Permit or Approval Application Process

This page explains the application process for activities requiring a new permit or a new approval, and for a significant amendment to an existing permit.

For minor amendment applications, as defined in Section 1(2) of the Public Notification Regulation, see Amending an Existing Authorization.

If the proposed activity is captured by a regulation or code of practice, please refer to the Regulation or Code of Practice Registration Process.

Pre-application Meeting

A pre-application meeting or conference call with the Ministry of Environment is required prior to final submission of an application. The applicant, along with any consultants involved in the process, will provide an overview of their proposal, confirm that legal and technical requirements will be met, and find out what supporting information is required.

This pre-application meeting is particularly important, as some projects will require much more supporting information than others. For example, the process for applying for an approval may have fewer requirements because of the short-term nature of the discharge (i.e., less than 15 months) – each situation is addressed on a case-by-case basis.

For most Schedule 1 discharges, applicants are required to prepare a detailed technical assessment. For Schedule 2 discharges, where a code of practice or regulation is not in place, a technical assessment is also required.

In preparation for the pre-application meeting, it is recommended that applicants do the following:

  • Become familiar with the Environmental Management Act, applicable regulations and any ministry guidelines relevant to the proposed discharge. They may wish to seek legal opinion as to their rights and obligations under the act and regulations.
  • Become familiar with other government requirements (local, provincial, federal). For example, local governments have land use authority. It is recommended that the appropriate land use approvals for the project be sought before applying for a permit.
  • For permit or approval applications, and significant amendments to permits, complete and submit a draft application form and site plan form to the Business Services Branch in Victoria (see address below), when you are ready to begin the application process.  For the forms and guidance on completing the forms, see the Application Forms and Guidance for Permits or Approvals, or contact a regional office. Please use these official forms and include as much detail about the applicant, waste sources, treatment, discharge characteristics and discharge location as you can. Changes to the application can be made prior to the final application submission. Upon receipt, ministry staff will contact you to arrange a time and location for the pre-application meeting.
  • Guidance Applications for Authorization - Completing an Application Form (PDF)
  • If, prior to the pre-application meeting, you have been advised of the need to prepare a technical assessment report, it would be helpful to develop an outline for an environmental assessment Terms of Reference for discussion at the meeting. (see Technical Assessment below).

Submission of Draft Application

Draft application packages can be sent by the following means:
ELECTRONIC
Via E-mail:
PermitAdministration.VictoriaEPD@gov.bc.ca
To limit document sizes, please attach each document as a separate attachment to the e-mail.

Via Fax:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
(250) 356-0299

HARD COPY
Via Mail:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
Business Services Branch
Environmental Protection Division
Ministry of Environment
PO BOX 9377 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC  V8W 9M1

Via Courier:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
Business Services Branch
Environmental Protection Division
Ministry of Environment
3rd Floor, 2975 Jutland Rd
Victoria BC  V8T 5J9

Application fees are not normally submitted with the draft application. A ministry file number(s) will be assigned to your application. This file number(s) should be referenced when submitting additional documentation to support the request.

Technical Assessment

Technical information must be provided about the source of the waste, the discharge quality and quantity, along with details about the potential environmental impacts.

For high-risk complex authorizations (Schedule 1 discharges), applicants are required to prepare the technical assessment report. Likely the services of a qualified professional will be required to help prepare this report accurately – this would be someone who:

  • Is registered in B.C. with an appropriate professional association responsible for taking disciplinary action for failure to adhere to its code of ethics
  • Can be reasonably relied upon to provide expert advice related to an application because of their education, experience, accreditation and knowledge

To help scope the amount of assessment work required, it is strongly recommended that a draft Terms of Reference for the technical assessment be provided to the ministry before initiating the assessment work.

The assessment should include details about the pollution prevention alternatives assessed, the source, volumes and characteristics of the waste, how the treatment selected compares to Best Commercially Achievable Technology, and expected quality of the waste after treatment.

Information about the receiving environment prior to the discharge should be provided, as well as predicted changes to the receiving environment within and beyond the initial dilution zone. Any objectives or other criteria applicable to the receiving environment should be considered, as well as the known and potential uses of the receiving environment.

For moderate risk or less complex Schedule 1 discharges and discharges that fall under Schedule 2 of the Waste Discharge Regulation where a regulation or code of practice is not in place, an environmental impact technical assessment report may not be required of the applicant. In this case, supporting technical information will be provided directly in the application package. The ministry staff will clarify the technical assessment requirement during the pre-application meeting.

