Horizontal Initiatives

Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Natural Resource Projects

NOTE: Departments are instructed to review the detailed instructions for this table carefully, as they have changed from the template used last year. Note that plans and spending information for each federal partner involved in the horizontal initiative is to be presented in a separate table.


1. Name of Horizontal Initiative: Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Natural Resource Projects

2. Name of lead department(s): Natural Resources Canada

3. Lead department program activity: Safety, Security and Stewardship – Natural Resource and Landmass Knowledge and Systems

4. Start date of the Horizontal Initiative: October 1, 2007

5. End date of the Horizontal Initiative: March 31, 2012

6. Total federal funding allocation (start to end date): $150 million over 5 years

7. Description of the Horizontal Initiative (including funding agreement):

To respond to the growth in the number of major resource projects and to move forward on commitments to create a more accountable, predictable and timely regulatory review process, the Major Projects Management Office was established to provide a single point of entry into the federal regulatory system for all stakeholders and to provide overarching management of the federal regulatory process for major natural resource projects in both operational and policy areas.

The Government has allocated $150 million over five years to establish the MPMO within Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and to increase the scientific and technical capacity of key regulatory departments and agencies. Resources provided through this initiative ensure that key regulatory departments and agencies are positioned to deliver high quality assessments of major resource projects and to meet their legal responsibilities for Aboriginal Crown consultation associated with their regulatory decisions for major resource projects.

This initiative provides the oversight and capacity needed to address the issues affecting the performance of the federal regulatory system. In short, it lays the foundation for a more predictable and accountable regulatory system that will improve the competitiveness of Canada’s resource industries while ensuring careful consideration of environmental standards and technical requirements.

8. Shared outcome(s):

Among the more tangible results from this initiative will be improved efficiency and predictability of federal project reviews.  The environmental assessment and regulatory review and permitting process for major resource projects is targeted to be reduced from more than four years to an average of about two years.

Other important outcomes from this initiative include:

  • a more accountable, predictable and timely regulatory review process that will facilitate investment and planning decisions and improve the competitiveness of Canada’s resources industries;
  • high quality assessments of the environmental and social effects of resource development so that federal decisions in relation to projects safeguard the environment and promote sustainability; and
  • Aboriginal consultation responsibilities will be fulfilled in a more consistent, adequate and meaningful manner.

9. Governance structure(s):

The Cabinet Directive on Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Resource Projects established a new governance framework for federal government departments and agencies to facilitate the effective, coordinated, and concurrent discharge of their statutory duties, functions and obligations related to the regulation of major resource projects. It encourages federal government departments to work together to identify areas where the consistency, efficiency and effectiveness of the federal regulatory system can be improved and to develop and implement system improvements.  These activities are intended to improve the accountability, transparency, timeliness and predictability of the federal regulatory system for major natural resource projects.

The Minister of Natural Resources is the lead Minister for the Initiative.  In collaboration with his counterparts in other regulatory departments, the Minister of Natural Resources reports biannually to Cabinet on progress made towards achieving the objectives of the initiative, and reports annually to Parliament and the public through NRCan’s annual reporting requirements.

A Major Projects Deputy Ministers' Committee has been created to serve as the governance body for the implementation of the initiative.  This Committee provides direction for the resolution of project-specific issues and oversees the application of the Cabinet Directive.  Membership on this committee includes the Deputy Minister of NRCan (Chair), the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Deputy Minister of the Environment, the Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Deputy Minister of Transport, the Associate Deputy Minister of Industry, the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) - Privy Council Office, the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Chair of the National Energy Board.

The MPMO provides overarching management of the federal regulatory system for major resource projects. In this role, the MPMO works with federal regulatory departments / agencies to identify areas where the consistency, efficiency and effectiveness of the federal regulatory process can be improved and to implement change. The MPMO also provides support to the Major Projects Deputy Ministers' Committee, through the provision of strategic advice and analysis.

To ensure effective communication with federal regulatory departments on key issues and to facilitate collaboration and cooperation, interdepartmental working groups have been established at the ADM, DG and Director levels.

