Overview: Permitting Plan


The Government of Canada is committed to making the assessment and regulatory processes for major projects more efficient, predictable and transparent, while reducing duplication for projects subject to the federal Impact Assessment Act (the Act). For each designated project, the Act requires the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) to develop a permitting plan to provide the proponent, Indigenous groups, the public and other participants in the process with an outline of the permits, licences and authorizations that may be required.

The permitting plan should allow:

The Agency will develop a draft permitting plan based on information provided by the proponent, and in cooperation with regulators and other jurisdictions, if applicable.

Timeline for Completion

Pursuant to subsection 18(1) of the Act, when providing the proponent with a notice of commencement at the end of the planning phase, the Agency must also provide the documents specified by regulation, including the permitting plan, within 180 days of the posting of the Initial Project Description on the Agency's online Registry. As a result, the Agency will begin drafting the permitting plan as early as practicable in the Planning phase.

The Agency may revise a permitting plan during the impact assessment process based on new information from the proponent, regulators or another jurisdiction.

Application and Limitations

The permitting plan will include the following types of permits, licences and authorizations that may be required for a designated project:

With the advice of federal regulatory departments and lifecycle regulators, the Agency will verify the federal permits, licences and authorizations that are anticipated to be required for a designated project — and the details applicable to those instruments — as they are presented in the proponent's project description. Any legislative instruments that are missing, and the appropriate details of those instruments, will be added to the permitting plan.

Although the regulatory processes for designated projects are distinct from and normally follow the impact assessment process, some of the information gathered and the consultations and analysis carried out during the impact assessment could be applicable to both. A proponent is not obligated, however, to provide regulatory information that is not required for the impact assessment during the impact assessment process.

A proponent may, with the agreement of regulators or other jurisdictions, decide to carry out certain actions to advance its regulatory processes during the impact assessment. At the proponent's request and where possible, the Agency will facilitate coordination with regulators regarding the procedures for proponents to apply for applicable permits, licences and authorizations.

Where applicable, other jurisdictions would be responsible for advising the Agency regarding the regulatory instruments relevant to a designated project that are under their authority.

A permitting plan does not change any existing Indigenous, federal or provincial legislative or regulatory jurisdiction, right, power or privilege, nor does it create any new legal powers, duties or legally binding obligations.

Contents of a Permitting Plan

The permitting plan for each designated project will include:

The Agency will maintain an inventory that includes a description of the most common permits, licences and authorizations that may be required for projects subject to impact assessment and the key steps in each of the permitting processes.

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