under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement for EA decisions to make in relation to components of the Project in Labrador.

Sukunka Coal Mine Project
  • Glencore (formerly Xstrata Coal Canada) is proposing to develop and operate an integrated surface and underground metallurgical coal mine in northeast British Columbia.
  • Sukunka Coal Mine Project would be located approximately 55 kilometres south of Chetwynd and 40 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge and would produce 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes per year increasing to 6 million tonnes per year when underground mining begins. The mine life is expected to exceed 20 years.
Substituted EA by British Columbia under CEAA 2012 **********

EA Decision required.

The target date for decision would respect the target timelines established by the Substitution Memorandum of Understanding with British Columbia, which is publicly available.

Other Key Decisions
Item Description Target Date
Financial delegation A new matrix of delegated authorities is to be prepared for signature by the President and Minister within 90 days following the appointment of a new Minister **********
2014 -2015 Departmental Performance Report The report is to be tabled in Parliament by the President of Treasury Board. Treasury Board Secretariat will coordinate the required timelines for signature. **********
2016 -2017 Report on Plans and Priorities This report is tabled in Parliament by the President of the Treasury Board. This report is scheduled for signature by mid-January 2016 to meet the Treasury Board Secretariat’s timelines. **********

Section 4: Projects

Current Review Panels

Deep Geologic Repository Project

Summary
  • Ontario Power Generation (the proponent) is proposing the Deep Geologic Repository Project (the Project) at the Bruce Nuclear site, along the shores of Lake Huron, in Kincardine, Ontario. The Project would be constructed in the bedrock beneath the Bruce Nuclear site and would store low and intermediate-level waste associated with routine clean-up and maintenance at nuclear generating stations at the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington sites.
  • The Project was referred to an environmental assessment by a review panel in June 2007. A Joint Review Panel (the Panel) was subsequently established with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
  • The Panel concluded public hearings in 2014 and provided its report to your predecessor on May 6, 2015. The Panel concluded that the Project would not result in significant adverse environmental effects taking into account mitigation measures proposed by the Panel. The Panel made several recommendations regarding conditions the proponent should be required to implement if the Project proceeds.
  • In accordance with section 54 of the CEAA 2012 and with the timelines established by your predecessor, you must issue an Environmental Assessment Decision Statement by December 2, 2015. The Governor in Council has authority to extend this timeframe, if you require additional time to consider the circumstances of this Project.
Considerations

On June 3, 2015, your predecessor announced that she had extended the time limit for the issuance of the decision statement by 90 days until December 2, 2015. On the same day, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) initiated a public comment period requesting comments on potential conditions related to possible mitigation measures and follow-up requirements that could be necessary if the Project is authorized to proceed.

The public comment period received considerable attention in nearby communities and communities surrounding the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron, with over 700 comments received. The majority of the comments were from individuals residing in the State of Michigan and expressed opposition to the Project, citing concerns over the potential contamination of the Great Lakes.

You must now decide whether the Project, taking into account the implementation of the identified mitigation measures, is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The Agency will provide you with a memorandum, which takes into consideration the public comments received, to seek your decision by December 2, 2015.

If you approve the Project, you must establish conditions with which the proponent must comply to address adverse environmental effects.

If you require additional time to consider this Project, the Governor in Council has authority to extend the time frame for your decision. In light of the current decision timelines, the process to seek an extension should be initiated as soon as possible.

Background

The proponent proposes to construct and operate a facility for the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste at the existing Bruce Nuclear Generating site. Low level waste consists of industrial items that have become contaminated with low levels of radioactivity during routine clean-up and maintenance at nuclear generating stations. This can include mops, rags, floor sweepings, clothing and tools. Intermediate level waste is radioactive to a level where shielding is required to protect workers during handling. This waste consists primarily of used nuclear fuel reactor components, ion exchange resins, and filters used to purify reactor systems.

The Project would be constructed in the stable limestone bedrock 680 metres beneath the Bruce Nuclear Generating site. The surface facilities would consist of the underground access and ventilation buildings, associated temporary and permanent buildings and related infrastructure. The underground facilities would include shafts, ramps and tunnels, emplacement rooms, various service areas and installations.

Licenses from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are required in order to prepare the site and to construct and operate the facility.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=17520

Frontier Oil Sands Project

Summary
  • Teck Resources Limited (the proponent) proposes to construct, operate and reclaim the Frontier Oils Sands surface mine in northeastern Alberta, with a production capacity of approximately 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen.
  • The former Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Peter Kent, referred the Project to an environmental assessment by review panel in January 2012. The Agency and the Alberta Energy Regulator (the Regulator) are currently completing a cooperative review of the proponent's Environmental Impact Statement, to ensure that the information on the record is sufficient for the Joint Review Panel to conduct the environmental assessment.
  • You will be asked to sign the Joint Review Panel Agreement with the Chief Executive Officer of the Regulator. You will also be asked to appoint the federal member of the panel, and to approve the appointment of Alberta's nominees for the panel chair and an additional panel member.
  • The proponent is expected to submit the requested information in the spring of 2016. Should the Agency and the Regulator determine that the information is complete, you will be asked to announce the establishment of the Review Panel (the Panel) with the Regulator.
Considerations

Key issues identified during the review of the Environmental Impact Statement include concerns related to wildlife, specifically bison and caribou, and impacts to Aboriginal rights. Since the Project was referred to assessment by a Panel in 2012, the proponent has made significant changes to the project design. The Agency and the Regulator have issued five rounds of supplemental information requests seeking sufficient information to enable a Panel to initiate its review. The proponent is currently responding to the most recent request.

It is likely that the cooperative Agency and Regulator review of the Environmental Impact Statement will be completed in ******************. When the Environmental Impact Statement is sufficient, the Agency will recommend that the panel be established.

