Environmental Assessment for Natural Resource Major Projects

Before final project design and construction decisions are made, an assessment is done to out if a project could have a significant negative impact on the environment. This includes any negative social, health, heritage and economic impacts.

It also addresses concerns and interests of project stakeholders such as the public, First Nations, and provincial or federal government agencies.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) administers this process under the Environmental Assessment Act and regulations.

Typically, this process is required for most major projects, for example:

  • Large industrial
  • Mining
  • Energy
  • Water management
  • Waste disposal
  • Food processing
  • Transportation
  • Resort development

A major project will have an environmental assessment if:

  • It meets certain thresholds under the Reviewable Projects Regulation
  • The B.C. Minister of Environment orders it because the project may have significant adverse effects and it is in the best interests of the public
  • A proponent requests that the EAO designates it for review, and if EAO agrees

An overview of the process:

  • The project is determined reviewable
  • Scope and process are determined
  • Information requirements are determined
  • Application is prepared by proponent
  • Application is screened and reviewed by the EAO
  • EAO creates an assessment report and refers the project to ministries for review
  • Decision made by ministries, final approval given and environmental assessment certificate is issued
  • Compliance is monitored and enforced

What is involved in more detail: