Indigenous Nation Guidance Material - Environmental Assessment Act 2018

The Indigenous Nation Web Portal is a collection of resources specifically tailored to assist Indigenous nations to participate in the environmental assessment Process. These materials are relevant to projects undergoing Environmental Assessments under the 2018 Act.

An overview of the Environmental Assessment Process is available here.

On this page, you'll find:

Indigenous Nation Participation in the new Environmental Assessment Process

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) worked with Indigenous nations at every step of the Environmental Assessment Revitalization process to ensure that this work fully implements our government’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UN Declaration) and advances reconciliation. In fact, the new Environmental Assessment Act was the first passed in Canada to support the implementation of the UN Declaration. 

For more details on how the new process was developed with Indigenous nations, click here.

Under the new process, the Environmental Assessment Office will seek consensus with participating Indigenous nations throughout the process. Indigenous nations will also be invited to provide notice of consent near the conclusion of the EA process. Click the image below for a larger view of the new process.

           The Environmental Assessment process timeline image   

Resources Related to Indigenous Nation Participation

The following documents relate to Indigenous nation participation in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process under the 2018 Act, and have been assembled for convenience. All policies, guides and regulations on Environmental Assessments in B.C. (including those listed below) is available here:

  • 2002 Act (projects that entered the EA process before December 16th, 2019)
  • 2018 Act (projects that entered the EA process after Dec 16th, 2019, or projects that have transitioned into the new Act).

General Information

  • User Guide (v1.01)
    • The User Guide provides an overview of the entire Environmental Assessment process and is a good place to start detailed learning about the 2018 Environmental Assessment Process.
  • Guide to Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments (v2.0) (PDF, 590 KB)
    • In the new Act, the EAO is required to use the best available science, Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in decision making under the Act. This guidance is for Environmental Assessment participants regarding the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in the environmental assessment process with key guiding principles, requirements regarding confidentiality and the opportunities for consideration of Indigenous knowledge at different stages of the Environmental Assessment process. The guide was developed in collaboration with the Indigenous Implementation Committee and is meant to be complementary to any specific guidelines and policies that Indigenous nations may have regarding the use of their own Indigenous knowledge.

Information by Phase of the Environmental Assessment Process

  • Early Engagement Policy (v1.0)
    • The Early Engagement phase is the start of the regulatory process with the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and provides an opportunity for all participants to better understand the project and establish a foundation for the rest of the Environmental Assessment (EA). Early Engagement is an important preparatory phase where meaningful conversations among participants begin about the proposed project to identify engagement approaches, potential interests, issues, and concerns early in the EA process and chart a path for resolution. Indigenous nations interested in participating in the EA process as participating Indigenous nations must provide notice during Early Engagement. The EAO begins working with participating Indigenous nations to identify interests in the Project area and customize consensus seeking approaches with each nation for the rest of the EA process.
  • Readiness Decision Policy (v1.0)
    • A decision will be made on whether a project should proceed to an EA during the Readiness Decision. Occasionally, a project may be terminated or exempted from an EA, by a Minister’s decision. The EAO will be seeking consensus with Indigenous nations regarding Readiness Decision recommendations. Participating Indigenous nations have an opportunity to provide a notice of their consent or lack of consent if the recommendation is to exempt or terminate the project from the EA process.
  • Process Planning Policy (v1.0)
    • Process Planning formalizes how the EA must be carried out, including: identifying the required information; defining who does what, when, and how; and determining how participants work together for the rest of the EA and future engagement approaches (including public engagement). 
  • Effects Assessment Policy (v1.0)
    • ​An effects assessment of the project is conducted, resulting in the development of a draft assessment report and draft EA certificate (with conditions). These drafts reflect engagement with participating Indigenous Nations, the Technical Advisory Committee, and the Community Advisory Committee. Participating Indigenous nations have the opportunity to conduct the assessment on their nation and their s.35 rights themselves if they choose. Recommendations to inform Provincial decision-makers are also prepared. Participating Indigenous nations have the opportunity to provide notice of their consent or lack of consent on the recommendation to Provincial decision-makers. If the recommendation does not align with a notice of consent or lack of consent, Ministers must offer a meeting to that participating Indigenous Nation. Ministers can decide to issue a certificate, or refuse to issue a certificate, and are required to publish reasons for their decision. If the Ministers’ decision does not align with the notice of consent or lack of consent, reasons must be provided.
  • ​Indigenous Nation Guide to EAO Compliance and Enforcement (v1.0) and Inspections with Compliance and Enforcement (v1.0)
    • If an EA Certificate is issued, post-certificate activities include mitigation effectiveness reports and may include audits, certificate amendments, extensions, and transfers. The Compliance & Enforcement branch of the EAO conducts compliance inspections of regulated parties and projects, and, where required, uses enforcement to ensure that projects are designed, built, operated, and decommissioned or reclaimed in compliance with the legally binding requirements of the Act, its regulations and any EA Certificates or Exemption Order.

Regulations of Potential Interest to Indigenous Nations

  • Dispute Resolution Regulation
    • The Dispute Resolution Regulation sets out the way in which the EAO and participating Indigenous nations will resolve issues while seeking to achieve consensus in the Environmental Assessment process. 
  • Capacity Funding Tariff
    • The Indigenous Capacity Funding regulation sets out the required amounts, funding sources, timing and distribution of capacity funding to support Indigenous nations participating in the Environmental Assessment process.
  • Regional and Strategic Environmental Assessments Regulation
    • The Regional Environmental Assessment Regulation complements (not duplicates) provincial monitoring, land use planning, and cumulative effects assessment initiatives. When directed by the Minister, targeted regional assessments can be used to fill information gaps and provide recommendations for future project-specific EAs in that region. The Minister will be enabled to enter into agreements with other agencies or jurisdictions, including Indigenous nations, in relation to developing, undertaking and implementing a regional assessment.

The full list of regulations is available here.