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Impact Assessment Act (S.C. 2019, c. 28, s. 1)

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Act current to 2022-11-16 and last amended on 2019-08-28. Previous Versions

Impact Assessment Act

S.C. 2019, c. 28, s. 1

Assented to 2019-06-21

An Act respecting a federal process for impact assessments and the prevention of significant adverse environmental effects

[Enacted by section 1 of chapter 28 of the Statutes of Canada, 2019, in force August 28, 2019, see SI/2019-86.]
Preamble

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to fostering sustainability;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that impact assessments provide an effective means of integrating scientific information and Indigenous knowledge into decision-making processes related to designated projects;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of public participation in the impact assessment process, including the planning phase, and is committed to providing Canadians with the opportunity to participate in that process and with the information they need in order to be able to participate in a meaningful way;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that the public should have access to the reasons on which decisions related to impact assessments are based;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed, in the course of exercising its powers and performing its duties and functions in relation to impact, regional and strategic assessments, to ensuring respect for the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and to fostering reconciliation and working in partnership with them;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of cooperating with jurisdictions that have powers, duties and functions in relation to the assessment of the effects of designated projects in order that impact assessments may be conducted more efficiently;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that a transparent, efficient and timely decision-making process contributes to a positive investment climate in Canada;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that impact assessment contributes to Canada’s ability to meet its environmental obligations and its commitments in respect of climate change;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of encouraging innovative approaches and technologies to reduce adverse changes to the environment and to health, social or economic conditions;

And whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of regional assessments in understanding the effects of existing or future physical activities and the importance of strategic assessments in assessing federal policies, plans or programs that are relevant to conducting impact assessments;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Impact Assessment Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.

Agency

Agency means the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada that is continued under section 153. (Agence)

analyst

analyst means a person or a member of a class of persons designated as an analyst under subsection 120(1). (analyste)

assessment by a review panel

assessment by a review panel means an impact assessment that is conducted by a review panel. (examen par une commission)

Canadian Energy Regulator

Canadian Energy Regulator means the Canadian Energy Regulator established by subsection 10(1) of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act. (Régie canadienne de l’énergie)

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission means the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission established by section 8 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. (Commission canadienne de sûreté nucléaire)

designated project

designated project means one or more physical activities that

  • (a) are carried out in Canada or on federal lands; and

  • (b) are designated by regulations made under paragraph 109(b) or designated in an order made by the Minister under subsection 9(1).

It includes any physical activity that is incidental to those physical activities, but it does not include a physical activity designated by regulations made under paragraph 112(1)(a.2). (projet désigné)

direct or incidental effects

direct or incidental effects means effects that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to a federal authority’s exercise of a power or performance of a duty or function that would permit the carrying out, in whole or in part, of a physical activity or designated project, or to a federal authority’s provision of financial assistance to a person for the purpose of enabling that activity or project to be carried out, in whole or in part. (effets directs ou accessoires)

effects

effects means, unless the context requires otherwise, changes to the environment or to health, social or economic conditions and the positive and negative consequences of these changes. (effets)

effects within federal jurisdiction

effects within federal jurisdiction means, with respect to a physical activity or a designated project,

  • (a) a change to the following components of the environment that are within the legislative authority of Parliament:

  • (b) a change to the environment that would occur

    • (i) on federal lands,

    • (ii) in a province other than the one where the physical activity or the designated project is being carried out, or

    • (iii) outside Canada;

  • (c) with respect to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, an impact — occurring in Canada and resulting from any change to the environment — on

    • (i) physical and cultural heritage,

    • (ii) the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, or

    • (iii) any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance;

  • (d) any change occurring in Canada to the health, social or economic conditions of the Indigenous peoples of Canada; and

  • (e) any change to a health, social or economic matter that is within the legislative authority of Parliament that is set out in Schedule 3. (effet relevant d’un domaine de compétence fédérale)

enforcement officer

enforcement officer means a person or a member of a class of persons designated as an enforcement officer under subsection 120(1). (agent de l’autorité)

environment

environment means the components of the Earth, and includes

  • (a) land, water and air, including all layers of the atmosphere;

  • (b) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms; and

  • (c) the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b). (environnement)

federal authority

federal authority means

  • (a) a Minister of the Crown in right of Canada;

  • (b) an agency of the Government of Canada or a parent Crown corporation, as defined in subsection 83(1) of the Financial Administration Act, or any other body established by or under an Act of Parliament that is ultimately accountable through a Minister of the Crown in right of Canada to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs;

  • (c) any department or departmental corporation that is set out in Schedule I, I.1 or II to the Financial Administration Act; and

  • (d) any other body that is set out in Schedule 1.

It does not include the Executive Council of — or a minister, department, agency or body of the government of — Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut, a council of the band within the meaning of the Indian Act, Export Development Canada or the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. It also does not include a Crown corporation, as defined in subsection 83(1) of the Financial Administration Act, that is a wholly-owned subsidiary, as defined in that subsection, a harbour commission established under the Harbour Commissions Act or a not-for-profit corporation that enters into an agreement under subsection 80(5) of the Canada Marine Act, that is not set out in Schedule 1. (autorité fédérale)

federal lands

federal lands means

  • (a) lands that belong to Her Majesty in right of Canada, or that Her Majesty in right of Canada has the power to dispose of, and all waters on and airspace above those lands, other than lands under the administration and control of the Commissioner of Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut;

  • (b) the following lands and areas:

    • (i) the internal waters of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province,

    • (ii) the territorial sea of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province,

