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Our role in impact assessments

What is an impact assessment?

An impact assessment is a process for identifying, predicting, and evaluating the environmental, health, social and economic impacts of development proposals before allowing them to proceed. This process includes opportunities for public engagement as well as Indigenous engagement, reconciliation and partnership.

Find out more about the new impact assessment process

How do we contribute

As a leader in the fields of earth sciences, energy, forestry, and minerals and metals, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is required by federal assessment legislation to provide its expertise to contribute to the assessment process for development projects across the country.

Providing scientific and technical expertise

Our department has a broad and extensive mandate that allows us to contribute significantly to the federal assessment process. NRCan experts frequently provide advice on:

Explore more of the scientific expertise in our department

Determining economic and socio-economic effects on Canadians

In addition to scientific expertise, the department conducts analyses on project proposals for major development projects (for energy, mining, etc.) to determine how they affect Canadians from an economic and socio-economic perspective. Impacts on employment, local businesses, and regional and national economic activity are analyzed to help support the analysis to determine whether a project is in the interest of Canadians.

Regulatory role of the department

During the federal assessment process for a project, the Explosives, Regulatory and Business Services Branch (ERBSB) takes the appropriate actions to ensure that project components and activities comply with the Explosives Act and Explosives Regulations requirements. ERBSB issues licenses and permits that authorize the storage and manufacturing of explosives related to a project and ensures that these activities adhere to the regulations. In addition, ERBSB fulfills consultation obligations with Indigenous Peoples and the public related to the issuance of these licenses and permits.

Our role in assessments for projects in northern Canada

The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon all have separate legislation that applies to the assessment process for projects in these regions. The assessment processes share similarities with one another and also with the federal legislation that applies in the rest of Canada.

NRCan contributes the same scientific advice and technical expertise to support the assessment in northern regions as it does for the rest of Canada.

Find out more about environmental assessments in Canada’s North.

Evaluating environmental effects on federal lands

Under federal impact assessment legislation, our department has a requirement to evaluate the environmental effects of projects on federal lands that are funded through departmental initiatives.

NRCan needs to ensure that any NRCan funded programs and initiatives that involve physical activities (construction, demolition, site clearing, etc.) related to physical works (buildings, infrastructure, etc.) are assessed properly to minimize their environmental footprint when necessary.

Did you know?

Project information and documents related to the federal assessments for projects across Canada are available to the public at the various registries.

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