Notification and Consultation

In some cases, applicants are required by the Public Notification Regulation to conduct public consultations.

The applicant’s consultation activities will be discussed at the pre-application meeting, when direction will also be provided regarding consultation and notification requirements, including requirements for First Nations consultation.

Once the application form is finalized, the applicant must notify the public about the application by posting a notice on-site, publishing a notice in a local newspaper and in the British Columbia Gazette, Part I, serving notice to the municipality and regional district, and providing referrals to agencies and First Nations specified by the director, and where applicable, the property owner, or other stakeholders who may have an interest in the application. As part of the final application package, the applicant is required to submit to the ministry a consultation report, which should include the agency names, contact names and agency addresses of the consulting companies the applicant contacted.

The applicant is expected to respond to comments received from anyone who expresses concerns about the application. The director may require the applicant to offer to meet with any person(s) who may consider themselves adversely affected by the proposed discharge. It is also required that the Technical Assessment report be completed prior to notification and be made available to concerned persons who may request further information and details not included in the notification.

A consultation report summarizing the comments from the public and agencies will be required for the application to be accepted by the director.

Submission of a Final Application

Once pre-application activities have been completed by the applicant, the final application package (which includes the final application form, site plan, location map, Consultation Report and Technical Assessment Report, if required) must be finalized and submitted to Business Services Branch in Victoria, as follows:

ELECTRONIC
Via E-mail:
PermitAdministration.VictoriaEPD@gov.bc.ca

The ministry welcomes electronic submissions.  

DO NOT SUBMIT CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FOR PAYMENT OF APPLICATION FEES VIA EMAIL OR IN AN E-MAIL ATTACHMENT.  

In order to submit payment when submitting applications via e-mail, please state at the beginning of the e-mail that you would like to have someone call you directly in order to receive your credit card information, and what your phone number is. 

To limit document sizes, please attach each document as a separate attachment to the e-mail.

Via Fax:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
(250) 356-0299

Application forms submitted by facsimile may include credit card information as requested on back of application form.

HARD COPY
Via Mail:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
Business Services Branch
Environmental Protection Division
Ministry of Environment
PO BOX 9377 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC  V8W 9M1

Via Courier:
Attn:Victoria Permit Administration
Business Services Branch
Environmental Protection Division
Ministry of Environment
3rd Floor, 2975 Jutland Rd
Victoria BC  V8T 5J9

Application forms submitted by mail or courier may include credit card information as requested on back of application form.

DO NOT SUBMIT CREDIT CARD INFORMATION ON THE CD.  

In order to submit payment when submitting applications on a CD, please state in a cover letter that you would like to have someone call you directly in order to receive your credit card information, and what your phone number is.

An application fee must accompany the final application package in accordance with the Permit Fees Regulation.

  • Read the Fees page for specific information on the various fees for permits and approvals.

Becoming fully aware of the necessary requirements for applications and providing sufficiently detailed and accurate information in a timely manner are the most important steps an applicant can take towards ensuring an efficient application process.

NOTE: The Ministry processes applications on a “first in – first out” principle providing applications are complete.  Ministry staff will focus on complete applications for review and finalizing.  Incomplete applications will be returned to applicants so that attention can be directed to complete packages that have employed suitably qualified professionals to support the work.

The information provided to support an application may become part of the public record.  A permit or approval obtained through a material misstatement or misrepresentation in the application by the applicant or his agent may be suspended or cancelled.

NOTE:  The ministry may consider a pre-application that is more than one-year old as withdrawn.

Ministry Process for Assessing Applications

Ministry staff will assess the information provided in the application package.  The applicant may be required to provide additional information about the discharge, waste treatment or potential environmental impact and to resolve outstanding issues that arose from consultation.  If staff supports the application, a draft authorization document will be prepared, with conditions necessary to protect the environment, for director’s decision.

If authorization is granted, the applicant will receive the authorization document by registered mail.  The permit or approval is active and the discharge may commence in compliance with the terms and conditions specified in the authorization.  

If authorization is not granted, applicants are invited to comment on or make changes to their application.  

Legislation and Regulation

Useful Contacts

For further information on permit approvals or the application process please contact us.

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