ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 15 — July 18, 2012

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Registration

SOR/2012-147 July 6, 2012

CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT, 2012

Regulations Designating Physical Activities

The Minister of the Environment, pursuant to paragraphs 84(a) and (e) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (see footnote a), makes the annexed Regulations Designating Physical Activities.

Ottawa, July 6, 2012

PETER KENT
Minister of the Environment

REGULATIONS DESIGNATING PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Definitions

1. The following definitions apply in these Regulations.

“abandonment”
« fermeture »

“abandonment” does not include the temporary cessation of the operation of a physical work.

“aerodrome”
« aérodrome »

“aerodrome” has the same meaning as in subsection 3(1) of the Aeronautics Act.

“airport”
« aéroport »

“airport” has the same meaning as in subsection 3(1) of the Aeronautics Act.

“Class IA nuclear facility”
« installation nucléaire de catégorie IA »

“Class IA nuclear facility” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations.

“Class IB nuclear facility”
« installation nucléaire de catégorie IB »

“Class IB nuclear facility” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations.

“decommissioning”
« désaffectation »

“decommissioning” does not include the cessation of the operation of a physical work.

“hazardous waste”
« déchets dangereux »

“hazardous waste” means “hazardous waste” as defined in section 1 of the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations and “hazardous recyclable material” as defined in section 2 of those Regulations but does not include nuclear substances.

“marine terminal”
« terminal maritime »

“marine terminal” means

  • (a) an area normally used for berthing ships and includes wharves, bulkheads, quays, piers, docks, submerged lands, and areas, structures and equipment that are

    • (i) connected with the movement of goods between ships and shore and their associated storage areas, including areas, structures and equipment used for the receiving, handling, holding, consolidating, loading or delivery of waterborne shipments, or

    • (ii) used for the receiving, holding, regrouping, embarcation or landing of waterborne passengers; and

  • (b) any area adjacent to the areas, structures and equipment referred to in paragraph (a) that is used for their maintenance.

It does not include

  • (a) production, processing or manufacturing areas that include docking facilities used exclusively in respect of those areas; or

  • (b) the storage facilities related to the areas referred to in paragraph (a).

“migratory bird sanctuary”
« refuge d’oiseaux migrateurs »

“migratory bird sanctuary” means an area set out in the schedule to the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations.

“new right of way”
« nouvelle emprise »

“new right of way” means land that is subject to a right of way that is proposed to be developed for an electrical transmission line, an oil and gas pipeline, a railway line, or an all-season public highway and that is not alongside and contiguous to an existing right of way.

“nuclear facility”
« installation nucléaire »

“nuclear facility” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

“nuclear substance”
« substance nucléaire »

“nuclear substance” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

“offshore”
« au large des côtes »

“offshore” means located in

  • (a) in a submarine area described in paragraph 3(b) of the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act in respect of which an authorization under that Act is required for the exploration and drilling for, or the production, conservation, processing or transportation of, oil or gas; or

  • (b) an area in respect of which an authorization under the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act or the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act is required for the exploration and drilling for, or the production, conservation, processing or transportation of, oil or gas.

“oil and gas pipeline”
« pipeline d’hydrocarbures »

“oil and gas pipeline” means a pipeline that is used, or is to be used, for the transmission of hydrocarbons alone or with any other commodity.

“paper product”
« produit de papier »

“paper product” includes paper, coated paper, paperboard, hardboard, boxboard, linerboard, insulating board, building board, corrugating medium, tissue, moulded cellulose product and any other product directly derived from pulp, but does not include viscose, rayon, cellophane or any other cellulose derivative.

“pulp”
« pâte »

“pulp” means processed cellulose fibres that are derived from wood, other plant material or recycled paper products.

“pulp and paper mill”
« fabrique de pâtes et papiers »

“pulp and paper mill” means a mill that produces pulp and paper products, but does not include a mill that produces paper products only.

“right of way”
« emprise »

“right of way” means land that is subject to a right of way and that is developed for an electrical transmission line, an oil and gas pipeline, a railway or an all-season public highway.

“uranium mill”
« usine de concentration d’uranium »

“uranium mill” means a mill as defined in section 1 of the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations.

