Public Comments Invited – Draft Terms of Reference for the Integrated Review Panel and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the Coordination of Environmental Assessment and Impact Assessment Procedures for the Gazoduq Project
May 15, 2020 — Ottawa — Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is conducting an Impact Assessment for the proposed Gazoduq Project, a natural gas pipeline approximately 780 kilometres long, located between northeastern Ontario and Saguenay, Quebec.
As part of the planning phase of the impact assessment, the Agency invites the public and Indigenous groups and Nations to review and provide comments on the draft Terms of Reference of the Integrated Review Panel and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the Coordination of Environmental Assessment and Impact Assessment Procedures for the Gazoduq Project. This consultation required under the Act deals specifically with the mandate of the Integrated Review Panel and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement, rather than the potential effects of the Gazoduq project itself. There will be several other opportunities for the public and Indigenous groups and Nations to participate throughout the impact assessment process.
The Terms of Reference of the Integrated Review Panel, when finalized, will set out the mandate and powers of the Integrated Review Panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for conducting the impact assessment. The Cooperation Agreement that will be appended to the mandate describes the cooperation process that has been developed with the Government of Quebec to harmonize procedures and timelines for the assessment of the project in order to facilitate opportunities for participation. The Government of Canada subscribes to the "one project, one assessment" approach to impact assessment, which will increase efficiency and certainty while reducing duplication, while respecting jurisdictions. The comments received will be used to finalize the mandate of the Integrated Review Panel and the impact assessment process.
Comments can be submitted online by visiting the project home page on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry (reference number 80264). All comments received will be published online as part of the project file.
Written comments in either official language will be accepted for the mandate until June 30, 2020, and for the Agreement, to ensure its signature, until June 4, 2020.
The Agency recognizes that it is more challenging to undertake meaningful public engagement and Indigenous consultation in light of the circumstances arising from COVID-19. The Agency continues to assess the situation with key stakeholders, make adjustments to consultation activities, and is providing flexibility as needed in order to prioritize the health and safety of all Canadians, while maintaining its duty to conduct meaningful engagement with interested groups.
Furthermore, as a result of these circumstances, on April 14, 2020, the Agency extended by 90 days the deadline for the planning phase of the Gazoduq project in order to foster cooperation with the Government of Quebec.
For more information on the project, the review process and alternative means of submitting comments, visit canada.ca/aeic.
At a later stage, the Agency will consider all comments received and finalize the mandate for the Integrated Review Panel and the impact assessment process. The documents will be published on the Agency's Registry Web site. The Agency will also publish the notice of commencement of the impact assessment and begin the impact statement phase. This project will offer several other opportunities for public participation and the involvement of Indigenous groups and nations throughout the impact assessment process.
Under the Impact Assessment Act, the assessment of designated projects that include physical activities regulated under the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, such as the construction of an interprovincial natural gas pipeline, must proceed by way of integrated impact assessment by review panel. The Agency will work in collaboration with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) throughout the integrated assessment process.
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
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