CEAA 2012 requires that panel members be unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to the Project and have knowledge or experience relevant to its anticipated effects. The former ******************. The Province is reviewing the Joint Review Panel Agreement as well as the proposed appointment of the federal member as a hearing commissioner of the Regulator and a member of the Panel. In accordance with the terms of that Agreement, you will be requested to appoint a federal member, and to approve the appointment of Alberta's nominees for the panel chair and an additional member.

The Agency is also responsible for coordinating federal Crown consultation that is integrated into the environmental assessment process and used to determine any potential impacts of the Project to potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Concerns have been raised by many Aboriginal groups regarding their capacity to bring forward their issues within the timelines established for the Panel process.

Background

The Project includes the construction, operation and reclamation of an oil sands surface mine with a production capacity of about 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen. The Project is located in northeastern Alberta, approximately 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The Project is a truck and shovel mine which includes one open pit, an ore preparation plant, a bitumen processing plant, tailings preparation and management facilities, cogeneration facilities, support utilities, disposal and storage areas, river water intake, a fish habitat compensation lake, bridge, roads, airfield and camp. The estimated project area is over 24,000 hectares. If approved, the Project would operate for 41 years.

Since the proponent submitted its original Environmental Impact Statement in 2011, it has made substantial changes to the Project, including enlarging the main pit, eliminating the Southern Development Area, increasing the amount of bitumen to be recovered by an additional 200 million barrels, changing the proposed tailings management, proposing a new reclamation plan and adding an access road and bridge crossing the Athabasca River.

The following Aboriginal groups are potentially affected by the Project, including the Mikisew Cree First Nation, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, Fort McKay Métis, Métis Nation of Alberta Association Local #125, Métis Nation of Alberta Association Region 1, Fort McMurray First Nation #468, Métis Nation of Alberta Association Fort McMurray Local Council 1935, and the Métis Nation of Alberta Association Lakeland Local Council 1909.

The Agency is providing participant funding to assist the public participants in the review process and Aboriginal groups with their consultation on the Project and its potential effects.

An overall time limit of 22.5 months was established for the completion of the environmental assessment, including the following specific time limits for the three stages of the Panel process:

  1. Pre-panel phase (8.5 months from the coming-into-force of CEAA 2012);
  2. Panel phase (10 months); and
  3. Post-panel phase (4 months).

These time limits do not include any time required by the proponent to respond to information requests or undertake further studies as may be sought by the Minister, the Agency or the Panel during the environmental assessment process.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=65505.

Grassy Mountain Gold Mine Project

Summary
  • Benga Mining Limited (the proponent) proposes to construct and operate an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the town of Blairmore in the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta.
  • On July 16, 2015, your predecessor referred the environmental assessment to a review panel after considering the proposed project's potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects and concerns expressed by the public and Aboriginal groups in relation to those effects.
  • The Agency is in discussions with the Alberta Energy Regulator (the Regulator) to establish a joint review panel.
  • It is anticipated that the Terms of Reference for a joint review panel will be finalized, after a 45-day public comment period, and that you will be able to appoint, or approve the appointment of the joint review panel members in early spring 2016.
Considerations

The proposed mine permit area overlaps with mapped critical habitat for the Westslope Cutthroat Trout, listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and a Recovery Strategy and Plan are in place for this species. However, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has not yet issued a Protection Order under section 58 of SARA, which would expressly prohibit the destruction of critical habitat for the species. In September 2015, the Alberta Wilderness Association and the Timberwolf Wilderness Society initiated legal action against the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding the absence of a SARA protection order for Westslope Cutthroat Trout critical habitat.

Various high profile environmental organizations, including the Alberta Wilderness Association, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, EcoJustice, Timberwolf Wilderness Society and Freshwater Research Limited have registered their concerns about the potential effects of the proposed project on the environment. Approximately 80 comments were received from the public during two public consultation periods on the Project Description and the draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

The Agency has identified 11 Aboriginal groups who may be potentially affected by the proposed project. Comments received to date from these Aboriginal groups relate to potential adverse effects to country foods, to social and ceremonial uses of the project area, to air quality, to cumulative effects to the watershed and biodiversity, and changes to Aboriginal community health and socio-economic conditions.

In September 2015, the Regulator initiated an investigation of the proponent regarding the possible release of coal from the Project site into Gold Creek, which contains critical habitat for the Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

Background

The Agency issued the Guidelines for the Preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement to the proponent on June 24, 2015.

The Agency is working with the Regulator to establish an efficient way to integrate the Regulator's technical review into the joint review panel process. ******************.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80101.

Milton Logistics Hub Project

Summary
  • The Canadian National Railway Company (the proponent) is proposing to construct and operate a logistics hub to transfer containers between trucks and railcars in Milton, Ontario, west of Toronto.
  • On July 20, 2015, your predecessor referred the environmental assessment of the proposed project to a review panel.
  • In the coming months, you will be asked to issue the Terms of Reference for the Review Panel. This document will contain the Panel's mandate and outline the process for the environmental assessment process.
  • Following the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement by the proponent, the Agency will determine whether the documentation is sufficient to allow the review panel to conduct the environmental assessment. At that point in time, you will be asked to establish the Panel and appoint panel members.
Considerations

The Canadian Transportation Agency has confirmed that, for the proposed project to proceed, an authorization will be needed pursuant to the Canadian Transportation Act. The Agency is working with the Canadian Transportation Agency to define an efficient review process that will gather and consider the necessary information for the both environmental assessment and the Canadian Transportation Agency's authorization.

There is a high level of public concern regarding the proposed project. The Region of Halton, the Town of Milton, the Town of Oakville, the City of Burlington and the Town of Halton Hills (collectively, the “Halton Municipalities”), as well as many residents in the area, are opposed to the Project. Recently, the former Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, publicly announced that she had given up her ministerial responsibilities for the file in order to stand with her constituents in opposing the Project.

