Environmental Assessment

Understanding the Environmental Assessment Requirements of BCF-CC Projects

Prior to applying, municipalities considering future upgrading or replacement of drinking water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure may contact Ministry of Environment field staff to have a preliminary background discussion on the capacity and capability of their proposed projects to meet environmental and public health protection standards which have been established by the Ministry of Environment.  Note that a Ministry of Environment Permit to Construct is not required before applying to BCF-CC.  For information on a Permit to Construct please contact the ministry engineering staff at (306)787-6504.

Funding agreements established through the BCF-CC are subject to the federal environmental legislation requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act (CEAA).  The requirements of CEAA are triggered, in this instance, by the provision of federal funding for BCF-CC projects.  This information package has been created to inform potential project applicants of the CEAA process and to answer frequently asked questions.

Q: What is CEAA?
CEAA is a decision-making tool used to identify potential environmental, social, and economic effects of a project and to develop mitigation strategies to remove or manage these effects.  The overall intent of the legislation is to ensure projects do not cause significant adverse environmental effects and to promote principles of sustainable development.

Q: What is the first step of the BCF-CC CEAA process?
The first step is always the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat determining if the proposed project is excluded from the CEAA or requires the completion of an environmental assessment report.

Q: What is an environmental assessment?
In general, an environmental assessment is the process of predicting the environmental effects of proposed initiatives / projects before they are carried out.

An environmental assessment:

  • identifies possible environmental effects;
  • proposes measures to mitigate adverse effects; and
  • predicts whether there will be significant adverse environmental effects, even after the mitigation is implemented.

Environmental assessments occur early in a project’s development prior to construction and are required before any federal funding can be released.  An important component for all BCF-CC funded projects requiring an environmental assessment is the inclusion of a detailed project description.

Q: What is a project description?
A project description is usually an early step in the environmental assessment process and provides detailed information on the project including its purpose, location, description of the physical environment, construction methods and potential effects on the natural and social environments.  For most BCF-CC projects the project description can be incorporated into the main environmental assessment report.

Q: Do all projects require an environmental assessment?
There are several different levels of environmental assessments under CEAA depending upon the size and complexity of the project.  In some instances, the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat will determine that the project will be exempted from the Act if it does not pose any environmental harm.  If an environmental assessment is not required, an Exclusion Letter will be sent to the proponent.

For more complex projects, an environmental assessment will be required to address and mitigate environmental effects.  If an environmental assessment is required, the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat will complete in on behalf of the proponent at no cost to the proponent.  The proponent may be contacted to provide additional information for the environmental assessment.

Q: What happens after the environmental assessment is complete?
An Environmental Screening Report (ESR) and Environmental Screening Decision
(ESD) document is prepared by the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat, which summarizes the government’s review of the project.  The ESR identifies all necessary licensing and mitigation requirements for the project.  No construction may occur until the proponent receives the Environmental Screening Report & Decision from the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat.

Upon completion of the project the proponent will submit a final project report to the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat.  Part of this submission will be the Final Environmental Report.  A designated individual is required to oversee that the environmental mitigation strategies are followed.  This individual should write the Final Environmental Report upon construction completion.

For more information on CEAA visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency’s website: index_e.htm, or contact the BCF-CC Joint Secretariat Environmental Assessment Coordinator at (306)-975-5918.

[Environmental assessment Questions/Answers were developed by Alberta BCF-CC Joint Secretariat]









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