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:
- 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):
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
- 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:
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.
- 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)
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 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)
Agreements between B.C. and U.S. States with respect to environmental assessments
- 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)
Additional agreements with other organizations