    • (iii) the exclusive economic zone of Canada, and

    • (iv) the continental shelf of Canada; and

  • (c) reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and that are subject to the Indian Act, and all waters on and airspace above those reserves or lands. (territoire domanial)

follow-up program

follow-up program means a program for verifying the accuracy of the impact assessment of a designated project and determining the effectiveness of any mitigation measures. (programme de suivi)

impact assessment

impact assessment means an assessment of the effects of a designated project that is conducted in accordance with this Act. (évaluation d’impact)

Indigenous governing body

Indigenous governing body means a council, government or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, community or people that holds rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. (corps dirigeant autochtone)

Indigenous knowledge

Indigenous knowledge means the Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. (connaissances autochtones)

Indigenous peoples of Canada

Indigenous peoples of Canada has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. (peuples autochtones du Canada)

Internet site

Internet site means the Internet site that is established under section 105. (site Internet)

jurisdiction

jurisdiction means

  • (a) a federal authority;

  • (b) any agency or body that is established under an Act of Parliament and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a designated project;

  • (c) the government of a province;

  • (d) any agency or body that is established under an Act of the legislature of a province and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a designated project;

  • (e) any body — including a co-management body — established under a land claim agreement referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a designated project;

  • (f) an Indigenous governing body that has powers, duties or functions in relation to an assessment of the environmental effects of a designated project

    • (i) under a land claim agreement referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, or

    • (ii) under an Act of Parliament other than this Act or under an Act of the legislature of a province, including a law that implements a self-government agreement;

  • (g) an Indigenous governing body that has entered into an agreement or arrangement referred to in paragraph 114(1)(e);

  • (h) a government of a foreign state or of a subdivision of a foreign state, or any institution of such a government; and

  • (i) an international organization of states or any institution of such an organization. (instance)

Minister

Minister means the Minister of the Environment. (ministre)

mitigation measures

mitigation measures means measures to eliminate, reduce, control or offset the adverse effects of a project or designated project, and includes restitution for any damage caused by those effects through replacement, restoration, compensation or any other means. (mesures d’atténuation)

prescribed

prescribed means prescribed by the regulations. (Version anglaise seulement)

proponent

proponent means the person or entity — federal authority, government or body — that proposes the carrying out of, or carries out, a designated project. (promoteur)

record

record includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape and machine readable record, and any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy of it. (document)

Registry

Registry means the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry established under section 104. (registre)

review panel

review panel means a review panel established

  • (a) under section 41;

  • (b) under subsection 44(1);

  • (c) under subsection 47(1);

  • (d) under an agreement or arrangement entered into under subsection 39(1) or (3); or

  • (e) by document referred to in subsection 40(2). (commission)

sustainability

sustainability means the ability to protect the environment, contribute to the social and economic well-being of the people of Canada and preserve their health in a manner that benefits present and future generations. (durabilité)

Marginal note:Rights of Indigenous peoples of Canada

 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act is to be construed as abrogating or derogating from the protection provided for the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Application

Marginal note:Non-application

 This Act does not apply in respect of physical activities to be carried out wholly within lands described in Schedule 2.

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

Purposes

Marginal note:Purposes

  •  (1) The purposes of this Act are

    • (a) to foster sustainability;

    • (b) to protect the components of the environment, and the health, social and economic conditions that are within the legislative authority of Parliament from adverse effects caused by a designated project;

    • (b.1) to establish a fair, predictable and efficient process for conducting impact assessments that enhances Canada’s competitiveness, encourages innovation in the carrying out of designated projects and creates opportunities for sustainable economic development;

    • (c) to ensure that impact assessments of designated projects take into account all effects — both positive and adverse — that may be caused by the carrying out of designated projects;

    • (d) to ensure that designated projects that require the exercise of a power or performance of a duty or function by a federal authority under any Act of Parliament other than this Act to be carried out, are considered in a careful and precautionary manner to avoid adverse effects within federal jurisdiction and adverse direct or incidental effects;

    • (e) to promote cooperation and coordinated action between federal and provincial governments — while respecting the legislative competence of each — and the federal government and Indigenous governing bodies that are jurisdictions, with respect to impact assessments;

    • (f) to promote communication and cooperation with Indigenous peoples of Canada with respect to impact assessments;

    • (g) to ensure respect for the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, in the course of impact assessments and decision-making under this Act;

    • (h) to ensure that opportunities are provided for meaningful public participation during an impact assessment, a regional assessment or a strategic assessment;

    • (i) to ensure that an impact assessment is completed in a timely manner;

    • (j) to ensure that an impact assessment takes into account scientific information, Indigenous knowledge and community knowledge;

    • (k) to ensure that an impact assessment takes into account alternative means of carrying out a designated project, including through the use of best available technologies;

    • (l) to ensure that projects, as defined in section 81, that are to be carried out on federal lands, or those that are outside Canada and that are to be carried out or financially supported by a federal authority, are considered in a careful and precautionary manner to avoid significant adverse environmental effects;

    • (m) to encourage the assessment of the cumulative effects of physical activities in a region and the assessment of federal policies, plans or programs and the consideration of those assessments in impact assessments; and

    • (n) to encourage improvements to impact assessments through the use of follow-up programs.

  • Marginal note:Mandate

    (2) The Government of Canada, the Minister, the Agency and federal authorities, in the administration of this Act, must exercise their powers in a manner that fosters sustainability, respects the Government’s commitments with respect to the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada and applies the precautionary principle.

  • Marginal note:Application of principles to powers

    (3) The Government of Canada, the Minister, the Agency and federal authorities must, in the administration of this Act, exercise their powers in a manner that adheres to the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, thoroughness and accuracy.

 
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