There are four Aboriginal groups, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Six Nations of the Grand River, the Métis Nation of Ontario, and the Huronne Wendant First Nation, potentially affected by the Project. The Agency is responsible for coordinating federal Crown consultation that is integrated in the environmental assessment process and used to determine any potential impacts to potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights.

In the next phase of the environmental assessment, you will be asked to appoint members to the Review Panel. As per the requirements of CEAA 2012, panel members must be unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to the Project and have knowledge or experience relevant to its anticipated effects.

Background

The proponent proposes to construct and operate a railway yard with more than 20 kilometres of track located in Milton, Ontario, approximately 50 kilometres west of Toronto. The purpose of the railway yard is to serve as a hub for intermodal containers being transferred between trucks and railcars to meet the growing demand for the movement of goods within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The hub will transfer approximately 350,000 containers per year at the start of operation and 450,000 containers at full operation. The proposed project is estimated to result in approximately 800 trucks per weekday entering and exiting the project site.

In May 2015, the Agency commenced a federal environmental assessment of the Project. The Project was referred to a review panel in July 2015 due to its potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects and concerns expressed by the public and Aboriginal groups in relation to those effects. The Agency has issued the Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement to the proponent.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency and Transport Canada have indicated that they would be required to exercise a power or perform a duty or function to allow the Project to proceed. The Project is not subject to a provincial assessment pursuant to Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act.

Your predecessor established an overall time limit of 24 months for the completion of the environmental assessment, including specific time limits for the three stages of the review panel process:

  1. Pre-Panel phase (5 months);
  2. Panel phase (14 months); and
  3. Post-Panel phase (5 months).

These time limits do not include any time required by the proponent to respond to information requests or undertake further studies as may be sought by the Minister, the Agency or the Panel during the environmental assessment process.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80100.

Roberts Banks Terminal 2 Project

Summary
  • Port Metro Vancouver (the proponent) proposes to develop a three-berth marine container terminal near the existing Deltaport Terminal and Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank, Delta, British Columbia (B.C.).
  • On January 7, 2014, your predecessor referred the environmental assessment of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project to an environmental assessment by a review panel.
  • On July 31, 2015, following a public comment period on the proponent's Environmental Impact Statement, the Agency directed the proponent to provide additional information to satisfy the requirements of the guidelines issued for the Project.
  • The proponent submitted the required additional information and an addendum on marine shipping associated with the Project in the fall of 2015.
Considerations

Port Metro Vancouver is Canada's largest port and is responsible for the stewardship of federal port lands in and around Vancouver, B.C. Port Metro Vancouver was established pursuant to the Canada Marine Act, and is accountable to the federal Minister of Transport.

The ecological importance of Roberts Bank and the Fraser River estuary is acknowledged by a range of international, provincial and private designations, including the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and B.C.'s Wildlife Act.

Concern related to the potential environmental effects of the Project and the potential effects of marine shipping related to the Project continue to be expressed by the public, Aboriginal groups and other levels of government. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology have been informed about the Project and the review panel process. The Environmental Protection Agency has indicated that they are pleased with the inclusion of marine shipping in the review and expressed concern regarding marine-based accidents and malfunctions that may have transboundary effects.

The Agency will recommend that you establish the Review Panel when it determines that there is enough information for the Review Panel to commence its review of the Environmental Impact Statement. You will be asked to appoint the members of the Review Panel. As per the requirements of CEAA 2012, panel members must be unbiased and free from any conflict of interest relative to the Project and have knowledge or experience relevant to its anticipated effects.

Background

The proponent is proposing to develop the Project to ensure adequate container capacity to meet projected demand to 2030. The Project consists of a new three-berth marine container terminal located approximately 35 kilometres south of Vancouver at Roberts Bank, Delta, B.C. adjacent to the existing Deltaport Terminal and Westshore Terminals, and includes a berth pocket, marine terminal, tug basin expansion and causeway expansion. The Project would roughly double the footprint of the existing port and causeway and provide an additional 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units of container capacity per year at Roberts Bank.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, Health Canada, Transport Canada and Environment Canada have indicated that they would be required to exercise a power or perform a duty or function to allow the Project to proceed. Officials at Fisheries and Oceans Canada indicate that the review process would enable confirmation of whether the Project is likely to result in destruction of critical habitat for the southern resident killer whale and identification of potential mitigation measures. ******************.

On November 7, 2013, the Agency determined that the Project requires a federal environmental assessment under CEAA 2012. On April 17, 2015, following the referral of the environmental assessment to a review panel, your predecessor issued the Review Panel Terms of Reference and the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (the Guidelines) were updated to reflect the inclusion of marine shipping associated with the Project as a factor to be taken into account in the environmental assessment. On July 31, 2015, following a 45-day comment period on the completeness of the Proponent's environmental impact statement, the Agency directed the proponent to submit additional information to satisfy the requirements of the Guidelines.

The proponent expects to submit the additional information required by the Agency, along with an addendum to its Environmental Impact Statement to address marine shipping associated with the Project, in the fall of 2015.

Consultation with potentially impacted Aboriginal groups has been initiated by the Agency.

Under CEAA 2012, the overall time limit for the completion of the environmental assessment is 24 months, established for this project as follows:

  1. Pre-panel phase – establishment of the Panel: 150 days (5 months);
  2. Panel phase – submission of the Panel's report: 430 days (14 months); and
  3. Post-panel phase – Minister of the Environment's issuance of the Decision Statement: 150 days (5 months).

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80054.

