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

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Act current to 2020-10-05 and last amended on 2019-08-28. Previous Versions

Interpretation (continued)

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.

Prohibitions

Marginal note:Proponent

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (3), the proponent of a designated project must not do any act or thing in connection with the carrying out of the designated project, in whole or in part, if that act or thing may cause any of the following effects:

    • (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 in which the act or thing is done, 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; or

    • (e) any change to a health, social or economic matter within the legislative authority of Parliament that is set out in Schedule 3.

  • Marginal note:Schedule 3

    (2) The Governor in Council may, by order, amend Schedule 3 to add or remove a component of the environment or a health, social or economic matter.

  • Marginal note:Conditions

    (3) The proponent of a designated project may do an act or thing in connection with the carrying out of the designated project, in whole or in part, that may cause any of the effects described in subsection (1) if

    • (a) the Agency makes a decision under subsection 16(1) that no impact assessment of the designated project is required and posts that decision on the Internet site;

    • (b) the proponent complies with the conditions included in the decision statement that is issued to the proponent under section 65 with respect to that designated project and is not expired or revoked; or

    • (c) the Agency permits the proponent to do that act or thing, subject to any conditions that it establishes, for the purpose of providing to the Agency the information or details that it requires in order to prepare for a possible impact assessment of that designated project or for the purpose of providing to the Agency or a review panel the information or studies that it considers necessary for it to conduct the impact assessment of that designated project.

  • Marginal note:Conditions — agreement with Indigenous governing body

    (4) Despite paragraph (1)(d), the proponent of a designated project may do an act or thing in connection with the carrying out of the designated project, in whole or in part, that may cause a change described in that paragraph in relation to an Indigenous group, community or people that holds rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 if the change is not adverse and the council, government or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of the Indigenous group, community or people and the proponent have agreed that the act or thing may be done.

Marginal note:Federal authority

 A federal authority must not exercise any power or perform any duty or function conferred on it under any Act of Parliament other than this Act that could permit a designated project to be carried out in whole or in part and must not provide financial assistance to any person for the purpose of enabling that designated project to be carried out, in whole or in part, unless

  • (a) the Agency makes a decision under subsection 16(1) that no impact assessment of the designated project is required and posts that decision on the Internet site; or

  • (b) the decision statement with respect to the designated project that is issued to the proponent of the designated project under section 65 sets out that the effects that are indicated in the report with respect to the impact assessment of that project are in the public interest.

 
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