Impact Assessment Act – Presentation

Impact Assessment Act – Presentation (PDF, 50 pages, 1.79 MB)

Outline

  • Overview of the federal Impact Assessment (IA) legislation
  • IA Process for Nuclear Designated Projects
  • Federal Lands Review under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA)
  • Other CNSC Environmental Reviews

Part 1: Overview of the Federal Impact Assessment Legislation

Background

  • In June 2016, the federal government launched a review of federal environmental and regulatory processes
    • including a review of processes for federal environmental assessments
    • did not include review of CNSC’s regulatory process
  • The objective was to seek Canadians’ input on improvements to the current processes

Guiding principles for federal review of environmental and regulatory processes:

  • transparent environmental assessment and regulatory processes
  • participation of Indigenous peoples in all phases
  • inclusive and meaningful public engagement
  • timely, evidence-based decisions based on reflecting the best available science and Indigenous knowledge
  • one project – one assessment

Consultation included

  • an independent Expert Panel Review
  • three related Parliamentary reviews on the National Energy Board, the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act
  • a federal “white paper” on the proposed changes
  • significant consultation with National Indigenous Organizations
  • continuous bilateral and multi-stakeholder meetings

The nuclear industry was consulted throughout these consultation activities

Bill C-69 was tabled on February 8, 2018 to

  • replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) with the Impact Assessment Act
  • replace the National Energy Board Act with the Canadian Energy Regulator Act
  • undertake significant changes to the Navigation Protection Act

On June 21, 2019 Bill C-69 received Royal Assent

Legislative Changes

The Impact Assessment Act came into force on August 28, 2019

  • created the new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and repealed the CEAA 2012
  • includes transitional provisions
    • any designated project started prior to August 28, 2019 remains under CEAA 2012
  • designated projects, projects on federal lands

Difference between Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment – process considerations

From Environmental Assessment under CEAA 2012 To Impact Assessment
under the IAA
Governance CNSC was the sole Responsible Authority to carry out EAs for designated nuclear projects The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is solely responsible for the conduct of impact assessments
Early Planning Phase Not applicable under CEAA 2012 This phase includes public participation and Indigenous engagement activities.
CNSC would provide advice and technical expertise to the Agency
Review Process Designated projects were assessed using the processes established under the CNSC’s legislation All designated nuclear projects will be referred to a Review Panel
Decision making The Commission makes the EA and licensing decisions for designated nuclear projects For designated nuclear projects, the Governor-in-Council makes the IA decision. The Commission will then make the licensing decision.
Enforcement The Commission issues the EA decision statement with enforceable conditions. All conditions are integrated into the CNSC licence. The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Canada issues the IA decision statement with enforceable conditions. For designated nuclear projects, the Minister may designate any conditions that are included in the decision statement to be part of the license issued by the CNSC.

Difference between Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment – technical considerations

under the IAA
From Environmental Assessment under CEAA 2012 To Impact Assessment

Scope of assessment

Scope focused on environmental factors

The scope broadened to include the following factors:

  • environment
  • economic
  • social
  • health
  • gender
  • impacts on Indigenous rights
  • positive and negative

Includes the principle of sustainability

IAA Regulations

Physical Activities Regulations

  • describes designated projects (Project List)
  • refer to Annex  A for key changes to the Project List

Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations

  • outlines the information that the proponent must provide to support early planning
  • outlines the documents the Agency must provide to guide the IA
  • provides the circumstances in which the Agency may suspend the legislated timelines

Designated Projects

  • Designated projects are described in the Physical Activities Regulations (Project List)
  • Project List was developed to capture major projects with the greatest potential for adverse effects on areas of federal jurisdiction
    • including environmental effects arising from federally regulated projects related to nuclear, interprovincial pipelines and offshore energy activities
  • Minister may designate any project not described in regulations, based on factors set in the legislation

Part 2: IA Process for Nuclear Designated Projects

Impact Assessments of Nuclear Designated Projects

  • Impact assessments of all designated projects regulated by the CNSC will be conducted by a Review Panel
  • The goal is a single process to discharge the requirements of both the IAA and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA)

“One project, one review” for designated projects regulated by CNSC

Memorandum of Understanding

  • In October 2019, the CNSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Eight annexes to the MOU outlining roles and responsibilities of the Agency and the CNSC:
    • Information Sharing and Notification
    • Public Engagement and Participation
    • Crown Consultation
    • Appointment to rosters and Review Panels

IA Process Overview

Impact Assessment Overview Process

The key participants in the impact assessment system are:

  • Proponent
  • Indigenous groups
  • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Other jurisdictions
  • Review panel
  • Federal Authorities
  • Minister
  • Governor in Council
  • Public

Phase 1: Planning (180 days)

The key participants are:

  • Proponent
  • Indigenous groups
  • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Other jurisdictions
  • Federal Authorities
  • Public

CNSC participation in engagement with public and Indigenous groups

CNSC support in development of outputs:

  • Public Participation Plan
  • Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan
  • Impact Assessment Cooperation Plan
  • Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines
  • Permitting Plan
Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines

CNSC inputs in the development of the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines for a proposed project

The Guidelines provide direction to the proponent on the Impact Statement including

  • factors to be considered
  • the methodology to be followed
  • other information requirements

Sets the scope of the Review Panel under the Impact Assessment Act

Public Participation and Indigenous Consultation
  • The Agency will lead the whole-of government consultation activities
    • once the IA decision is made, the CNSC takes the lead on Crown consultation activities
  • CNSC will work with the Agency on all public participation and Indigenous consultation activities
  • Agency will provide and administer participant funding for IA until issuance of an IA Decision Statement

Phase 2: Impact Statement (3 years)

The key participants are:

  • Proponent
  • Indigenous groups
  • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Other jurisdictions
  • Federal Authorities
  • Public

Agency will consult the CNSC in the development of the Terms of Reference for the Review Panel

CNSC will assist the Agency in making a determination on conformity of the Impact Statement with Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines

Phase 3: Impact Asessment (300-60s0 days)

The key participants are:

  • Proponent
  • Indigenous groups
  • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Other jurisdictions
  • Review Panel
  • Federal Authorities
  • Public

Appointment of Review Panel Members

  • cross-appointment of Members to be Panel of the Commission under the NSCA

Review Panel hold public hearings on both IA and first licence

Review Panel prepares IA report – two parts

  • IA recommendations and necessary information for licensing decision
Appointments of Review Panel Members
  • For Review Panels,
    • the Chairperson is appointed by the Agency
    • at least one Member of the Panel would be from the CNSC’s roster of Commission members
  • It is proposed that other members of the Review Panel also be appointed as temporary Commission members subject to Governor-in-Council approval

Any subsequent licences, would only be subject to CNSC’s licensing process

Phase 4: Decision-Making (90 days)

The key participants are:

  • Minister
  • Governor in Council

Referral to Governor-in-Council to make public interest determination

  • if in public interest, Minister issues IA decision

Agency will, in consultation with the CNSC, provide advice to the Minister to designate conditions in the IA decision statement to be included in the CNSC licence
If the Minister issues a positive decision, the Review Panel (as the Commission) makes a licensing decision

Phase 5: Post-Decision

The key participants in the impact assessment system are:

  • Proponent
  • Indigenous groups
  • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Review panel
  • Federal Authorities
  • Public

Any conditions established by the Minister are designated to be part of the CNSC licence:

  • conditions will be enforced by the CNSC

Annex B provides a summary of the role of the Review Panel / Commission in the IA process

Related Initiatives under the IAA
  • Government of Canada initiatives related to cumulative effects under the IAA:
    • Regional Assessments
    • Open Science and Data Platform

CNSC readiness for the IAA

  • CNSC staff developed an implementation plan to ensure readiness for the IAA
  • Key activities include:
    • development of MOU with the Agency
    • updates to REGDOC-2.9.1, Environmental Principles, Assessments and Protection Measures, v 1.1 to reflect changes to the IAA
    • presentations to industry
    • ongoing engagement activities with Indigenous groups
    • obtaining lessons learned from other federal departments and agencies
  • Further examples of CNSC’s readiness for implementing the IAA are provided in Annex C

Part 3: Federal Lands Reviews under the IAA

Projects on Federal Lands

Federal Lands Reviews under the IAA

  • Same as CEAA 2012 – scope focused on environmental effects and not other IA factors
  • New requirements:
    • public comments invited
    • posting notices on Public Registry
    • factors to consider (s.84):
      • adverse impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples
      • Indigenous and community knowledge
      • comments received from the public
      • technically and economically feasible mitigation measures

Role of the Commission – Projects on Federal Lands

  • Federal lands review will be integrated into CNSC’s licensing process
  • Commission must determine whether the completion of the proposed project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects

Part 4: Other CNSC Environmental Reviews

Other CNSC Environmental Reviews

  • Information on the CNSC’s environmental review processes are found in REGDOC-2.9.1, Environmental Protection: Environmental Principles, Assessments and Protection Measures, Version 1.2
    • undergoing a revision to capture changes in federal legislation
  • Other CNSC Environmental Reviews
    • federal lands review under the IAA
    • ongoing EAs under CEAA, 2012
    • CNSC’s licensing process
    • EAs under Provincial/Territorial Regimes or Land Claim Agreements

Ongoing Environmental Assessment under CEAA 2012

  • Ongoing projects with EAs initiated under CEAA 2012 are continuing under this current process
    • any designated project started prior to August 28, 2019 remains under CEAA 2012
  • The IAA contains provisions to enable the projects to advance in this way
Proponent Project EA start date
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Whiteshell Reactor #1 In Situ Decommissioning Project May 16, 2016
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Near Surface Disposal Facility Project May 5, 2016
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project May 5, 2016
Global First Power Micro Modular Reactor Project July 15, 2019
NexGen Energy Ltd. Rook I Project May 2, 2019
Denison Mines Corporation Wheeler River Project May 31, 2019 (on hold at lincensee’s request)