10. Planning Highlights:

To achieve the expected results, NRCan and its federal partners will develop and implement a whole-of-government strategy to modernize the federal regulatory review process for natural resource projects by:

  • Enhancing coordination and collaboration to ensure high-quality, timely and predictable environmental assessment and regulatory review processes;
  • Improving the process and capacity of Aboriginal engagement and consultations with respect to major resource projects;
  • Identifying and implementing process improvements to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal regulatory system for major resource projects; and,
  • Working with partners to strengthen northern regulatory regimes.

Federal departments and agencies will also work collaboratively to improve the transparency and accountability of the federal regulatory review process through increased oversight and regular monitoring, tracking and reporting on progress against commitments in project agreements.

In addition, NRCan will work to identify opportunities to improve integration of federal and provincial regulatory review processes.

11. Federal Partner:

Natural Resources Canada

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Natural Resource and Landmass Knowledge and Systems Major Projects Management Office $13,000,000 $4,000,000
Total $13,000,000  $4,000,000 

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

  • A suite of legislative, regulatory and policy changes is developed and implemented to deliver predictable and timely project reviews, reduce regulatory burden, improve environmental protection and provide for more meaningful aboriginal consultations in support of the Government's economic and environmental agendas;

  • Project management and Deputy Minister-level oversight is provided for over 60 major resource projects, including working with partners to identify and resolve issues that arise to ensure an efficient and effective review process;

  • Project Agreements that include target timelines, service standards and work plans are developed to ensure timely, integrated and well coordinated environmental assessment, regulatory decision-making and Aboriginal consultation for major resource projects;

  • Robust tracking, monitoring and reporting on major resource projects is undertaken to increase the level of transparency and accountability of the federal regulatory review process and to ensure adherence to target timelines and service standards;

  • Ongoing implementation of a consistent, whole of government approach to Aboriginal consultations;

  • Work with partners to strengthen northern regulatory regimes and to improve integration of federal and provincial review processes; and,

  • An evaluation of the early successes towards meeting the objectives of the MPMO Initiative is carried out and recommendations/proposals are developed to improve program design.

  • Link: http://www.mpmo.gc.ca/


11. Federal Partner:

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Environmental Assessment Support   40,177,900

7,955,750

Environmental Assessment Development   3,991,000 878,000
Internal Services   10,831,000 2,166,250
Total 55,000,000  11,000,000 

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

Environmental Assessment Support

  • A whole-of-government approach to addressing strategic and project-specific environmental assessment issues, including supporting implementation of the major resource projects initiative is supported; and,

  • The federal environmental assessment process and related Aboriginal consultation activities for major resource projects are managed in an effective and efficient manner.

Environmental Assessment Development

  • The implementation of this horizontal initiative is supported.  Improvements in the process, capacity, and associated Aboriginal consultations with respect to major resource projects is achieved;

  • Policies, procedures and guidance materials are developed for enhancing coordination and collaboration on high-quality, timely and predictable environmental assessment within the regulatory approval process; and,

  • Policies and procedures are developed to support of the integration of Aboriginal Crown consultations in the environmental assessment and regulatory approval process.

Internal Services

  • Core support services are provided to support program delivery.

11. Federal Partner:

Environment Canada

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Biodiversity is conserved and protected Wildlife program $2,352,116 $466,159
Water is clean, safe and secure Aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected $614,683 $123,841
Canadians adopt approaches that ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes Environmental assessment and ecological monitoring $4,533,659 $868,975
Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are reduced Risk management/ Risk mitigation and implementation $2,723,837 $562,122
Relations with other governments and partners are effectively managed in support of environmental priorities Inter-governmental and stakeholder relations $596,818 $122,302
Strategic management support enables the department to meet its objectives Legal services $650,739 $141,844
Internal Services Core Support Services $1,028,148 $214,757
Total $12,500,000   $2,500,000

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

Wildlife Program

  • The efficiency and effectiveness of the Canadian Wildlife Service's regulatory role in major resource projects is improved;

  • Guidance is developed to support Canadian Wildlife Service involvement in the EA process for major resource projects;

  • Draft policies related to the issuance of permits under the Species at Risk Act, the Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act are further developed; and,

  • Draft guidance documents to facilitate the incorporation of wildlife considerations in federal environmental assessment processes for major resource projects are developed.

