BC/Federal Environmental Assessment Process Update

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The “British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office” (EAO) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) on the Substitution of Environmental Assessments with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Under the memorandum, the EAO will conduct the environmental assessment for specific projects, including the procedural aspects of Aboriginal consultation. Federal departments will contribute their expertise. At the conclusion of the substituted environmental assessment, the respective federal and provincial ministers will reach separate decisions on the significance of the project’s environmental effects and the adequacy of Aboriginal consultation, based on the environmental assessment report prepared by the EAO.

The EAO has submitted requests to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, CEAA to conduct substituted environmental assessments on behalf of the federal government for two proposed coal projects. The provincial environmental assessments will meet all federal and provincial requirements.

The MOU sets out an administrative framework for the use of the substitution provisions in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

The MOU outlines how information exchange will occur, describes the roles and responsibilities of the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office EAO establishes the conduct of a substituted process leading to the respective environmental assessment decisions of federal and provincial ministers.

The CEAA commits to timelines in considering substitution requests from British Columbia.

A copy of the MOU can be found at here.