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:
- proponents and regulators to identify the potential permits, licences and authorizations that would be required for a project and the information needed for the regulatory applications;
- at the proponent's request and where possible, regulators to streamline and coordinate the procedures for proponents to apply for applicable permits, licences and authorizations; and
- the public and Indigenous groups to learn about the regulatory processes, including the participation or consultation opportunities that are available with respect to the permits, licences and authorizations that may be required for a project following the impact assessment.
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:
- federal permits, licences and authorizations, including those under the authority of lifecycle regulators (the Canadian Energy Regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada–Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board);
- permits, licences and authorizations of any jurisdiction (provincial/territorial or Indigenous) that will — or is planning to — undertake a joint review panel impact assessment process with the Agency under the Act;
- permits, licences and authorizations of another jurisdiction that may have responsibilities for the assessment of a project may be included in the permitting plan with the agreement of the Agency and that jurisdiction; and
- any other permits, licences and authorizations that the Agency determines are appropriate to include.
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:
- a brief summary of the designated project;
- a list of anticipated permits, licences and authorizations required;
- a brief description of each permit, licence and authorization as well as hyperlinks to relevant online resources or references; and
- an overview of the main steps for each post-impact assessment permit, licence and authorization with an indication of time lines and the types of information that may be required.
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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