Environmental Assessment Office
EAO is committed to working with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) to minimize duplication and to harmonize efforts wherever possible.
British Columbia's Submission to the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the
National Energy Board
In October 2015, the Prime Minister mandated the Minister of Natural Resources Canada to "modernize the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development and Indigenous traditional knowledge." In the Fall of 2016, the federal Minister of Natural resources established a five person Expert Panel to conduct a targeted review of the National Energy Board's (NEB) structure, role and mandate under the National Energy Board Act. This review is a key component of the federal government's review of environmental and regulatory processes. The review process, in addition to online engagement opportunities, included public and Aboriginal engagement sessions across the country.
BC had a keen interest in this review as the province has agreements with the NEB to ensure that duplication of process is avoided. The NEB and OGC have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve pipeline safety and provide opportunities for regulatory efficiency.
Similarly, the NEB and the EAO have a substitution agreement on environmental assessments (EA) of major projects.
BC participated as an observer in the panel's public engagement sessions in two BC communities (Vancouver and Fort St. John).
EAO, on behalf of the province, made a formal written submission to the review panel on March 28, 2017. The panel will complete its mandate with its final report and recommendations to the federal Minister by May 15, 2017.
Related Links: Information about the Modernization of the National Energy Board and related reviews of the federal Environmental Assessment Process, the federal Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/assessments/environmental-reviews.html.
British Columbia's Submission to the Expert Panel Review of Federal EA Processes
On October 2015, the Prime Minister mandated a review of federal environmental assessment processes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012). On June 23, 2016, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced the process for the review and appointed a 4-person expert panel to fulfill the Prime Minister's mandate (http://eareview-examenee.ca/). The process, in addition to online engagement opportunities, included public and Aboriginal engagement sessions across the country.
BC had a keen interest in this review as over 55 per cent of all projects that require an environmental assessment under BC's Environmental Assessment Act also require an assessment under the federal Act.
EAO, on behalf of BC, participated in in the review processes by engaging in a technical briefing of the panel on November 2, 2016, along with other jurisdictions and stakeholders. EAO also participated in the panel's public and Aboriginal group engagement sessions in five BC communities (Kamloops, Fort St. John, Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Nanaimo).
EAO made a formal written submission to the review panel on December 20, 2016. The panel will complete its mandate with its final report and recommendations to the federal Minister on March 31, 2017.
Related Links: Information about this review and related reviews of the National Energy Board, the federal Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/assessments/environmental-reviews.html
Under section 27 of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), BC may accept an Environmental Assessment (EA) undertaken by another jurisdiction as "equivalent" to BC's, thereby avoiding completely the need to conduct duplicate EAs.
The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has recently entered into two such agreements with the federal government:
- Fairview Terminal Expansion Project - Prince Rupert; and
- National Energy Board/EAO Equivalency Agreement
The purpose of the agreements is to delegate the screening of the proposed projects and the screening report to EAO pursuant to subsection 17(1) of the Act.
The agreement sets out the roles and responsibilities of the parties with respect to delegation agreement of the federal environmental assessment process. EAO has entered into a delegation agreements with:
Under the Canada-BC Environmental Assessment Cooperation Agreement, EAO and CEAA have entered into a detailed implementation agreement dealing with a range of matters, including joint work planning, joint staff training and piloting the delegation of federal EA functions to the EAO.
Submission on the Statutory Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
In late 2011, the federal Standing Committee on the Environmental and Sustainable Development conducted a statutory review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. On November 28, 2011, BC made a formal submission to the federal Standing Committee. BC's submission to the federal Standing Committee is available here.