Environmental Assessment Processes

The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to review federal environmental assessment processes. This process is being led by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

About the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

Why we are conducting this review

The goal is to develop new, fair processes that are robust, incorporate scientific evidence, protect our environment, respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and support economic growth.

How the process will work

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has established an Expert Panel to review federal environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

The Expert Panel is engaging broadly with Canadians, Indigenous groups and key stakeholders and will develop recommendations to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for restoring public confidence in environmental assessment processes.

Indigenous and public input was invited, from June 20, 2016 to July 20, 2016 on the draft Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel – a document that outlines its proposed mandate, timelines and procedures. The comment period is now closed and the final Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel are now available online.

Consultations

Canadians will be consulted broadly throughout the review, both online and in-person. The public is invited to visit EAreview.ca for ways on how they can share their views.

As part of the government's commitment to renewing its relationship with Indigenous people based on trust, respect, and cooperation, the Expert Panel will work directly with Indigenous groups to ensure that their concerns are heard and taken into account throughout the review.

Participant funding was made available to assist Indigenous people in participating in the process and expressing their views. The application period has now ended.

Next Steps

Consultation opportunities have been planned across Canada and will take place from September 19 to December 15, 2016. Dates and locations can be found at EAreview.ca/participate.

Expert Panel Members

Learn more about the Expert Panel members by reading their biographies.

Multi-Interest Advisory Committee

A Multi-Interest Advisory Committee made up of Indigenous organizations, industry associations and environmental groups has been established to provide advice to the Expert Panel as the Panel undertakes their review of environmental assessment processes and engages with Canadians.

The advice that the Advisory Committee provides to the Expert Panel will be posted on the Expert Panel's website. The Expert Panel will also include a summary of the Advisory Committee's advice in their report, which the Panel will provide to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, along with recommendations by March 31, 2017.

Learn more about the Advisory Committee below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the government undertaking this review?

  • The Government of Canada has committed to reviewing environmental and regulatory processes to build trust and help get resources to market and support infrastructure development in a responsible way.
  • The Government believes that environmental protection and economic development must go hand in hand.
  • The goal of the review is to introduce new processes that are robust, incorporate science, protect the environment, respect the rights of Indigenous people, and support economic growth.

What is the scope of the review?

  • The review is focused on environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012).
  • The Minister of Environment and Climate Change's mandate letter establishes a broad basis for the review. Other Ministers have also been mandated to carry out reviews on matters that intersect with environmental assessment.
  • The expert panel will focus specifically on matters related to environmental assessment processes, including the role of other federal departments in support of environmental assessments.
  • The expert panel will ensure that if there is an issue raised that is outside the scope of the review but related to another department's review, that department will be informed.

How will Canadians be engaged during the review?

  • Canadians will be engaged in a number of ways throughout the review and will have both online and in-person opportunities to provide their input.
  • Canadians can get involved now by sharing their views online at EAreview.ca.
  • From September 19 to December 15, 2016, the expert panel will hold in-person engagement events across Canada.
  • Funding was available to support public travel. The application period has now ended.
  • Specific dates and locations can be found at EAreview.ca/participate.

How will Indigenous people be consulted throughout the review?

  • The Government is committed to a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people that is based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
  • Consulting with Indigenous people and benefiting from their traditional knowledge and science is of utmost importance to this process.
  • Participant funding was made available to assist Indigenous people in participating in the process and expressing their views. The application period has now ended. In-person consultation started in September 2016.
  • Canada is committed to working in genuine partnership with Indigenous communities and will strive for consensus on issues that affect them.

Will there be resources provided for Indigenous groups to participate in the review?

  • Yes. Funding was made available to Indigenous groups to support their participation in this process, including for meetings and consultation sessions with the expert panel.
  • Participant funding was made available through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's Participant Funding Program. The application period has now ended.
  • Indigenous groups are encouraged to think about the ways they would like to participate throughout the review of environmental assessment processes.

What is happening to projects currently going through the regulatory or environmental assessment process?

  • During the review, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board will continue to conduct environmental assessments of projects subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • On January 27th the Government of Canada implemented an Interim Approach and five Principles that apply to projects currently undergoing an environmental assessment. These apply until any changes arising from the review can be implemented.
  • These principles will ensure that project assessments continue during the review and that decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous people, that there will be meaningful consultation with both the public and Indigenous people.
  • We are also working with Environmental and Climate Change Canada to ensure that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to projects are assessed and taken into account.
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada will continue to review projects under existing laws. They will continue to monitor projects and report back to the public on how fish and fish habitat are being protected.

What happens after the Expert Panel completes its work?

  • Once the expert panel has completed its work by March 31, 2017, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will consider the recommendations in the Panel's report and identify next steps to improve federal environmental assessment processes.

Related Information

The Government of Canada is undertaking a review of federal environmental assessment processes - Transcript

The goal is to develop new processes that:

are fair and robust

respect the rights of Indigenous peoples

incorporate facts and scientific evidence

protect our environment for generations to come

Canada.ca/environmentalreviews

Minister Launches Expert Panel for Review of Environmental Assessment Processes - Transcript

Expert Panel for Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

Minister McKenna: Hey Canada!

In June I announced the Government would be reviewing its environmental assessment processes and I'd be forming an Expert Panel to consult with Canadians.

Well, now the Panel is ready and they want to hear from you!

The Panel members bring to the table valuable expertise and a wealth of knowledge, as they undertake this important review.

The Expert Panel will engage broadly with Indigenous groups, the public, and a wide range of stakeholders across Canada on how federal environmental assessments are conducted.

Environmental assessments affect all of us. Major projects are developed in our communities where we live, work, and raise our children.

So, visit the website below to learn about:

  • the Panel members,
  • Indigenous engagement,
  • updates on upcoming meetings,
  • and to share your views.

Keep the conversation going using hashtag EAreview!

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