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Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

In this section:

Analysis by Program Activity

The Agency has one strategic outcome: "Environmental assessment is an integral part of program and policy decision making." This strategic outcome is accomplished through one program activity: efficient and effective environmental assessment.

Financial Resources ($000s)


Planned Spending Authorities Actual Spending
18,033 19,525 18,372

Human Resources (FTEs)


Planned Actual Difference
149 148 1

The Agency plays an important role in providing leadership, guidance, training and recommendations to federal departments and agencies. This helps ensure that environmental assessment decisions comply with the Act, reflect effective and efficient practices, and consider public values. Promoting high-quality environmental assessments contributes to better decisions that protect the environment and support sustainable development. The Agency also promotes consistent approaches to environmental assessments across Canada and with its international partners. The Agency works with provincial, territorial and local partners to develop cooperative approaches wherever possible. It also fosters engagement with Aboriginal communities.

This section provides details on the Agency's program activity and its three key programs: coordination and cooperation, guidance and operations, and continuous improvement.

 


Key Program: Coordination and Cooperation

Description: Achieving timely, streamlined, effective environmental assessments through strong coordination and cooperation within the federal government, with provinces and territories and in the context of land claims agreements.
Expected Results: Environmental assessment processes are well coordinated across the federal government and with other jurisdictions.
Plan Results
Reduce costs and delays in the federal environmental assessment process for individual projects by avoiding duplication, increasing certainty and resolving issues.

Supports Priorities 1 and 2

  • The Agency undertook the role of Federal Environmental Assessment Coordinator (FEAC) for 139 multi-jurisdictional screenings and 37 comprehensive studies. Establishing a FEAC for each EA undertaken assists departments and agencies in working together and with other jurisdictions to improve the coordination and harmonization of EA processes.
  • The Agency chairs the Environmental Assessment Projects Committee, which produced and implemented the Interim Approach for Determining Scope of Project for Major Development Proposals with Specific Regulatory Triggers under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This Interim Approach aims at facilitating consistency and timeliness for a type of scoping decision that, historically, has tended to be difficult and time consuming.
Maximize predictability, increase efficiency and minimize conflicts, while strengthening effectiveness and accountability by establishing a cooperative policy framework for environmental assessment processes across jurisdictions.

Supports Priority 1

  • Framework bilateral agreements are in place and are being implemented with seven provinces/territories. An agreement with Manitoba was renewed in March 2007.
Establish, as part of land claims and self-government agreements, environmental assessment regimes that meet or exceed the requirements of the Act.

Supports Priorities 2 and 3

Land Claim and Self-Government

Agency participated and provided advice to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for the development of EA regimes under 18 land claim and self-government agreements.

  • Quebec: Attikamek, Innu du Qubec
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu of Labrador
  • British Columbia Treaty Process: participation in 15 negotiating tables. Three agreements in principle concluded: Yale, Yekooche and in-Shuck-ch

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act

  • Development of a regulatory EA regime for oil and gas projects on reserve lands

First Nation Commercial and Industrial Development Act

  • Advice and support provided to INAC on the EA requirements for the Fort McKay First Nation Oil Sands Regulations
Financial Resources ($000s) Planned Spending Authorities Actual
6,164 7,412 7,202
Human Resources (FTEs) Planned Actual Difference
60 58 2

The activities identified in the above table support stakeholders and decision makers by providing informed advice, guidance and support for the environmental assessment of projects and policies. Establishment of bilateral agreements strengthens jurisdictional relationships through coordinated assessment processes. Providing guidance on environmental assessment provisions in self-government and land claim agreements engages Aboriginal stakeholders and supports federal negotiators.

 


Key Program: Guidance and Operations

Description: The development of environmental assessment operations, advice, guidance and support for public participation.
Expected Results: Environmental assessment expertise and operational capacity is maintained and enhanced, and the role of stakeholders and decision makers is supported.
Plan Results

Ensure integration of environmental factors into the decision-making process for a specific project or class of projects through the review panel, comprehensive study and class screening processes.

Supports Priority 2

  • During the planning period, the Agency supported 13 active review panels. The review panels for the Sydney Tar Ponds Remediation, Albian Oil Sands, Kearl Oil Sands, Cacouna Energy, and Eastmain-1-A and Rupert Diversion projects issued their reports in this period.
  • The Agency declared five model class screening reports and five replacement class screening reports, and worked on the development of 20 reports. These class screening reports will enable responsible authorities to use resources more efficiently while ensuring that environmental considerations are taken into account during project planning and implementation.
  • The Agency supported the development of class screenings by providing procedural and technical advice to federal departments. Through the Class Screening Funding Program, the Agency provided financial assistance to federal departments for the development of three new class screening reports.
  • In addition, the Agency also played an important role in 37 comprehensive studies. During the reporting period, three comprehensive studies were completed, two were terminated and 32 others are at various stages of development.
Promote the integration of environmental considerations at the earliest stage of the decision-making process using strategic environmental assessments.

Supports Priority 2

  • The Agency reviewed over 300 Cabinet documents, advising sponsoring departments and agencies accordingly on the implementation of the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals and/or application of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  • The Agency also held three general training sessions in the 2006-2007 period which a total of 55 participants attended. In addition, special tailored sessions were delivered to federal departments such as Finance, Fisheries and Oceans, Justice and Parks Canada. A total of 110 governmental officials attended these sessions.
Encourage and improve public participation in the conduct of comprehensive study and panel review processes.