Current Environmental Assessment Projects led by the Agency

Ajax Gold Copper Mine

Summary
  • KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. (the proponent) is proposing the development of the Ajax Mine Project (the Project), an open pit copper-gold mine with the primary mine components adjacent to, but outside of, the city boundaries of Kamloops, British Columbia (B.C.).
  • The Agency is conducting an environmental assessment of the Project pursuant to the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Project is also subject to a review under B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Act.
  • The proponent submitted its Environmental Impact Statement to the Agency on September 11, 2015. The Agency reviewed the Environmental Impact Statement for completeness, and provided the proponent with the results of this review on October 13, 2015. Once the proponent has adequately addressed these comments on the Environmental Impact Statement, the Agency will proceed with a public comment period with B.C..
  • The Project area is subject to an active Aboriginal title claim action in the B.C. courts by the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation.
Considerations

The Project is the subject of considerable concern related to air quality, water quality, human health, fish and fish habitat, the potential for a spill resulting from a failure of the tailings storage facility and potential Aboriginal title to the Project area from both the public and Aboriginal groups potentially affected by the Project.

The Project is undergoing a cooperative environmental assessment by the Agency and B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office and has included opportunities for public involvement. The Agency has previously received multiple requests for referral to a review panel, including from the City of Kamloops. Based on the information currently available on the potential environmental effects of the Project, the Agency is of the view that a comprehensive study is the most appropriate type of assessment. The Project components are generally well understood and, with the application of proven mitigation measures, it is expected that most adverse effects can be minimized.

The Agency is consulting six Aboriginal groups in relation to the Project and has identified the Tk'emlúps and Skeetchestn Indian Bands, represented by the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, as the Aboriginal groups requiring a high depth of consultation. The Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation has actively engaged in the environmental assessment and integrated consultation process. In May 2015, B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office notified the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation of B.C.'s view that the Nation has a strong prima facie claim to Aboriginal title within the project area. In a June 2015 letter to Ministers of the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs, the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation asserted Aboriginal title where the Project is located.

On September 21, 2015, the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation filed an Aboriginal rights and title claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. in relation to Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation territory, which overlaps directly with the Project site. Most of the Project site would be on privately-owned land. The Agency is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation regarding the proposed federal consultation approach, and is actively consulting them in regards to potential impacts from the Project on their asserted Aboriginal rights and title. The Agency will also be participating in the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation's independent, community-based Project assessment hearings as an observer.

The Agency will conduct enhanced public consultation on the Environmental Impact Statement once it is accepted for technical review, which is likely to begin in the new calendar year. The public comment period has been expanded to 75 days and will include multiple opportunities for public engagement through a series of information sessions with representatives of the government and proponent available to the public. The City of Kamloops is also consulting the public on the Environmental Impact Statement in a separate process, independent from the Agency and B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office.

Background

The proposed mine is an open-pit copper/gold mine with a production capacity of up to 65 000 tonnes per day. The proponent requires an authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and a licence from Natural Resources Canada under the Fisheries Act and Explosives Act respectively for the Project to proceed. Environment Canada and Health Canada are participating in the environmental assessment as Federal Authorities.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=62225

Arnaud Apatite Mine

Summary
  • Mine Arnaud (the proponent) is proposing to develop an apatite mine in Sept-Îles as well as facilities at the port of Sept-Îles.
  • The Agency is conducting an environmental assessment under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  • The Agency prepared a comprehensive study report, which was made available to the public and Aboriginal groups for a comment period from July 31 to August 28, 2015. The Agency concluded in the report that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, taking into account the mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Agency as well as those that the proponent has committed to implementing.
  • The Agency will send you a recommendation regarding your decision about the significance of any potential environmental effects and about referral of the project back to the responsible authorities so that they may exercise their powers by ******************.
Considerations

The project has led to a polarized debate in the community of Sept-Îles. Many public events and demonstrations were held locally during the environmental assessment for this project. The debate concerns the economic benefits of long-term employment opportunities as well as the potential negative impacts on air quality and human health and the expected disturbance to residents located about a kilometre from the mining project.

According to the proponent, this project would contribute to the regional economy by creating 330 direct jobs during operations and generating an investment that could reach more than $750 million.

The Innu First Nation of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam commented about the project's impact on the use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, as well as on water resources and on Sept-Îles Bay, to which the First Nation claims Aboriginal title.

******************.

In February 2015, the Government of Quebec authorized the project after an environmental and social impact assessment conducted under Chapter I of Quebec's Environment Quality Act.

Background

The project proposed by the proponent involves the operation of an open-pit apatite mine located approximately 12 km west of downtown Sept-Îles and the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Innu Community. The project also involves facilities on Sept-Îles Port Authority property (Pointe-Noire sector) as well as the relocation of an 8-km section of a railway.

The environmental assessment of the project began on January 11, 2012, that is, before adoption of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and must be conducted under the previous Act. The Agency carried out the comprehensive study in collaboration with representatives of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency and Health Canada. The comprehensive study report (the report) was released to the public for comments on July 31, 2015.

The environmental assessment concerned the effects of the project on water resources, fish and fish habitat, terrestrial wildlife and terrestrial wildlife habitat, birds and bird habitat, the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and human health.

The Agency established an electronic registry for the project in order to make key documents and information available. You will find the registry at the following address: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=63926

Cote Gold Mine

Summary
  • IAMGOLD Corporation (the proponent) is proposing an open pit gold mine, on-site metal mill and four water diversion structures (the Project), located 20 kilometres southwest of Gogama, Ontario. The Project is subject to environmental assessments under CEAA 2012 and Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act.
  • The Agency will consult the public and Aboriginal groups on a draft Environmental Assessment Report (draft Report) and potential conditions.
  • The Agency will then finalize the Report and proposed conditions to support your environmental assessment decisions under CEAA 2012, ******************.
Considerations

The proponent proceeded with the federal and provincial environmental assessment processes, ******************.