Aquatic Ecosystems are conserved and protected

  • EC's responsibilities associated with the International River Improvements Act are supported by standard operating procedures and policies for licensing;

  • EC’s responsibilities in the EA process associated with the International River Improvements Act (IRIA) for major natural resource projects are supported by guidance, processes and issues reviews, providing comments on hydrology, water quantity and water management;

  • Environment Canada's expert involvement with respect to hydrology, water quantity, hydraulics and water management in the regulatory review of major resource projects is supported; and,

  • Amendments to the IRIA regulations are developed, reviewed and published through the formal process. 

Environmental assessment and ecological monitoring

  • MPMO’s governance structure is supported through participation in the Major Projects Deputy Minister’s Committee and associated committees and working groups;

  • Departmental EA processes are streamlined to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the MPMO regulatory process for major resource projects;

  • Regional offices are supported in the delivery of streamlining priorities for major resource projects via National Program liaison activities and coordination;

  • Environment Canada's participation in the regulatory improvement initiative for major resource projects is well coordinated to meet established timelines and deliverables;

  • Departmental EA processes are streamlined, meeting established timelines and incorporating lessons learned from previous EA experience through workshops, post-project evaluations and contributing to operational policy statements;

  • EC contributes to the interdepartmental impact analysis of Supreme Court decisions and supported related guidance on compliance;

  • EC develops guidance, tools and training to support enhanced engagement in MPMO-track regulatory processes for major resource projects; and,

  • Work with MPMO on the development of a Crown record management system.

Risk management/ Risk mitigation and implementation

  • EC provides expert advice on major projects regarding disposal at sea, energy-related projects, mining projects and Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) for tailings impoundment areas;

  • Expert groups play a central and coordinating role on EA technical matters and projects;

  • Enhancement of departmental technical expertise and processes to contribute to environmental assessments;

  • Environment Canada's involvement in the regulatory process for major resource projects is supported by guidance;

  • Environment Canada's regulatory decisions related to Ocean Disposal permitting are timely; and,

  • EC’s involvement in the regulatory process for major resource projects is supported by triage systems and Regulatory Impact Analysis development work for regulatory amendments for the MMER.

Inter-governmental and stakeholder relations

  • Regular, timely, strategic advice and training is provided on consultation and engaging Aboriginal groups throughout the regulatory process for major resource projects;

  • Environment Canada's participation on the Crown Oversight Committee and associated working groups on Aboriginal consultation is supported;

  • Work with MPMO on the ongoing development of a Crown record management system; and,

  • Provide advice, support and training on public participation and aboriginal consultations relating to major natural resource projects.

Legal services

  • Timely legal advice and support is provided on delivery of national EA program involvement in major resource projects, interpretation of court challenges and key policy considerations.

Core Support Services

  • Core support services are provided to support program delivery.

11. Federal Partner:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Habitat Management Habitat Management Operations $32,467,100 $6,493,420
Habitat Management Program Policy $1,574,700 $314,940
Legal Services Legal Services $958,200 $191,640
Total $35,000,000  $7,000,000 

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

Habitat Management Operations:

  • Provision of input to the evaluation of initiative to identify recommendations / proposals to improve program design;

  • Continued participation in MPMO governance mechanisms (e.g., Major Projects Deputy Ministers’ Committee and supporting Director General and Assistant Deputy Minister level working groups, as well as interdepartmental project committees) in support of effective management of the federal regulatory system in relation to major natural resource projects;

  • Provision of DFO technical capacity in the areas of the Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act (SARA), Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and Aboriginal consultation activities relative to DFO’s regulatory decisions associated with major resource projects identified under this initiative; and,

  • Implementation of policies and approaches relative to major natural resource projects involving DFO.