“uranium mine”
« mine d’uranium »

“uranium mine” means a mine as defined in section 1 of the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations.

“waste management system”
« système de gestion des déchets »

“waste management system” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations.

“water body”
« plan d’eau »

“water body” means any water body, including a canal, a reservoir, an ocean and a wetland, up to the high-water mark, but does not include a sewage or waste treatment lagoon or a mine tailings pond.

“wetland”
« terres humides »

“wetland” means a swamp, marsh, bog, fen or other land that is covered by water during at least three consecutive months of the year.

“wildlife area”
« réserve d’espèces sauvages »

“wildlife area” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Wildlife Area Regulations.

Designated activities — designated projects

2. The physical activities that are set out in the schedule are designated for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition “designated project” in subsection 2(1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

Designated activities — participant funding program

3. The physical activities that are set out in the schedule or that are designated by the Minister under subsection 14(2) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 are designated for the purposes of paragraph 58(1)(a) of that Act.

Activities linked to Agency

4. (1) The activities set out in items 1 to 31 of the schedule are linked to the Agency when they are not regulated under, nor incidental to a physical activity that is regulated under, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the National Energy Board Act or the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

Activities linked to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

(2) The activities set out in items 32 and 33 of the schedule are linked to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission when they are regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Activities linked to National Energy Board

(3) The activities set out in items 34 to 39 of the schedule are linked to the National Energy Board when they are regulated under the National Energy Board Act or the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

Coming into force

5. These Regulations come into force on the day on which section 52 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, chapter 19 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012, comes into force.

SCHEDULE
(Sections 2 to 4)

PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AGENCY

1. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary, of

  • (a) an electrical generating station or transmission line;

  • (b) a dam, dyke, reservoir or other structure for the diversion of water;

  • (c) an oil or gas facility or oil and gas pipeline;

  • (d) a mine or mill;

  • (e) an industrial facility;

  • (f) a canal or lock;

  • (g) a marine terminal;

  • (h) a railway line or public highway;

  • (i) an aerodrome or runway; or

  • (j) a waste management facility.

2. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) a fossil fuel-fired electrical generating station with a production capacity of 200 MW or more; or

  • (b) a hydroelectric generating station with a production capacity of 200 MW or more.

3. The expansion of

  • (a) a fossil fuel-fired electrical generating station that would result in an increase in production capacity of 50% or more and 200 MW or more; or

  • (b) a hydroelectric generating station that would result in an increase in production capacity of 50% or more and 200 MW or more.

4. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a tidal power electrical generating station with a production capacity of 5 MW or more, or an expansion of such a station that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%.

5. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of an electrical transmission line with a voltage of 345 kV or more that is 75 km or more in length on a new right of way.

6. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a dam or dyke that would result in the creation of a reservoir with a surface area that would exceed the annual mean surface area of a natural water body by 1 500 ha or more, or an expansion of a dam or dyke that would result in an increase in the surface area of a reservoir of more than 35%.

7. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a structure for the diversion of 10 000 000 m3/a or more of water from a natural water body into another natural water body or an expansion of such a structure that would result in an increase in diversion capacity of more than 35%.

8. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a facility for the extraction of 200 000 m3/a or more of ground water or an expansion of such a facility that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%.

9. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) a heavy oil or oil sands processing facility with an oil production capacity of more than 10 000 m3/d; or

  • (b) an oil sands mine with a bitumen production capacity of more than 10 000 m3/d.

10. The construction, installation and operation of a facility for the production of oil or gas, if the facility is located offshore and

  • (a) is outside the limits of a study area delineated in

    • (i) an environmental assessment of a project for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a review panel or as a comprehensive study under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or

    • (ii) an environmental assessment of a proposal for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a Panel under the Environmental Assessment Review Process Guidelines Order; or

  • (b) is inside the limits of a study area delineated in an environmental assessment described in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii) and is not connected by an offshore oil and gas pipeline to a previously assessed facility in the study area.

11. The decommissioning and abandonment of a facility for the production of oil or gas if the facility is located offshore and it is proposed that the facility be disposed of or abandoned offshore or converted on site to another role.

