Public Participation Guidance Material - Environmental Assessment Act 2018
The Public Participation Web Portal is a collection of resources specifically tailored to assist the public and public groups participate in the environmental assessment process. These materials are relevant to projects undergoing environmental assessments under the 2018 Act.
On this page, you'll find:
- Overview of public participation in Environmental Assessments
- Resources to support public participation
The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has been engaging the public at every step of the Revitalization process to make sure we continue to put forward practical solutions informed by feedback from those who are involved in and impacted by the Environmental Assessment process.
Under the new process, the Environmental Assessment Office will hold 2 additional public engagement periods during an Environmental Assessment, including a new Early Engagement phase, which provides an opportunity for all Environmental Assessment 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.
The following guidance documents have been collected to highlight areas of the Environmental Assessment Process involving public participation. They are highly detailed and are intended for those who wish to dive deeper into the Environmental Assessment Process and procedures under the 2018 Act.
The full collection of guidance materials 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).
- 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.
- Reviewable Projects Regulation
- The Reviewable Projects Regulation sets out the criteria for determining which projects should be required to undergo an environmental assessment (EA), by defining prescribed project categories and providing thresholds for each category that seek to indicate the potential for adverse effects for their specific project type.
- Electronic Project Information Centre (EPIC) requirements
- Public Engagement Policy and Guidance (available 2021)
Guidance by Process Phase
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. During the public engagement period, the public have the opportunity to review the Initial Project Description and provide feedback on key areas of concern, before the project design is finalized. The public also have the opportunity of providing feedback on how they would like to be engaged in future public engagement periods.
- Early Engagement Policy (v1.0)
- Initial project description guideline
- Engagement Plan guideline
- Detailed Project Description guideline
- Public Participation Funding Policy - 2021
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 refinement of the approach to public engagement). Each Process Order is customized to reflect the project and uses the foundation built in the Early Engagement and the Readiness Decision phases to set the scope, procedures, and methods of the EA. During this phase, a Community Advisory Committee is formed to advise the Environmental Assessment Office on the potential effects of the proposed project on the community. The Committee is a group of community representatives, that identifies potential issues and provides input related to effects on the community during an environmental assessment (EA) of a proposed project.
Application Development and Review
During Application Development, the proponent works with participating Indigenous nations and EA participants to develop their Application for an EA Certificate. Early feedback on data collection or analysis can help to identify and resolve key issues, reducing the potential for delays later in the process.
During Application Review, the EAO, participating Indigenous nations, Technical Advisory Committee, and Community Advisory Committee review the Application, and direction is provided to the proponent on revisions that should be reflected in the revised Application. The direction includes the results from public engagement on the Application and any matters regarding advice provided by the Technical Advisory Committee or Community Advisory Committee.
- Effects Assessment Policy (v1.0)
- Human and Community Well-Being (v1.0)
Guidelines for Assessing Social, Economic, Cultural and Health Effects in Environmental Assessment
Effects Assessment and Recommendation
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, the Community Advisory Committee, and the public. Before referral to Provincial decision-makers, the public will have an opportunity to comment on draft Assessment Report that describes the potential effects of the project, and the draft EA Certificate and associated legally binding conditions the proponent must follow for the life of the project, should a certificate be issued.
Once the referral package is submitted to Provincial decision-makers, the Ministers must consider the Assessment Report, the Chief Executive Assessment Officer’s recommendations, the sustainability and reconciliation purposes of the EAO and any other matters they consider relevant to the public interest. 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.
- Effects Assessment Policy (v1.0)