Step 2: Impact Statement

Under the proposed Impact Assessment Act, the proponent would be provided with clear requirements for the necessary information and studies required to prepare its Impact Statement. The Impact Statement should be informed by sound science and Indigenous knowledge.

Objectives:

  • Certainty for proponents
  • Strong science and evidence base for assessment and decision-making

Key Actions during this Phase:

Proponent:

  • Collects information and conducts studies as described in the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines
  • Considers Indigenous knowledge provided
  • Undertakes analysis of potential impacts of the designated project
  • Prepares Draft Impact Statement
  • Finalizes Impact Statement

Overview

Proponent Role

The Impact Statement is a document prepared by the proponent that identifies the potential impacts of a designated project.

The early planning phase of the impact assessment would be used to appropriately scope and articulate the issues to be considered. This would result in more clear and precise guidelines than the generic ones typically used under the current process. These Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines, issued to the proponent by the Agency at the end of the early planning phase, would describe the necessary information and studies that are required to be included in the proponent’s Impact Statement. Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines would ensure certainty and clarity for the proponent on the requirements for baseline information and the necessary studies for the impact assessment. Greater clarity from the outset of the impact assessment is expected to reduce information requests during the assessment process, resulting in a more efficient impact assessment process and more timely decisions.

The proponent would develop its draft Impact Statement and submit it to the Agency.

The timing for completing an Impact Statement is up to the proponent, but it must be provided to the Agency within three years 19 after the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines are issued by the Agency. This prevents situations where Impact Statement Guidelines may no longer be up to date. Recognizing that flexibility may be required if circumstances change for a proponent, the Agency may extend this timeline 19 and, where appropriate, may require additional or updated information 19.

Section 19

(1) The proponent of a designated project must provide the Agency with the information or studies that are set out in the notice of commencement of the impact assessment of the designated project within three years after the day on which a copy of that notice is posted on the Internet site.

(2) On the proponent’s request, the Agency may extend the time limit for any period that is necessary for the proponent top provide the Agency with the information or studies.

(3) If the Agency extends the time limit, it may require the proponent to provide it with any additional information or studies that the Agency considers necessary for it to conduct the impact assessment.

In order to ensure the rigour of impact assessments, the proponent’s Impact Statement would take into account scientific information, evidence, community knowledge, and Indigenous knowledge 6.

Section 6

(1) The purposes of this Act are

(j) to ensure that an impact assessment takes into account scientific information, Indigenous knowledge and community knowledge

Agency Role

The Agency would review the proponent’s Impact Statement for completeness against the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines. When the Agency determines that the proponent has provided all relevant information and studies, the Agency would post a notice 19 informing the public that the Impact Statement is complete and posted on the Agency’s website. The Agency either commences an assessment of the Impact Statement or the assessment is referred by the Minister to a review panel.

Section 19

(4) When the Agency is satisfied that the proponent has provided it with all of the information or studies, it must post a notice of that determination on the Internet site.

Referral to Review Panel

The Minister may determine within 45 days 36 of the commencement of the impact assessment, whether it is in the public interest 36 to refer the impact assessment to a review panel. In making this decision, the Minister must consider the potential adverse impacts of the project, public concern about the impacts of the project, opportunities for cooperation with other jurisdictions, and any adverse impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change would also have the ability to enter into an agreement with another jurisdiction 36 to jointly establish a review panel. Joint review panels are a key cooperative mechanism under the proposed Act.

Section 36

(1) Within 45 days after the day on which the notice of commencement of the impact assessment of a designated project is posted on the Internet site, the Minister may, if he or she is of the opinion that it is in the public interest, refer the impact assessment to a review panel.

(2) The minister’s determination regarding whether the referral of the impact assessment of the designated project to a review panel is in the public interest must include a consideration of the following factors:

(a) The extent to which the effects within federal jurisdiction or the direct or incidental effects that the carrying out of the designated project may cause are adverse;

(b) Public concerns related to those effects;

(c) Opportunities for cooperation with any jurisdiction that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of the designated project or any part of it; and

(d) Any adverse impact that the designated project may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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