The Agency is preparing the draft Environmental Assessment Report and is working to resolve outstanding matters with limited information regarding specific effects in two key areas:

  • effects on Aboriginal people and specific mitigation measures to address those effects; and
  • effects on fish and fish habitat and uncertainty with surface water quality predictions.

Specifically, the Agency has questions in the following areas: property boundary, restrictions on the ability to conduct traditional practices (such as hunting, trapping, fishing and plant gathering) and mechanisms to protect health within the property boundary. Furthermore, the Agency is reviewing provincial concerns with surface water quality and determining the environmental effects as defined in section 5 of CEAA 2012, including on fish and fish habitat.

The outstanding issues are consistent with questions that the province of Ontario also has with respect to the information provided by the proponent. On October 8, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change met with the proponent and indicated that there are outstanding issues in these areas and made a commitment to issue an information request. Furthermore, the provincial Minister of the Environment and Climate Change has provided provincial officials a timeline extension to address these outstanding technical matters. ******************.

The Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change are working cooperatively to the fullest extent possible; however, the two processes are misaligned with an anticipated provincial environmental assessment decision in ******************.

Background

The Project, with a mine and mill life of approximately 15 years, located in northeastern Ontario, would have an ore production capacity and ore input capacity of 60 000 tonnes per day.

Potential environmental effects within federal jurisdiction include:

  • changes to the abundance and distribution of fish through the construction of retention dams, watercourse realignments, and the draining of a lake;
  • removal of migratory bird habitat during the construction phase of the Project, and general disturbance during operations;
  • changes in the ability of Aboriginal peoples to use lands or resources for traditional purposes or access sites of cultural, spiritual, or ceremonial value;
  • disruption of canoe routes during the operations phase and possible related socio-economic effects; and
  • potential loss of access to water bodies, roads, traplines, recreational areas and trails.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80036

Eagle's Nest Project - Ring of Fire

Summary
  • The Ring of Fire is located approximately 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. It is an area of rich mining potential with deposits of chromite, nickel, copper and platinum.
  • The only project currently undergoing a federal environmental assessment in the area is the Eagle's Nest Project (the Project) proposed by Noront Resources Ltd. (the proponent). The underground multi-metal mine project is also subject to a review under Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act.
  • The Agency is working collaboratively with the province to coordinate, to the extent possible, both environmental assessment processes and to ensure decisions are informed by public and Aboriginal participation and a thorough understanding of the environmental effects.
  • Both governments are waiting for the proponent to file its final Environmental Impact Statement.
Considerations

The Agency provided the proponent with Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines in January 2012, which set out information requirements and provisions for enhanced Aboriginal engagement.

In February and March 2014, the Agency provided the proponent with federal comments, including provincial scientific and technical input, on its draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Agency is waiting for the proponent to provide the final document.

On June 18, 2015, the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change approved the Terms of Reference for the Project, which set out provincial information requirements and included specific provisions for enhanced Aboriginal consultation that are consistent with provisions in the Province of Ontario's Framework Agreement (Framework Agreement) with Mattawa First Nations.

A second project was also being considered in the Ring of Fire. However, in early 2015, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. withdrew its proposal to develop a large open-pit/underground chromite ore deposit from environmental review. The mining rights were subsequently sold to the proponent.

Background

The Eagle's Nest Project is an underground multi-metal (nickel, copper, palladium, platinum, gold and silver) mine, with an east-west transportation corridor. The federal environmental assessment of the Project commenced on November 1, 2011.

The Government of Ontario has taken a holistic approach to working with Aboriginal communities located near the Ring of Fire. Ontario's Framework Agreement, announced on March 26, 2014 and publicly released on April 25, 2014, provides for a “government-to-government” relationship between the parties, enhanced participation in provincial environmental assessment and land-use planning processes and regional infrastructure planning and implementation.

On August 28, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced the creation of the Ring of Fire Development Corporation (Development Corporation) to support infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire area by bringing together public and private partners, including First Nations.

On March 1, 2015, the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and the Honourable Greg Rickford, the federal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, jointly announced investments of $393,814 each to enable the Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik First Nations to complete a regional community service corridor study. These First Nation communities are Mattawa communities who signed the Framework Agreement with Ontario.

FedNor and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada have the joint lead in coordinating the federal Action Plan in the Ring of Fire.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=63925

Pacific Northwest LNG

Summary
  • Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. (the proponent) is proposing to construct and operate the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project (the Project), a liquefied natural gas facility and marine terminal, near Prince Rupert, British Columbia (B.C.).
  • The Agency is conducting an environmental assessment of the Project under CEAA 2012.
  • A key aspect of the federal environmental assessment is the potential for the Project to impact habitat for Skeena River salmon, specifically at Flora Bank in the Skeena River estuary, and the associated potential for impacts on asserted and established Aboriginal rights and title. Greenhouse gas emissions are also an area of concern identified in the environmental assessment.
  • The Project is proposed primarily on federal lands. The Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams have filed a legal action to claim Aboriginal title to this area in the Supreme Court of B.C. and are asking the court to prevent the government from issuing authorizations that would allow the Project to proceed.
Considerations

Due to the potential of the Project to impact habitat for Skeena River salmon, the Agency is working closely with federal experts at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada to carefully assess potential effects on Flora Bank and on marine species that utilize the area. In June 2015, the Agency requested additional information from the proponent to better characterize the potential effects of the Project on fish and fish habitat. The Agency and federal experts are working closely with the proponent as it develops the necessary information.

Once the proponent satisfies the requirements of the June 2, 2015 request, the Agency will finalize its analysis and conclusions regarding the environmental effects of the Project in draft Environmental Assessment Report (the Report). The Agency will hold a public comment period on the Report along with proposed draft conditions for the proponent to address environmental effects.

After taking into account public and Aboriginal comments, the Agency will seek your decision on whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. If you decide that significant effects are likely, Cabinet must determine whether the effects are justified in the circumstances.