Habitat Management Program Policy:

  • Provision of input to the evaluation of initiative to identify recommendations / proposals to improve program design;
  • Provision of input in the development and implementation of a whole-of-government strategy to modernize the federal regulatory review process;

  • Continued participation in MPMO governance mechanisms (e.g., Major Projects Deputy Ministers’ Committee and supporting Director General and Assistant Deputy Minister level groups, as well as interdepartmental working groups) in support of improving the federal regulatory system;

  • Provision of support to the development of policies and approaches led by the MPMO in relation to the areas of regulatory activities, environmental assessment and Aboriginal consultation; and,

  • Communication of policies and approaches and where appropriate, integration of policies and approaches into DFO activities.

  • Link: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Legal Services:

  • Provision of Legal Services to DFO, or to MPMO members through the MPMO legal working group, on policy and operational issues associated with the implementation of the MPMO initiative with a focus to matters relating to the Fisheries Act, CEAA, SARA and Aboriginal consultation;

  • Provision of legal support to Justice litigators for hearings before boards, tribunals and courts; and,

  • Identification of legal issues/risks associated with ongoing implementation of the MPMO initiative and development of proposed positions/options to address issues/risks.

11. Federal Partner:

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Northern Land and Resources 6,600,000 1,320,000
Responsible Federal Stewardship 3,400,000 680,000
Total 10,000,000  2,000,000 

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

  • Enhance the capacity of INAC regional offices to enable them to better meet their environmental assessment, Aboriginal consultation and regulatory responsibilities;

  • Provide funding support to regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories to allow them to better meet their aboriginal consultation, regulatory permitting and environmental assessment responsibilities with respect to major resource projects;

  • Improve the transparency and accountability of the federal regulatory review process through increased oversight and regular monitoring, tracking and reporting on progress against commitments in Project Agreements;

  • Provide Aboriginal consultation information services and support to the Major Projects Management Office and all other federal partners; and,

  • Provide funding support to First Nations communities to build capacity to better equip them to coordinate and to participate in major resource development projects.

11. Federal Partner:

Transport Canada

12. Federal Partner Program Activity (PA) 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) 15. Planned Spending for
2011–12
Transportation Safety and Security Navigable Waters Protection Program $3,365,555 $773,179
Transportation Policy Development and Infrastructure Programs Aboriginal Consultation Unit $1,813,090 $465,951
Sustainable Transportation Development and the Environment Environmental Programs $5,413,592 $1,388,591
Internal Services Departmental Administration, Finance and Legal Services $3,407,763 $872,279
Total $17,500,000  $3,500,000 

16. Expected results by program as per (13):

Navigable Waters Protection Program:

  • To participate in the various governance mechanisms for the MPMO;

  • TC (headquarters and regional staff) to participate in working groups to assist with the creation and approval of key documents, processes and tracking systems required to operationalize the MPMO office; and

  • TC to participate in projects in the MPMO process.

Aboriginal Consultation Unit:

  • TC to participate in consultation with Aboriginal groups.

Environmental Programs:

  • To participate in the various governance mechanisms for the MPMO;

  • TC (headquarters and regional staff) to participate in working groups to assist with the creation and approval of key documents, processes and tracking systems required to operationalize the MPMO office;

  • TC to work on departmental processes to ensure MPMO processes are applied in an efficient manner internally; and

  • TC to participate in projects in the MPMO process.

Departmental Administration, Finance and Legal Services:

  • TC legal services to deal with legal issues associated with the regulatory process across the country; and

  • To support corporate involvement.

  • Link: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/menu.htm


Total Allocation For All Federal Partners (from Start to End Date) Total Planned Spending for All Federal Partners for 2011–12
$143,000,000* $30,000,000

*Totals do not equal the total allocation under the initiative (i.e.; $150 million over five years) due to changes that have occurred in departmental Program Activity Architectures since the beginning of the initiative

17. Results to be achieved by non–federal partners (if applicable): N/A

18. Contact information:

Mr. Jay Khosla
A/Assistant Deputy Minister
Major Projects Management Office
Natural Resources Canada
155 Queen Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0E4


Date modified: