2002 Environmental Assessment Act, Regulations and Agreements
The Environmental Assessment Act, 2002 and associated regulations and agreements still apply to many projects undergoing an environmental assessment, or that have completed one. All projects will eventually transition to the 2018 Act - details are available in the Transition FAQs.
- Responsible Minister Order
- Exemption Regulation
- Reviewable Projects Regulation
- Concurrent Approval Regulation
- Prescribed Time Limits Regulation
- Public Consultation Policy Regulation
- Transition Regulation
- Fee Regulation
- Agreements with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
- Agreement with the National Energy Board
- Cooperating with Indigenous Nations
- Memorandum of Understanding between the EAO and the Oil and Gas Commission regarding Reviewable Projects
- Agreements between B.C. and U.S. States with respect to environmental assessments
- Additional agreements with other organizations
Under the Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), two ministers are responsible for making the decision on whether or not to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate for a project undergoing an environmental assessment. The first is the Minister of Environment. The other is the "responsible minister", who is the minister, through their Cabinet position, with responsibility for activities in a sector.
An alternate responsible minister is designated for each of the categories for situations where the organization proposing to build a project is a government agency (for instance, a Crown corporation or a ministry) and the responsible minister is in charge of that government agency.
The following table lists the responsible ministers and alternative responsible ministers for each category of reviewable projects.
|Category of Reviewable Projects||Responsible Minister||Alternate Responsible Minister|
|Energy Projects||Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development|
|Food Processing Projects||Agriculture||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development|
|Industrial Projects||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development||Jobs, Trade and Technology|
|Mine Projects||Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development|
|Tourist Destination Resort Projects||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development||Municipal Affairs and Housing|
|Transportation Projects||Transportation and Infrastructure||Municipal Affairs and Housing|
|Waste Disposal Projects||Municipal Affairs and Housing||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development|
|Water Management Projects||Municipal Affairs and Housing||Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development|
In 2016, a new regulation exempting certain projects from having to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate under the Act came into force.
The Exemption Regulation is limited to addressing part of the implications of a recent British Columbia Supreme Court case (Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia). In that case, the court found that while the Act does provide government with the authority to enter into equivalency agreements (such as that with the National Energy Board), the government must still make its own decision at the end of that equivalent process.
For more information, please see the news release.
EAO Fees Overview
The Environmental Assessment Office charges fees for a range of services, from undertaking environmental assessments through to compliance inspections.
The fees provide partial recovery of the costs incurred by the Environmental Assessment Office in delivering high-quality and timely environmental assessments. Revenue from fees allows the organization to maintain appropriate staffing levels. The funding is also used to support other provincial agencies in their participation in the environmental assessment process.
Explanation of the various fees associated with environmental assessments and other services.
The Environmental Assessment Fee Regulation
BC Reg 50/2014 was deposited on April 14, 2014, and outlines the various fees of environmental assessments and other services.
Environmental Assessment Fee Guidelines
Guidance and background on the payment of fees as set out in the Environmental Assessment Fee Regulation.
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) is the federal counterpart to British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The EAO and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada maintain a strong relationship to ensure projects requiring both federal and provincial environmental assessments are conducted as efficiently as possible.
The following agreements apply to projects being assessed under the Environmental Assessment Act (2002):
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) on Substitution of Environmental Assessments. Fact Sheet (PDF) and MOU on Substitution between EAO and CEAA (PDF, 6.7MB) (March 2013)
- Agreement between EAO and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)(PDF) (December 2008)
- Delegation Agreement between EAO and CEAA for the proposed Northwest Transmission Line Project (PDF, 1.3MB)
- Memorandum of Agreement on the assessment process for the Prince Rupert Fairview Terminal Phase II Facility Expansion Project (PDF)
- Canada - British Columbia Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation. Backgrounder (PDF) and Canada - B.C. Agreement on EA Cooperation (PDF) (2004)
These agreements will eventually become irrelevant as projects assessed under the current act receive decisions, or are transitioned to the new act, where the Impact Assessment Cooperation Agreement will apply.