The Agency, as Crown Consultation Coordinator, is consulting with six First Nations on the environmental assessment of the Project: Lax Kw'alaams Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Kitselas First Nation, Kitsumkalum First Nation, and Gitga'at First Nation. The six First Nations all assert rights and/or title in and around the Project site and Prince Rupert harbour area and have raised concerns throughout the environmental assessment about the impact of the Project on fish because of the location of the marine components of the project.

The Project is at the forefront of the Province of B.C.'s strategy to develop the liquefied natural gas sector in order to create jobs and economic opportunity and has garnered substantial interest from Aboriginal groups, the public and media. It is often touted as the front-runner of the approximately 20 proposed LNG projects in B.C.

Background

The Project is a large-scale LNG facility, with an estimated capital cost of $11.2 billion, which would convert natural gas to liquefied natural gas for export to Pacific Rim markets in Asia. The Project includes an LNG facility on Lelu Island and a marine terminal on adjacent waters. Most of the Project components are on federal lands managed by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The Project is expected to create 4500 jobs during peak construction with 330 direct operational jobs through the 25 year estimated life of the facility's operations.

On November 25, 2014, the provincial Minister of Environment and Minister of Natural Gas Development issued an environmental assessment Certificate for the Project, as well as for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, a natural gas pipeline proposed by TransCanada Pipeline Limited, intended to supply the facility with natural gas sourced from northeast B.C. The pipeline is not subject to federal environmental assessment.

The Project is majority-owned by PETRONAS, Malaysia's national energy company. Minority partners include JAPEX, Sinopec/Huadian, Indian Oil and PetroleumBRUNEI.

On June 11, 2015, the proponent announced a positive Final Investment Decision subject to two conditions: approval of the Project Development Agreement by the Legislative Assembly of B.C. and a positive regulatory decision on the environmental assessment by the Government of Canada. On July 21, 2015, B.C. passed the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act to enable the Project Development Agreement with the proponent.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80032

Port de Quebec Deepwater Multipurpose Wharf

Summary
  • The Quebec Port Authority is proposing the Beauport 2020 Project, which involves the development of new port infrastructure in the Beauport Bay in Quebec City. The project is located entirely on federal lands and is therefore not subject to provincial environmental assessment.
  • The Agency is conducting an environmental assessment in accordance with the CEAA 2012. At the request of the Quebec Port Authority and in response to the concerns raised by the public and the Quebec government, your predecessor designated the project under CEAA 2012 on July 31, 2015.
  • The project is the topic of regular media coverage in the Quebec City area. A number of community watchdog committees are monitoring the Port's activities given the dust problems in areas near the port in the past.
  • Although Quebec legislation does not apply, the Agency is involving the Quebec government as an expert in the federal environmental assessment of the project.
Considerations

The Quebec Port Authority is proposing a deep-water multipurpose wharf project in the Beauport port sector in Quebec City. The project requires an investment of $190 million, and the federal government has set aside $60 million.

The Agency and federal authorities are collaborating on the environmental assessment of the project and anticipate negative effects on components of the environment that fall under federal jurisdiction, as described in section 5 of CEAA 2012, namely fish and fish habitat, and migratory birds. As Crown Consultation Coordinator for Aboriginal consultations, the Agency has identified potentially harmful effects on the potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights of ten Aboriginal groups.

Background

On July 31, 2015, your predecessor designated the project under the authority granted by subsections 14(2) and 14(4) of CEAA 2012. This ministerial order was established following a request by the Quebec Port Authority in response to concerns raised by the public and Quebec government concerning the self-assessment process undertaken by the Quebec Port Authority in January 2015, as provided for under section 67 of CEAA 2012.

Because the project is located on federal lands, the provincial environmental assessment process does not apply to the project. However, given the Quebec government's interest in the project and the project's effects on the local populations, the Agency and the Quebec Department of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MDDELCC) have agreed to a collaborative approach that respects the principles of the Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment. This approach applies to port projects subject to the federal environmental assessment process for which the Agency is responsible (in Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay). A Quebec government representative is working with the Federal Environmental Assessment Committee as an expert in the areas of provincial jurisdiction, namely changes in air quality and the health and social effects of these changes.

The Agency has created an electronic registry for the project in order to make key information and documents accessible. The registry can be found at the following address: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80107

Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project

Summary
  • BP Canada Energy Group ULC (the proponent) is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling program (the Project) approximately 230 to 370 kilometres off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. The program could include up to seven exploration wells in water depths between 100 metres and greater than 3000 metres.
  • The Agency commenced an environmental assessment of the Project on September 16, 2015, under CEAA 2012.
  • The Project is expected to attract public concern and media attention, particularly with respect to the environmental effects of a worst-case accident scenario (i.e. a well blowout causing oil spill) and associated environmental effects and response procedures.
Considerations

The Agency posted draft guidelines for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement on September 16, 2015, and invited the submission of public comments until October 16, 2015. Following the public comment period, the Agency will provide final Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines to the proponent.

The Agency has made funding available to enable members of the public and Aboriginal groups to participate in the environmental assessment of the Project. The Agency is consulting with Aboriginal groups in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that may hold communal commercial fishing licences in the project area and regional assessment area, as well as groups whose fishing activity may be affected by a large-scale spill.

Public concern about the Project to date has focussed on the effects of a potential large oil spill on the marine environment and general opposition to oil and gas exploration. Following the June 2015 environmental assessment decision for Shell Canada's Shelburne Basin Venture Exploration Drilling Project, another exploration drilling project offshore Nova Scotia, the media reported on Shell Canada's plan to take 12 to 21 days to install a capping system in the event of a blowout. This issue has carried over to the Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project, with specific questions being asked about the potential effects of a blowout and BP Canada Energy Group ULC's proposed response plan.

Regulatory changes under CEAA 2012 are proposed to enable the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to conduct environmental assessments for projects it regulates, such as the Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project. The Agency is responsible for conducting the environmental assessment until the regulatory changes come into force. The Agency is working closely with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to ensure a smooth transition of regulatory responsibilities within the normal CEAA 2012 timeframes.

Background

Commencing in 2017, BP Canada Energy Group ULC proposes to drill up to seven exploration wells within four Exploration License blocks (2431, 2432, 2433 and 2434) in water depths ranging from 100 metres to more than 3,000 metres. The blocks together comprise an area of almost 14,000 square kilometres. Specific drilling locations will be determined using seismic data gathered as part of the Tangier 3D Seismic Survey conducted in 2014.

During the five months of the Tangier 3D Seismic Survey, 20 species of marine mammals and three species of sea turtles were observed in the survey area. Of these, a number of species that are listed as endangered on the Species at Risk Act were observed, including blue whales, northern bottlenose whales, and leatherback sea turtles.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80109

Sisson Tungsten and Molybdenum Mine

Summary
  • Sisson Mines Ltd. (the proponent) proposes to construct and operate an open pit tungsten-molybdenum mine and associated infrastructure (the Project) 60 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
  • The Project requires an environmental assessment under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and is also being assessed by the Province of New Brunswick. The environmental assessments are being coordinated to the extent possible.
  • First Nations and the public have expressed strong concern about potential impacts of the Project on asserted and established Aboriginal rights. They are also concerned about the proposed tailings management, the potential for tailings dam failure, and impacts to water quality, including impacts to the Outer Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon which is recommended as an endangered species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • The Agency is currently awaiting information from the proponent on archaeological resources in the Project area, in order to conclude whether the Project is likely to have significant adverse effects on the environment and/or on Aboriginal rights.
Considerations

Potentially significant pre-contact Aboriginal archaeological resources have been identified within the Project footprint. The Province of New Brunswick has hired 70 technicians from First Nation communities to assist the proponent to complete archaeological field work during the 2015 field season to determine the extent and location of these resources.

Once the Agency is has received information from the proponent on the impact of the Project on archeological resources, it will complete its draft Comprehensive Study Report (the Report). The Report will be provided to First Nations for review before it is finalized and provided to you. The Agency will seek comments from the public on the final Report which you must take into consideration prior to issuing your environmental assessment decision.

The Agency, Province of New Brunswick and the proponent have been consulting the Assembly of First Nations of Chiefs in New Brunswick on the Project. The Assembly originally represented 13 of the 15 First Nations groups in New Brunswick with Saint Mary's and Woodstock First Nations opting to be consulted independently from the Assembly. However, in the summer of 2015 other groups, Madawaska and Tobique First Nations, decided that they will no longer be represented by the Assembly. As a result, the Agency will consult these groups separately for the remaining steps in the environmental assessment process.

When drafting the Report in winter 2015, the Agency advised the proponent that the information provided remained deficient in the following four areas: cumulative effects, accidents and malfunctions, wetlands, and archaeology. Further information was received; however, assessment of impacts regarding archeological resources remains outstanding notably, baseline information needed to characterize the site.

Background

The Project would involve an open-pit mine (95 acres, or 38 hectares) and associated processing, storage and waste management facilities, as well as a new 42 kilometre transmission line running alongside an existing line. The ore will be extracted, crushed and processed on site. The plant would extract an average of 30,000 tonnes of ore per day, over 350 working days per year. The mine and ore processing plant would operate for about 27 years and employ approximately 300 people. Transportation options for the processed mineral concentrates include trucking to a local railhead for rail delivery to buyers, trucking directly to buyers in the northeastern United States of America or trucking to a New Brunswick port for shipboard delivery to buyers.

Concerns raised by First Nations, the public and/or government experts include:

  • potential water quality degradation and impacts on fish through seepage from the tailings storage facility, releases of water from the water management plant (e.g. increased concentrations of trace metals), and changes to flow regimes;
  • potential loss of wetland and wetland function, including removal of habitat supporting avian species at risk;
  • potential for tailings dam failure, and the resultant impact on the Nashwaak River, an important salmon producing tributary of the Saint John River;
  • potential effects on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Aboriginal persons given that greater than 1000 hectares of land would be directly lost as a result of the Project and taking into account the cumulative effects of development in New Brunswick; and,
  • impacts on heritage resources recognizing that pre-contact archaeological resources have been identified in the proposed footprint of the open pit and tailings storage facility.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=63169

Current Substituted Environmental Assessment Projects

Woodfibre LNG

Summary
  • Woodfibre LNG Limited (the proponent) is proposing to construct and operate the Woodfibre LNG Project (the Project), a liquefied natural gas facility and marine terminal near Squamish, British Columbia (B.C.).
  • It will be the second project to complete an environmental assessment under the CEAA 2012 by way of substitution to B.C.. B.C. issued an environmental assessment certificate for the Project on October 26, 2015.
  • The LNG facility would be located in the asserted Aboriginal territory of the Squamish Nation. The Squamish Nation conducted an independent review of the Project and issued an Environmental Certificate for the Project on October 14, 2015.
  • The Agency will seek your decision in relation to the significance of adverse environmental effects of the Project under CEAA 2012 ******************.
Considerations

The federal environmental assessment for this Project was substituted with the B.C. process in accordance with the conditions of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office on Substitution of Environmental Assessments (2013). The B.C. process included participation of federal expert departments, conduct of the procedural aspects of consultation with Aboriginal groups on behalf of the federal government, and distribution of federal funding to support Aboriginal consultation. The final Assessment Report (the Report) was provided to the Agency on August 19, 2015, and also referred to provincial Ministers to inform their decision making.

You must now decide whether the Project, taking into account the implementation of the identified mitigation measures, is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. If you approve the Project, you must establish conditions with which the proponent must comply to address adverse environmental effects. ******************.

