Working with Other Agencies

A comprehensive environmental assessment requires collaboration between multiple Indigenous nations, local governments, provincial, federal, and in some cases, American agencies. This collaboration continues in many cases for the life of the project.

Agreements with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

Agreement under the new Environmental Assessment Act

The Impact Assessment Cooperation Agreement was announced on September 5th, 2019, which is a consolidation and update of existing memoranda of understanding between the two organizations that have been in place in various forms since 2004 (under the current Environmental Assessment Act). This agreement will apply to all projects being assessed under the new Environmental Assessment Act, anticipated to come into force in late 2019.

Agreements under the current Environmental Assessment Act

The following agreements apply to projects being assessed under the current Environmental Assessment Act:

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):

Cooperating on Environmental Assessments

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.

Additional information about substitution under the current Act

Substituted Projects

The Federal Minister has approved sixteen environmental assessments to be conducted as substituted assessments:

 

Project Name

Category Status

Aley Mine

Mining Pre-Application 

Arctos Anthracite

Mining Pre-Application

Aurora LNG Digby Island

Energy Withdrawn

Aurora LNG Grassy Point

Energy Withdrawn

Carbon Creek Coal Mine

Mining Withdrawn

Delta Grinding Facility

Industrial Pre-Application

Echo Hill Coal

Mining Withdrawn

Grassy Point LNG

Energy Withdrawn

Kemess Underground

Mining Certificate Issued
Kitimat LNG Energy Amendment

LNG Canada Export Terminal

Energy Certificate Issued

Ruddock Creek Mine

Mining Pre-Application

Sukunka Coal Mine

Mining Application Review

WCC LNG

Energy Withdrawn

WesPac Tilbury Marine Jetty

Transportation Application Review

Woodfibre LNG

Energy Certificate Issued 

Agreement with the National Energy Board

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.

  1. Dawson Project 
    Westcoast Energy Inc.
  2. Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
    Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership
  3. Fort Nelson North Gas Processing Facility 
    Westcoast Energy Inc.
  4. Horn River Project 
    Nova Gas Transmission Ltd.
  5. Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project 
    Kinder Morgan Canada

Equivalency is not a feature of the new B.C. Environmental Assessment Act, and will not be conducted for new projects.


 

Cooperating with Indigenous nations

Current agreements with Indigenous nations regarding the conduct of environmental assessments include:


 

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.


 

Agreements between B.C. and U.S. States with respect to environmental assessments


 

Additional agreements with other organizations