An environmental assessment is a tool used by the federal government to evaluate the potential environmental effects from proposed projects. It ensures that any negative environmental effects are identified and measures developed to mitigate those effects. Ideally, environmental assessments are initiated as early as possible in a project’s planning process.
Environmental Assessments and Planning
As a planning tool, an environmental assessment is used to identify, predict and communicate information about the environmental effects of a proposal. It is designed to do the following:
- anticipate and prevent environmental problems;
- identify ways to increase environmental benefits;
- support informed decisions on project options and trade-offs; and
- integrate environmental considerations into the planning, design and construction of projects of all sizes.
When Is an Environmental Assessment Required?
The NCC must ensure compliance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and requires an environmental assessment for all projects or activities under its authority. This applies to the following:
- NCC projects
- other federal projects
- projects on NCC lands that are initiated by other parties
- projects that are initiated by other parties and are partially funded by the NCC.
An environmental assessment must be prepared for most proposals that require federal land use, design and transaction approvals.