Squamish Nation did not contribute information to B.C.'s process, carrying out its own independent review process with the proponent instead. Squamish Nation issued an Environmental Certificate on October 14, 2015 approving the Project conditional to the conclusion of ongoing environmental studies and associated plans, and an Impact Benefit Agreement with the proponent.

The Agency determined that Squamish Nation is owed a moderate depth of consultation in the environmental assessment process due to the potential effects of the Project on its use of lands and resources for traditional purposes and on impacts to asserted rights and title. Because the Squamish refused to provide information to B.C. or the federal government, and the proponent agreed not to share with governments information obtained through the Squamish environmental assessment process, B.C. completed the Report using publicly available information. Squamish Nation has indicated it does not concur with the conclusions in B.C.'s Report and asserts that B.C. has not met the duty to consult on behalf of both governments. The issuance of the Squamish Nation Environmental Assessment Certificate appears to indicate that the Project and its impacts to Aboriginal interest, rights and title are acceptable to the Squamish Nation.

The Project has met with sustained public concern and opposition. Local governments, including the District of Squamish and the Municipality of West Vancouver, have questioned the potential environmental and social impacts of the Project, including the safety of LNG-carrying vessels in the waters of Howe Sound. Environmental non-governmental organizations have expressed concerns over the Project's safety, environmental impacts and the public's ability to participate in the substituted environmental assessment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency participated in the review, noting concerns about potential transboundary impacts from the shipping of liquefied natural gas.

Background

The proponent is a Canadian company and part of the Pacific Oil & Gas Group which is owned by Indonesia's Royal Golden Eagle group of companies. The Project would be located in the Howe Sound at the mouth of the Squamish River, approximately one hour north of Vancouver. The Project site was the location of pulp and paper mill operations from 1910 until 2006. Since the closure of the mill, the Squamish community has remodeled itself as an ecotourism centre and bedroom community to both Vancouver and Whistler.

The Project would include the construction and operation of a LNG processing and liquefaction facility, a LNG storage facility and a marine terminal for exporting processed LNG product to offshore markets. At full capacity the Project is anticipated to produce between 1.5 and 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per annum, with approximately 40 LNG carriers visiting the facility annually. The estimated capital cost of the Project is $1.6 billion and the operational life is anticipated to be at least 25 years.

The first project to complete an environmental assessment by way of substitution to B.C. was the LNG Canada Export Terminal Project. The former Minister of the Environment issued her environmental assessment decision in June 2015.

The Agency maintains an electronic registry for this Project to facilitate online access to key information and records at the following site: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80060

Prospective Environmental Assessments

Strange Lake

Summary
  • Quest Rare Minerals Inc. (the proponent) is proposing a rare earth mining project northeast of Schefferville, Quebec, that includes the construction of a road across Labrador and a marine terminal.
  • A federal environmental assessment for this project could be conducted by the Agency under CEAA 2012.
  • The portion of the proposed road in Labrador triggers the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, a modern treaty between the Labrador Inuit, Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Under the treaty, the three signatory governments have an obligation to work together on environmental assessments of projects.
  • The project also triggers the process under section 23 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement as well as the process under Quebec's Environment Quality Act.
Considerations

According to a preliminary project description submitted by the proponent, the mine in Quebec is likely to be a designated activity as per the Regulations Designating Physical Activities. The airstrip near the mine and the marine terminal are also likely to be designated activities under the Regulations. The proponent plans to submit a revised preliminary project description to the Agency in the fall of 2015 or the winter of 2016.

A provincial assessment under section 23 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (provincial process) is already underway to assess the impacts of the mine and of the portion of the road in Quebec. The processing plant will be assessed by the Government of Quebec under the Environment Quality Act.

The Nunatsiavut Government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will assess the road and the marine infrastructure in Labrador. The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement is a modern treaty signed by the Nunatsiavut Government, Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador in January 2005. For a few months now, the Agency, the Nunatsiavut Government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have been trying to find a way to harmonize the three environmental assessment processes for the portion of the project in Labrador.

The Aboriginal groups that may be affected by this project include the Inuit of Quebec (Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq) and Labrador (Nunatsiavut Government), the Naskapi (Kawawachikamach), the Innu Nation (Sheshashit and Natuashish), the Labrador Métis (NunatuKavut) and the Innu of Matimekush-Lac John.

Background

The proponent is proposing the construction, operation and decommissioning of an open-pit rare earth mine with a capacity of 4,900 t/day, located approximately 225 km northeast of Schefferville, Quebec. In addition to the pit, the facilities would include a crusher, an airstrip, an ore flotation unit, a tailings pond and related buildings. The concentrate would be transported via a new private road approximately 162 km long (18 km in Quebec and 144 km in Labrador) to a marine terminal in Anaktalak Bay in Labrador. Discussions were held regarding the use of the existing port infrastructure owned and currently operated by Vale. The proponent also plans to build and operate an ore processing plant and related infrastructure in the Bécancour industrial park in southern Quebec.

The ore concentrate would be transported by ship from Labrador to the port facilities in the Bécancour industrial park, where there would be a rare earth ore concentrate processing plant and a tailings pond. The ore concentrate would be transported from Labrador to Bécancour by a third party (Fednav).

In light of the available information, several federal authorities may potentially have authorizations to issue: Fisheries and Oceans Canada under subsections 35(2) and 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, Transport Canada under section 5 of the Navigation Protection Act and under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, and Natural Resources Canada under subsection 7(1) of the Explosives Act. The Governor in Council may decide to add water bodies to the list of tailings impoundment areas in Schedule 2 to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission may also have powers to exercise.

Section 5: Litigation

Key Litigation Files

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Litigation Calendar

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Section 6: Glossary

Practitioners Glossary

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