Operational Guidance: Framework for determining whether a Monitoring Committee is warranted for a Designated Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and under the Impact Assessment Act
Paragraph 156(2)(e) of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) provides the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) with the authority to establish monitoring committees for matters related to the implementation of follow-up programs and adaptive management plans. Agency-established monitoring committees put in place under this provision of the IAA are distinct from the requirement for monitoring led by proponents as part of a follow-up program.
Monitoring committees can be an important tool to provide oversight and guidance on the requirements set out in the proponents’ follow-up and monitoring program. Monitoring committees can also help provide additional confidence in the science, Indigenous knowledge and other forms of evidence used in follow-up and monitoring programs, ultimately leading to greater public trust in the assessment process. However, not every designated project will require a monitoring committee and the Agency will make this determination on a project-by-project basis.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on key considerations and the criteria that the Agency uses to determine whether a designated project would warrant a monitoring committee.
Criteria to determine if a Monitoring Committee is warranted
This framework and criteria will be applied to designated projects assessed under both the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012).
The following criteria will inform the Agency’s decision of whether a monitoring committee is required for a designated project:
- a written request for a monitoring committee is received from a partyFootnote1
- the extent to which the effects (including cumulative and/or transboundary effects) within federal jurisdiction, or the direct or incidental effects that the carrying out of the designated project are adverse
- public concerns related to those effects
- there is a need to address relevant project-related issues of public and other stakeholder concerns
- consultations with Indigenous groups or rights assessment framework indicate the proposed project would infringe on Aboriginal or Treaty rights
- there is potential for a monitoring committee to serve as an accommodation measure
- environmentally sensitive areas, protected areas, areas of importance for culture and heritage, or areas under consideration for protection
- site of a proposed project or its potential area of influence is environmentally sensitive or is an area of land and/or waters dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, or of natural and associated cultural resources
- nature of the project
- there is limited experience with successful implementing of the type of project being proposed in the environmental setting under consideration
- the nature or scale of the project is such that specific types of environmental effects warrant careful monitoring (e.g. air emissions for impacts on Indigenous health or wastewater discharges for impacts on fish)
- the proposed project involves technology or mitigation measures that are new or unproven
- limited scientific, or Indigenous knowledge, that does not allow for full analysis of the effects and where uncertainty remains
- the scientific or Indigenous knowledge used for predicting effects on valued components is limited
- it has been identified through the impact assessment that the project will require adaptive management in order to mitigate adverse project effects and implement effective mitigation measures to address these effects
- other considerations, for example:
- the presence or absence of ongoing monitoring initiatives in the area that would have spatial and temporal overlap with the activities of a project monitoring committee and that would serve the purpose of a monitoring committee
- opportunities for collaboration with another jurisdiction
- funding mechanisms available to finance participants in a monitoring committee and supporting activities
In determining whether a monitoring committee is warranted, the Agency will consider all of the criteria as appropriate on a project-by-project basis. The Agency will make the decision public in a coordinated manner once the Minister or Governor in Council has made the public interest decision.
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