Supports Priority 2

  • The Agency administers the Participant Funding Program, which supports individuals and non-profit organizations interested in participating in EAs.
  • In the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the Agency received 41 funding application requests to support public participation in the EAs of 10 projects. The Agency awarded funding to 36 applicants to support their effective participation in the EAs being conducted (six review panels and four comprehensive studies).
Provide tools and mechanisms that support an improved environmental assessment process.

Supports Priorities 1, 2 and 3

  • In 2006-2007, the Agency worked in partnership with both federal and non-federal stakeholders on the development of new and updated guidance documents including a procedural guide for comprehensive studies, updates to the basic guide on how to determine if the Act applies, a new introductory guide for class screenings and a public participation guide series. Draft documents were circulated for review and are now moving to final approval for publication in 2007. This guidance material was developed to address changes in programs and expressed needs of EA practitioners and administrators.
  • In 2006-2007, the Agency delivered 65 formal training courses to a total of 982 participants. In response to the evaluation form question "Has this Agency training session met your needs?", 96 percent of participants positively indicated that Agency training did meet their needs. In addition, 99 percent responded that they "would recommend this training session to others."
Provide timely, reliable and meaningful information about environmental assessments to facilitate public involvement in the environmental assessment process.

Supports Priorities 1, 2 and 3

  • This year, over 5,000 EAs were entered into the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site (CEARIS), and 10,000 users visited the CEARIS.
  • The Agency responded to over 500 public requests for information and EA records.
  • Several additional initiatives were undertaken this year to facilitate meaningful public participation in the EA process and encourage public access to reliable EA information.
  • The Interdepartmental Registry Team was established to increase collaboration and participation among responsible authorities.
  • Several improvements were made to the CEARIS such as better presentation of information about review panels, class screenings, public participation and participant funding.
  • Training and ongoing guidance were provided to system users to assist them in fulfilling their legal obligations in providing meaningful, high quality and timely information to the public via the CEARIS.
Financial Resources ($000s) Planned Spending Authorities Actual
7,590 8,239 7,406
Human Resources (FTEs) Planned Actual Difference
52 56 -4

By providing guidance on the environmental assessment process, assisting federal government departments in meeting their obligations under the Act, and maintaining the CEAR Internet site, the Agency has strengthened its role as a centre of expertise on environmental assessment. Through the development and use of a more timely and efficient environmental process (in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on Implementing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act) the Agency demonstrated continued effective leadership in the environmental assessment process.

 


Key Program: Continuous Improvement

Description: Activities that support improved environmental assessment practices and/or outcomes.

Expected Results: Environmental assessment practices are improved, and increasingly effective mitigation measures are implemented.

Plan Action Item Indicators

Maintain an ongoing quality assurance program.

Supports Priority 1 and 2

  • The first draft of a report providing an overview of the nature of projects screened under the Act; the nature of the screening process; and the quality of service provided by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site (CEARIS) was completed by the Agency and reviewed by the SMCEA Subcommittee on Quality Assurance.
  • Concurrently, work continued on documenting the history of projects whose assessments commenced as comprehensive studies since the October 30, 2003 proclamation of the amended Act. A major focus of this analysis is documentation of the time taken to complete the various steps in the comprehensive study process and the reasons for variation from one project to another.
Promote, develop and improve environmental assessment practices.

Supports Priority 2

  • In the fall of 2006, the Agency supported research projects under the newly revised Research and Development program. These projects respond to two identified research priority areas: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Meaningful Involvement. The timeline for these research projects extends until 2008. As such, utilization of the reports will not be available until next year. The Agency hopes to use this research in relation to its strategic priorities, particularly with a view to informing how the Agency can build a more integrated framework for EA.
  • Further activity on developing a follow-up repository was deferred pending availability of additional results of follow-up programs.
Development and review of, and consultation and communication on, the legislative and policy basis for the federal practice of environmental assessment.

Supports Priorities 1 and 2

  • On June 11, 2006, amendments to the Act came into force whereby parent Crown corporations became subject to the Act. This culminated a three-year process of analysis, support and guidance by the Agency to familiarize Crown corporations with their responsibilities under the Act. As well, regulations were developed and implemented to provide a modified CEARIS process for those Crown corporations involved in providing commercial loans.
  • A new version of the Exclusion List Regulations was prepared for final approvals prior to coming into force, with a target date of late spring 2007. The Agency has also conducted consultations for two proposed amendments to the Exclusion List Regulations to address the business activities of Canada Post Corporation (CPC).
  • Projects were undertaken toward amendments to the other key regulations. A discussion paper was made available to the public on proposed amendments which would add the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act to the Law List Regulations and the Inclusion List Regulations. A review of section 10 of the Comprehensive Study List Regulations was initiated with Infrastructure Canada.
  • A new approach to amending the Federal Coordination Regulations was developed in response to comments received on the previous year's proposed revisions to the regulations. Federal departments and agencies were consulted on the approach and a plain language version of the proposed regulations was prepared.
  • Port authorities, federal departments and the Regulatory Advisory Committee were consulted on a final unofficial draft of a new version of the Canada Port Authority Environmental Assessment Regulations. Drafting of the final new regulation is in progress.
  • Consultation and discussions with the airport authorities and Transport Canada have been ongoing, and new draft airport authority regulations are expected to follow shortly after completion of the new port authority regulations.
Financial Resources ($000s) Planned Spending Authorities Actual
4,279 3,874 3,764
Human Resources (FTEs) Planned Actual Difference
37 34 3