CEAA 2012 and regulations

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) is the legal basis for the federal environmental assessment (EA) process in Canada. EAs help guide the decision-making process and map out the design and implementation of a proposed project before it proceeds.

The implementation of the CEAA 2012 by federal authorities ensures that:

  • proposed projects are carefully reviewed before federal authorities take action, and do not cause significant negative environmental effects
  • there is an opportunity for public participation in the EA process
  • development in Canada, or on federal lands, does not cause significant negative environmental effects in the surrounding areas
  • there is improved cooperation and coordination on EAs between federal and provincial governments, as well as enhanced communication and cooperation between federal authorities and Aboriginal Peoples

To clarify when an EA is required and to facilitate implementation of the CEAA 2012, the Regulations Designating Physical Activities was established. The following is an unofficial version provided for convenience only. Official versions, when available, will be posted on the Justice Canada website.

These regulations identify the physical activities that constitute the “designated projects" that may require an EA by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The federal government has other EA cooperation agreements to help evaluate proposed projects. These agreements allow consistent information sharing, establish a single contact person, and promote effective and coordinated public consultation and communications, resulting in a timely, effective EA process that enables governments to meet their legal requirements.

EA cooperation agreements exist with British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and the Yukon. An agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador has been in draft form since 2005. Copies of federal-provincial/territorial EA agreements can be viewed on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's website.