When a major project is proposed in British Columbia, it must undergo an environmental assessment. In B.C. environmental assessments are managed by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), a neutral regulatory agency within the provincial government.
The Environmental Assessment Office and COVID-19
As government continues to coordinate the provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is continuing its work while remaining committed to protecting the health and safety of both our staff and those with whom we work.
Like many other businesses and provincial agencies, some staff are now returning to the office, while the majority will continue to work remotely from home. All non-essential travel and in-person engagement activities have been suspended and will continue to be rescheduled or adjusted to be virtual engagements (held by telephone or over the internet). The increase in participation and the positive response from participants in our virtual engagements has also encouraged us to use these technologies as we engage in the EA process moving forward. When assessing our work processes overall and how we return to some in-person engagement activities, we will follow the direction of the Provincial Health Officer and our workplace health and safety experts.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all do our best in this unique time. Please reach out to your project lead, sector lead, or other contact person at the EAO if you have any questions. We will update this website as and when appropriate.
The environmental assessment process ensures that any potential environmental, economic, social, cultural and health effects that may occur during the lifetime of a major project are thoroughly assessed. Environmental assessments are managed by the EAO, a neutral regulatory agency within the provincial government that works with and seeks input from scientific professionals, Indigenous groups, proponents, the public, local governments, and federal and provincial agencies to ensure that no adverse effects are missed.
The EAO follows a clearly defined process in the Environmental Assessment Act to conduct the assessment of a major project and produce a detailed Assessment Report. That report is then given to provincial Ministers to make a decision on if the project should proceed.
You can learn more about the environmental assessment process, here.