For any projects that were already part way through a federal
environmental screening, that screening is no longer required. The only
exceptions are sixteen large projects specifically designated by the Minister,
including the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project, the Highway
69 Four-laning Project, the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project,
and the Refurbishment and Continued Operation of the Darlington
Nuclear Generating Station.
The Order in Council describes the purpose and function of the
new Act as follows:
"Assessments will be conducted of proposed projects
designated through regulations or by the Minister of the
Environment under the Act. The assessments will consider whether
the designated projects are likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on components of the environment that are
within the legislative authority of Parliament or as a result of a
federal decision taken in relation to the project.
Assessments will be conducted by the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency (the Agency), by the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission for projects that are regulated under the Nuclear Safety
and Control Act and by the National Energy Board for projects that
are regulated under the National Energy Board Act or the Canada Oil
and Gas Operations Act. If the Agency is the responsible authority,
the Minister of the Environment may refer the environmental
assessment of a designated project to a review panel of independent
experts. Time limits are set in the Act for assessments by the
Agency and review panels.
Cooperation with other jurisdictions is enabled through powers
in the Act to delegate the conduct of all or part of an
environmental assessment, to substitute the environmental
assessment process of another jurisdiction for the process in the
Act, or to recognize a provincial process as being equivalent to
the process set out in the Act.
The Act requires that opportunities for public participation be
provided during assessments, and that participant funding programs
and a public registry of documents, including an Internet site, be
Follow-up programs will be mandatory for all environmental
assessments. The Act provides for powers of inspection and fines
for non-compliance with the Act. Conditions with which project
proponents must comply will be established in enforceable
environmental assessment decision statements.
Federal authorities are required to ensure their decisions with
respect to projects on federal lands and outside Canada that are
not designated projects do not cause significant adverse
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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