12. The expansion of a heavy oil or oil sands processing facility that would result in an increase in oil production capacity that would exceed 5 000 m3/d and would raise the total oil production capacity to more than 10 000 m3/d.

13. The construction, decommissioning and abandonment, or an expansion that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%, of

  • (a) an oil refinery, including a heavy oil upgrader, with an input capacity of more than 10 000 m3/d;

  • (b) a facility for the production of liquid petroleum products from coal with a production capacity of more than 2 000 m3/d;

  • (c) a sour gas processing facility with a sulphur inlet capacity of more than 2 000 t/d;

  • (d) a facility for the liquefaction, storage or regasification of liquefied natural gas, with a liquefied natural gas processing capacity of more than 3 000 t/d or a liquefied natural gas storage capacity of more than 50 000 t;

  • (e) a petroleum storage facility with a capacity of more than 500 000 m3; or

  • (f) a liquefied petroleum gas storage facility with a capacity of more than 100 000 m3.

14. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) an oil and gas pipeline more than 75 km in length on a new right of way; or

  • (b) an offshore oil and gas pipeline, if any portion of the pipeline is outside the limits of a study area delineated in

    • (i) an environmental assessment of a project for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a review panel or as a comprehensive study under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or

    • (ii) an environmental assessment of a proposal for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a Panel under the Environmental Assessment Review Process Guidelines Order.

15. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) a metal mine, other than a gold mine, with an ore production capacity of 3 000 t/d or more;

  • (b) a metal mill with an ore input capacity of 4 000 t/d or more;

  • (c) a gold mine, other than a placer mine, with an ore production capacity of 600 t/d or more;

  • (d) a coal mine with a coal production capacity of 3 000 t/d or more; or

  • (e) a potash mine with a potassium chloride production capacity of 1 000 000 t/a or more.

16. The expansion of

  • (a) an existing metal mine, other than a gold mine, that would result in an increase in its ore production capacity of 50% or more, or 1 500 t/d or more, if the increase would raise the total ore production capacity to 3 000 t/d or more;

  • (b) an existing metal mill that would result in an increase in its ore input capacity of 50% or more, or 2 000 t/d or more, if the increase would raise the total ore input capacity to 4 000 t/d or more;

  • (c) an existing gold mine, other than a placer mine, that would result in an increase in its ore production capacity of 50% or more, or 300 t/d or more, if the increase would raise the total ore production capacity to 600 t/d or more;

  • (d) an existing coal mine that would result in an increase in its coal production capacity of 50 % or more, or 1 500 t/d or more, if the increase would raise the total coal production capacity to 3 000 t/d or more; or

  • (e) an existing potash mine that would result in an increase in its potassium chloride production capacity of 50% or more, or 500 000 t/a or more, if the increase would raise the total potassium chloride production capacity to 1 000 000 t/a or more.

17. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, or an expansion that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%, of

  • (a) an asbestos mine;

  • (b) a salt mine with a brine production capacity of 4 000 t/d or more;

  • (c) an underground salt mine with a production capacity of 20 000 t/d or more;

  • (d) a graphite mine with a production capacity of 1 500 t/d or more;

  • (e) a gypsum mine with a production capacity of 4 000 t/d or more;

  • (f) a magnesite mine with a production capacity of 1 500 t/d or more;

  • (g) a limestone mine with a production capacity of 12 000 t/d or more;

  • (h) a clay mine with a production capacity of 20 000 t/d or more;

  • (i) a stone quarry or gravel or sand pit with a production capacity of 1 000 000 t/a or more; or

  • (j) a metal mine located offshore or on the ocean bed.

18. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a pulp mill or pulp and paper mill.

19. The expansion of a pulp mill or pulp and paper mill that would result in an increase in its production capacity of more than 35% and more than 100 t/d.

20. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, or an expansion that would result in an increase in its production capacity of more than 35%, of

  • (a) a facility for the production of primary steel with a metal production capacity of 5 000 t/d or more;

  • (b) an industrial facility for the commercial production of non-ferrous metals or light metals by pyrometallurgy or high temperature electrometallurgy;

  • (c) a non-ferrous metal smelter located in the Yukon or Northwest Territories;

  • (d) a facility for the manufacture of chemical products with a production capacity of 250 000 t/a or more;

  • (e) a facility for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products with a production capacity of 200 t/a or more;

  • (f) a facility for the manufacture of wood products that are pressure-treated with chemical products, with a production capacity of 50 000 m3/a or more;

  • (g) a facility for the manufacture of plywood or particle board with a production capacity of 100 000 m3/a or more;

  • (h) a facility for the production of respirable natural mineral fibres;

  • (i) a leather tannery with a production capacity of 500 000 m2/a or more;

  • (j) a facility for the manufacture of primary textiles with a production capacity of 50 000 t/a or more;

  • (k) a factory for the manufacture of chemical explosives employing chemical processes; or

  • (l) a facility for the manufacture of lead-acid batteries.

21. The construction and operation outside an existing military base of a military base or station.

22. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment outside an existing military base of a training area, range or test establishment for military training or weapons testing.

23. The expansion of a military base or station that would result in an increase in the area of the military base or station of more than 25%, or an increase in the cumulative floor area of existing buildings located on the military base or station of more than 25%.

24. The decommissioning and abandonment of a military base or station.

25. The testing of weapons for more than five days in a calendar year in an area other than those training areas, ranges and test establishments established under the authority of the Minister of National Defence for the testing of weapons prior to October 7, 1994.

26. The low-level flying of military fixed-wing jet aircraft for more than 150 days in a calendar year as part of a training program at an altitude below 330 m above ground level on a route or in an area that is not established by or under the authority of the Minister of National Defence or the Chief of the Defence Staff as a route or area set aside for low-level flying training prior to October 7, 1994.

27. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) a canal or any lock or associated structure to control water levels in the canal;

  • (b) a lock or associated structure to control water levels in existing navigable waterways; or

  • (c) a marine terminal designed to handle vessels larger than 25 000 DWT unless the terminal is located on lands that are routinely and have been historically used as a marine terminal or that are designated for such use in a land-use plan that has been the subject of public consultation.

28. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) a railway line more than 32 km in length on a new right of way;

  • (b) an all-season public highway that will be more than 50 km in length and either will be located on a new right-of-way or will lead to a community that lacks all-season public highway access; or

  • (c) a railway line designed for trains that have an average speed of more than 200 km/h.

29. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) an aerodrome located within the built-up area of a city or town;

  • (b) an airport; or

  • (c) an all-season runway with a length of 1 500 m or more.

30. The extension of an all-season runway by 1 500 m or more.

31. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a facility used exclusively for the treatment, incineration, disposal or recycling of hazardous waste, or an expansion of such a facility that would result in an increase in its production capacity of more than 35%.

CANADIAN NUCLEAR SAFETY COMMISSION

32. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, or an expansion that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%, of

  • (a) a uranium mine, uranium mill or waste management system any of which is on a site that is not within the boundaries of an existing licensed uranium mine or uranium mill;

  • (b) a uranium mine, uranium mill or waste management system any of which is on a site that is within the boundaries of an existing licensed uranium mine or uranium mill, if the activity involves processes for milling or uranium tailings management that are not authorized under the existing licence;

  • (c) a Class IB nuclear facility for the refining or conversion of uranium that has a uranium production capacity of more than 100 t/a;

  • (d) a Class IA nuclear facility that is a nuclear fission reactor that has a production capacity of more than 25 MW(thermal);

  • (e) a Class IB nuclear facility that is a plant for the production of deuterium or deuterium compounds using hydrogen sulphide that has a production capacity of more than 10 t/a;

  • (f) a Class IB nuclear facility for the processing of irradiated nuclear fuel with an irradiated nuclear fuel input capacity of more than 100 t/a; or

  • (g) a Class IB nuclear facility that is on a site that is not within the boundaries of an existing licensed nuclear facility and that is for

    • (i) the storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, if the facility has an irradiated nuclear fuel inventory capacity of more than 500 t,

    • (ii) the processing or storage of radioactive waste other than irradiated nuclear fuel where

      • (A) the activity of the throughput of radioactive material with a half-life greater than one year is more than 1 PBq/a (1015 Bq/a), or

      • (B) the activity of the inventory of radioactive material with a half-life greater than one year is more than 1 PBq (1015), or

    • (iii) the disposal of radioactive nuclear substances.

33. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary, of

  • (a) a mine or mill;

  • (b) a nuclear facility; or

  • (c) a waste management facility.

NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD

34. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of an electrical transmission line with a voltage of 345 kV or more that is 75 km or more in length on a new right of way.

35. The construction, operation, and installation of a facility for the production of oil or gas, if the facility is located offshore and

  • (a) is outside the limits of a study area delineated in

    • (i) an environmental assessment of a project for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a review panel or as a comprehensive study under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or

    • (ii) an environmental assessment of a proposal for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a Panel under the Environmental Assessment Review Process Guidelines Order; or

  • (b) is inside the limits of a study area delineated in an environmental assessment described in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii) and is not connected by an offshore oil and gas pipeline to a previously assessed facility in the study area.

36. The decommissioning and abandonment of a facility for the production of oil or gas if the facility is located offshore and it is proposed that the facility be disposed of or abandoned offshore or converted on site to another role.

37. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, or an expansion that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35%, of

  • (a) a sour gas processing facility with a sulphur inlet capacity of more than 2 000 t/d; or

  • (b) a petroleum storage facility with a capacity of more than 500 000 m3.

38. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of

  • (a) an oil and gas pipeline more than 75 km in length on a new right of way; or

  • (b) an offshore oil and gas pipeline, if any portion of the pipeline is outside the limits of a study area delineated in

    • (i) an environmental assessment of a project for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a review panel or as a comprehensive study under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, or

    • (ii) an environmental assessment of a proposal for the offshore production of oil or gas that was conducted by a Panel under the Environmental Assessment Review Process Guidelines Order.

39. The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment, in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary, of

  • (a) an electrical transmission line; or

  • (b) an oil or gas facility or an oil and gas pipeline.

REGULATORY IMPACT
ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

1. Executive summary

Issue: Canadian environmental assessment legislation has been updated to provide an improved federal environmental assessment process that focuses on large projects that have a greater potential for significant adverse environmental effects. Regulations are required to identify the projects to which the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) will apply.

Description: The Regulations Designating Physical Activities (the Regulations) identify physical activities that have a greater potential to cause adverse environmental effects. A project that includes one or more physical activities described in the Regulations will be subject to CEAA 2012. The Regulations also serve to specify that the participant funding provisions of CEAA 2012 apply to all designated projects that are required to undergo an environmental assessment.

Cost-benefit statement: The Regulations will ensure continued protection of the environment while providing an overall benefit to Canadian businesses and industry stakeholders. They will result in federal environmental assessments that focus resources on large projects rather than the small, routine projects that often have little or no environmental impact and that are typically subject to other regulatory mechanisms.

Business and consumer impacts: The Regulations are expected to have a positive impact on industry, in particular small business. There will be a decrease in the number of federal environmental assessments required. As a result, there will be a reduction in the overall financial and administrative burden on businesses associated with meeting federal environmental assessment requirements.

2. Background

The Government’s 2012 Economic Action Plan on Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity, presented in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012, committed to reforming the regulatory system in the resource sector in order to support responsible resource development. The reform introduces system-wide legislative improvements to the review process for major economic projects to achieve the goal of “one project, one review” in a clearly defined time period, reducing duplication and regulatory burdens, supporting consultation with Aboriginal peoples, and focusing resources on large projects where the potential environmental impacts are the greatest.

The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act introduced a new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the former Act).

The purpose of CEAA 2012 is to update the federal environmental assessment process and to focus reviews on those project proposals that have a greater potential for significant adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction. The legislation is part of a larger proposal to ensure that the environmental assessment, regulatory permitting, and aboriginal consultation process for project reviews is more timely, improves environmental protection, reduces regulatory burden, duplication and overlap, and provides meaningful Aboriginal consultation, especially in relation to Canada’s resource sector in order to encourage growth in that sector.

CEAA 2012 and its regulations support the recommendations in a report tabled by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (the Committee) in March 2012. This report is the result of the statutory review of the former Actthat was conducted by the Committee from October 2011 to March 2012. The report contains the Committee’s observations and 20 recommendations aimed at improving efficiency while ensuring improved environmental outcomes. A key recommendation of the Committee was the use of a “project list” approach in environmental assessment instead of the “all in unless excluded” approach taken by the former Act. This approach focuses the application of federal environmental assessment requirements on projects that have a greater potential to cause adverse environmental effects.

The former Act applied to projects when there was a federal “trigger,” i.e. when the federal government had a decision in relation to the project as a proponent, land manager, source of funding, or regulator. All projects required an assessment unless specifically excluded by the former Act or by regulations. The type of assessment corresponded to the potential environmental risk. Over 99% of projects were assessed as a screening (approximately 5 000 to 6 000 per year). Projects that were likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects were assessed through a comprehensive study. Those projects that were likely to have the greatest impact and public concern were assessed by an independent review panel. For projects that were assessed through a comprehensive study or a review panel, participant funding was made available to facilitate the participation of the public in the environmental assessment process.

Because the former Act used an “all in unless excluded” approach, too many small, routine projects with little or no negative environmental impacts required an environmental assessment. Under CEAA 2012, Government will focus its resources on projects that have a greater potential for adverse environmental effects on areas of federal interest, so that there will be “value added” from a federal environmental assessment. Under CEAA 2012, an environmental assessment is required of “designated projects.” A designated project is one that includes one or more physical activities that are set out in the regulations. If an activity is not identified in these Regulations, but has the potential to cause adverse environmental effects, CEAA 2012 provides for the Minister of the Environment to designate that project for a federal environmental assessment.

CEAA 2012 requires that each responsible authority establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in the environmental assessment of designated projects for which it is the responsible authority. The designated projects for which participant funding is to be made available must be specified in regulations.

3. Issue

CEAA 2012 establishes federal requirements for the environmental assessment of projects and creates a review process that focuses on those large projects that have a greater potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction.

In order to operate, the new major project-based approach requires that the types of major economic activities to which CEAA 2012 applies be prescribed in regulations. This will ensure that federal environmental assessment requirements are applied to the appropriate projects.

4. Objectives

The objective of these Regulations is to prescribe the physical activities which, if carried out individually or in combination, will constitute a designated project that will be, or may be, subject to the environmental assessment requirements of CEAA 2012. In addition, the Regulations specify that participant funding will be made available for all designated projects that are subject to an environmental assessment.

The Regulations support CEAA 2012, ensuring that federal environmental assessment is only applied to projects that have a greater potential to cause adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction.

5. Description

The Regulations set out a list of physical activities that will or may require an environmental assessment. The designated activities identified in these Regulations are the projects identified in the schedule to the Comprehensive Study List Regulations under the former Act. However, the three entries that applied only to projects in or on national parks, national park reserves, national historic sites or historic canals have been removed. CEAA 2012 includes specific provisions related to projects on federal land. Federal authorities responsible for carrying out or approving a project on federal lands will be required to ensure the project does not cause significant adverse environmental effects. In light of this new requirement, it was not necessary to include those specific entries in the new Regulations.

It is important to note, however, that if a proponent proposes an activity that is included in the Regulations, regardless of whether or not it is located on federal lands, it may be subject to an environmental assessment. In addition, under subsection 14(2) of CEAA 2012, the Minister of the Environment may designate a physical activity that is not included in the Regulations if he is of the opinion that it warrants an environmental assessment under the Act.

The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) will have a systematic process in place to meet the legal obligation under CEAA 2012 to ensure projects in or on lands and waters administered by PCA do not result in significant adverse environmental effects and to identify when an assessment as a designated project under CEAA 2012 may be warranted.

Other modifications to the previous schedule are limited to those necessary to ensure the new Regulations work with the structure of CEAA 2012. Notably, the designated activities are listed in three parts according to which federal authority would be responsible for conducting an environmental assessment of a designated project that included that activity: the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (Agency), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) or the National Energy Board (NEB). Some types of activities listed in the NEB part are also listed in the Agency part of the Regulations to reflect that the same type of activity, for example the construction of a pipeline, is in some cases regulated by the NEB but not in all cases. When such a project is regulated under the National Energy Board Act or the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act the NEB will be responsible for conducting the environmental assessment. In other cases the Agency will be responsible for the environmental assessment.

The Regulations also prescribe that the participant funding program established by each of the responsible authorities will apply to designated projects that include any of the designated activities prescribed under the Regulations, as well as to any projects that the Minister of the Environment designates for the purpose of requiring an environmental assessment.

6. Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

No non-regulatory options were considered as CEAA 2012 requires that the designated activities be set out in regulations.

7. Benefits and costs

The primary benefit of the Regulations is to ensure that federal environmental assessment requirements focus on large activities that have the potential to cause adverse environmental effects in areas of federal interest. The Regulations do not include small, routine activities that have little or no impact on the environment, do not typically result in impacts on areas of federal interest, and/or are subject to other regulatory mechanisms. Under the former Act, these activities were subject to screening-type environmental assessments.

By focussing on large activities, the Regulations, examined in the context of CEAA 2012, are expected to reduce the overall financial and administrative burden on businesses. This benefit is a result of the elimination of the approximately 6 000 screening-type environmental assessments that were conducted each year under the former Act. The Regulations could impose an additional burden on a small number of businesses that propose projects that would not have had a federal trigger in the past, but that under CEAA 2012 would have to submit a project description to the Agency to determine if the project requires a federal environmental assessment.

The Regulations are expected to be cost neutral to Government.

8. Small business lens and “One-for-One” Rule

The Regulations will result in an overall decrease in the administrative costs for small businesses. Under the former Act, approximately 99% of the environmental assessments that were conducted were for small and routine projects, which had little or no impact on the environment. CEAA 2012 and regulations will focus environmental assessment requirements on projects that have the potential to cause adverse environmental effects, thus reducing the burden on small businesses that were previously required to fulfill the requirements of an environmental assessment for small projects. The Government is implementing a “One-for-One” Rule to control administrative burdens on business. The “One-for-One” Rule is triggered for these Regulations. The associated figures are being assessed and will be reported at a later date.

9. Consultation

Consultation was not undertaken in relation to these Regulations as they adopt the projects described in the schedule to the previous Comprehensive Study List Regulations under the former Act, with modifications to reflect the provisions and structure of CEAA 2012. Consultation will be undertaken on amendments to the Regulations following the coming into force of CEAA 2012.

10. Rationale

CEAA 2012 requires that the designated activities be prescribed in regulations. The purpose is to focus federal environmental assessments on those projects that have a greater potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The projects described in the schedule to the Comprehensive Study List Regulations under the former Act have already been identified as likely to have significant adverse environmental effects. Therefore, the adoption of the same list is appropriate for the new Regulations. The Regulations require that participant funding be provided for all designated projects that are subject to an environmental assessment in order to support meaningful public participation.

11. Implementation and enforcement

When CEAA 2012comes into force, transition provisions will deal with those projects for which an environmental assessment has been started under the former Act but not completed. The new Act and associated timelines will apply to ongoing review panels, while comprehensive studies will continue under the former Act and must be completed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Establishing Timelines for Comprehensive Studies Regulations. Some screening-type assessments will continue under the former Act and must be completed within 365 days for those projects that the Minister designated at the time of coming into force of CEAA 2012. All other screening-type environmental assessments cease upon the coming into force of CEAA 2012.

A proponent is prohibited from carrying out any part of a designated project that will result in environmental effects before it is determined if an environmental assessment is required. In addition, a federal authority is prohibited from issuing a permit or authorization for a designated project that requires an environmental assessment under CEAA 2012 unless a decision statement has been issued for the project. CEAA 2012 contains compliance and enforcement provisions designed to ensure that the decision statement issued in relation to the project is adhered to.

The Minister of the Environment can designate persons to enforce and verify compliance with CEAA 2012. If a designated person believes that there is a contravention of CEAA 2012, they may order the contravener to stop doing anything that is in non-compliance with CEAA 2012 and to take measures that are necessary to comply with the Act or to mitigate the effects of non-compliance.

The Agency will promote and monitor compliance with the new Act and Regulations. The Agency will assume responsibility for conducting or administering environmental assessments for designated projects, except for designated projects that are regulated by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

12. Contact

John McCauley
Director
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-948-1785
Fax: 613-957-0897
Email: john.mccauley@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

Footnote a
S.C. 2012, c. 19, s. 52