When a major project is proposed in British Columbia, it must undergo an environmental assessment.
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.
We are ensuring our operational and workplace decisions align with the direction of the Provincial Health Officer to address the outbreak here in B.C. As the situation changes daily, so does the direction and our approach will follow. While we are continuing to seek to advance projects and respond to issues in a timely way, we anticipate that there may be delays in some circumstances.
Like many other businesses and provincial agencies, we have encouraged our staff to work from home where possible. All non-essential travel and in-person engagement activities have been suspended and will be rescheduled or adjusted to be virtual engagements, which will be held by telephone or over the Internet.
Please be aware that because of the number of staff working virtually, government systems are occasionally experiencing volume-related challenges. This has caused outages with some of the websites and services the EAO administers, such as EPIC, so we ask for your patience during these unusual times. Government is doing its best to increase the capacity of this infrastructure to ensure systems and servers are online and functional.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we all do our best to deal with this situation. The EAO is monitoring the daily health briefings and will ensure we adapt our work and processes as necessary to protect public safety and provide the services we have a responsibility to deliver. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to 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 needed.
Environmental Assessments in British Columbia
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 Environmental Assessment Office, 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 Environmental Assessment Office follows a clearly defined process in the Environmental Assessment Act to conduct the assessment of a major project, and then produces 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.