The new process looks a lot like the old screening EA, but with
less clear rules about procedure, content, timing, public
consultation and opportunities for appeal. According to Parks
"For northern protected heritage places where CEAA 2012
does not apply, environmental assessment processes remain
For lands and waters administered by Parks Canada where CEAA
2012 applies, the prescriptive process in the former Act has been
eliminated and replaced with a legislated requirement to ensure
projects on federal lands do not cause significant adverse
environmental effects. An assessment to fulfill Parks Canada's
CEAA 2012 obligation will be called an "Environmental Impact
Analysis", or EIA....
Environmental impact analysis is a process for identifying and
evaluating the adverse environmental effects of projects. This
process enables Parks Canada to develop measures to avoid and
mitigate those effects where possible. Since Parks Canada's
mandate is to protect and present Canadian heritage, projects are
assessed for potential impacts to:
Natural resources – such as species at risk, air,
ground and surface water, as well as plants and animals found in
the vicinity of a project or otherwise potentially affected by
Cultural resources – including evaluation of impacts
to heritage value and character-defining elements of known cultural
resources, and consideration of risks to areas with high potential
to contain cultural resources, where no inventory has yet been
Visitor experience opportunities – specifically how
the proposed project is anticipated to adversely affect
characteristics of the environment that are important to key
visitor experience objectives."
Essentially all other relevant details remain to be determined.
The savage cuts to federal environmental staff make the new process
twice as hard to figure out, especially for projects in a hurry.
I've got deja vu all over again; it's like the "good
old days" before CEAA when we struggled to understand federal
environmental requirements. Confusion and uncertainty are good for
lawyers, but didn't make anyone else happy. CEAA was passed to
keep the courts from filling in the gaps themselves. Remember
Friends of the Oldman River Society v. Canada (Minister of
Transport), 1992 CarswellNat 1313, when the courts
unexpectedly gave real teeth to political lip service? It could
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