The Environmental Assessment Act and Associated Regulations

The Environmental Assessment Act and associated regulations set a clear path for environmental assessment in British Columbia, a process that is undertaken by the Environmental Assessment Office.

Responsible Minister Order

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.

Responsible Ministries
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

2016 Exemption Regulation

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.

Fee Schedule

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.