Agreements under the Previous Environmental Assessment Act
The following agreement applied to projects assessed under the previous Environmental Assessment Act (which came into force in 1995):
When a project falls under both provincial and federal environmental assessment responsibility, the two governments will cooperate on the environmental assessment while retaining their respective decision-making powers. The cooperation options include:
- Co-ordination, where jurisdictions co-ordinate activities and, where possible, harmonize timelines and documents.
- Substitution, where the EAO conducts the environmental assessment process on behalf of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, with each jurisdiction making its own decision based on a single assessment report.
- Joint Review Panel, where jurisdictions jointly appoint panel members and agree on terms of reference for an independent panel to conduct the impact assessment.
Equivalency, where the province may accept an Environmental Assessment undertaken by another jurisdiction, is not a feature of the Impact Assessment Cooperation Agreement, nor the new B.C. Environmental Assessment Act.
- Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 6.7MB) (March 2013)
- Fact Sheet on Substitution for LNG Canada (PDF) (June 2015)
- Meeting Statutory Requirements under CEAA 2012 Paragraph 5(1)(c) (PDF) (November 2015)
- Assessment of Effects to Section 5(1)(c) (PDF) (August 2015)
- Meeting Statutory Requirement under CEAA Paragraphs 5(1)(a), 5(1)(b), 5(2)(a), and 5(2)(b)(PDF) (November 2015)
- Substitution Process Diagram (PDF) (November 2015)
The Federal Minister has approved sixteen environmental assessments to be conducted as substituted assessments:
On June 21, 2010, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and the National Energy Board (NEB) (now the Canada Energy Regulator) entered into an agreement (NEB-EAO Agreement (PDF, 1.06MB)) which states the EAO will accept the NEB's environmental assessment of a proposed project (that otherwise would have to be reviewed under the Environmental Assessment Act) as an equivalent assessment, and that the proposed project may proceed without a provincial environmental assessment certificate.
There is also an EAO Fact Sheet on this agreement: EAO/NEB Fact Sheet (PDF).
The following projects are subject to this Agreement. Information about these projects can be found on the Canada Energy Regulator's web site.
- Dawson Project
Westcoast Energy Inc.
- Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership
- Fort Nelson North Gas Processing Facility
Westcoast Energy Inc.
- Horn River Project
Nova Gas Transmission Ltd.
- Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project
Kinder Morgan Canada
- B.C. NEB Trans Mountain Final Argument (PDF, 3.70MB) (January 2015)
Current agreements with Indigenous nations regarding the conduct of environmental assessments include:
- Memorandum of Understanding for the Blackwater Gold Environmental Assessment signed with Ulkatcho First Nation and Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation (PDF). News Release (PDF) (October 2016)
- Collaboration Terms of Reference with Metlakatla and LaxKwalaams (PDF) (June 2018)
- TKN Kemess Underground Collaboration Plan (PDF) (February 2017)
- Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation Ajax Government to Government Framework and Environmental Assessment Collaboration Plan (PDF, 10.22MB) (September 2016)
Memorandum of Understanding between the EAO and the Oil and Gas Commission regarding Reviewable Projects
In October, 2013 the EAO and the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the two agencies in fulfilling their respective roles by reducing duplication, improving timeliness and strengthening compliance and enforcement.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the OGC and the EAO (PDF)
- News Release on the OGC and EAO's Memorandum of Understanding (PDF)
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Environmental Assessment Office (PDF) (October 2003)
- Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation on Environmental Protection, Climate Action and Energy between the Province of British Columbia and the State of Montana (PDF) (2010)
- Statement of Cooperation on the Protection of Transboundary Waters between Alaska and British Columbia, Attachment 2: Reciprocal Procedures (PDF) (2016)