EAs under Provincial/Territorial Regimes or Land Claim Agreements

  • In both cases, the CNSC acts as a technical expert throughout the EA process but has no EA decision-making role
  • The Commission retains decision making on licensing matters, and uses the information gathered in the EA process to inform its licensing decision under the NSCA
  • When multiple jurisdictions are involved, these processes are harmonized as much as possible to reduce duplication and promote efficiency

Summary – Ongoing Commission Operations

  • Environmental effects of all nuclear facilities or activities are considered and evaluated when licensing decisions are made
  • All licence applications that demonstrate potential interactions between the facility or activity and the environment are subject to either an environmental protection review under the NSCA or an EA under the CEAA 2012
  • For each licensing decision, the Commission (or a Designated Officer) must be satisfied that the applicant or licensee will make adequate provision for the protection of the environment and the health and safety of persons before a licence can be granted

Overall Summary

  • Impact assessments of all nuclear designated projects will be conducted by a Review Panel
  • MOU in place with IA Agency which outlines roles and responsibilities for Review Panels for nuclear projects
  • Commission retains decision-making for licensing matters
    • under the IAA, the Minister makes the IA decision
    • for federal lands review or environmental protection reviews, the Commission determines if the project is likely to cause significant adverse effects

References

Annex A – Comparison of CEAA 2012 and IAA Project List

CEAA 2012 IAA project list Net change
The expansion of an existing facility for the processing, reprocessing or separation of an isotope of uranium, thorium, or plutonium, that would result in an increase in production capacity of 50% or  more and a total production capacity of 100 t/year or more The construction, operation and decommissioning of one
of a new facility for the processing, reprocessing or separation of isotopes of uranium, thorium, or plutonium, with
a production capacity of 100 t/year or more
Threshold increase
The expansion of an existing facility for the manufacture of a product derived from uranium, thorium or plutonium that would result in an increase in production capacity of 50% or  more and a  with a production capacity of 100 t/year or more The construction, operation and decommissioning of one of a new facility for the manufacture of a product derived from uranium, thorium or plutonium, with a production capacity of 100 t/year or more Threshold increase
The expansion of an existing facility for the processing or use, in a quantity greater than 1015 Bq per calendar year, of nuclear substances with a half-life greater than one year, other than uranium, thorium or plutonium, that would result in an increase in processing capacity of 50% or more The construction, operation and decommissioning  of a new facility for the processing or use, in a quantity greater than 1015 Bq per calendar year, of nuclear substances with a half-life greater than one year, other than uranium, thorium or plutonium Threshold increase
The construction and operation of new facility for the storage of irradiated fuel or nuclear waste, on a site that is not within the licensed perimeter of an existing nuclear facility The construction and operation of a new facility for the storage of  irradiated nuclear fuel or nuclear waste, outside the licensed boundaries of an existing nuclear facility, as defined in section 2 of the Nuclear Safety and  Control Act, other than a facility for the onsite storage of irradiated nuclear fuel or nuclear waste associated with one or more new fission or fusion reactors that have a combined thermal capacity of less than 200 MWth Threshold established
The construction and operation of a new facility for the long-term management or disposal of irradiated fuel or nuclear waste The construction and operation of a new facility for the long-term management or disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel or nuclear waste No change
The expansion of an existing facility for the long-term management or disposal of irradiated fuel or nuclear waste that would result in an increase in the area, at ground level, of the facility of 50% or more The expansion of an existing facility for the long-term management or disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel or nuclear waste, if the expansion would result in an increase in the area of the facility, at ground level, of 50% or more No change
The construction, operation and decommissioning of a new nuclear fission or fusion reactor. The site preparation for, and the construction, operation and decommissioning of, one or more new nuclear fission or fusion reactors if that activity is located within the licensed boundaries of an existing Class IA nuclear facility and the new reactors have a combined thermal capacity of more than 900 MWth Threshold established
The site preparation for, and the construction, operation and decommissioning of, one or more new nuclear fission or fusion reactors if that activity is not located within the licensed boundaries of an existing Class IA nuclear facility and the new reactors have a combined thermal capacity of more than 200 MWth Threshold established
The construction, operation and decommissioning of a new uranium mine or uranium mill on a site that is not within the licensed boundaries of an existing uranium mine or uranium mill. The construction, operation and decommissioning, outside the licensed boundaries of an existing uranium mine, of a new uranium mine with an ore production capacity of 2 500 t/day or more. Threshold established
The expansion of an existing uranium mine that would result in an increase in the area of mine operations of 50% or more The expansion of an existing uranium mine, if the expansion would result in an increase in the area of mining operations of 50% or more and the total ore production capacity would be 2500 t/day or more after the expansion. Threshold increase

Annex B – Summary of Role of the Review Panel / Commission

Phase Activity Role of the Review Panel
Planning Public and Indigenous Engagement
Development of Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and Plans
No role for the Review Panel
Impact Statement Development of Terms of Reference for the Review Panel No role for the Review Panel
Impact Assessment Appointment of members of Review Panel
Conduct analysis of Impact Statement
Prepare Impact Assessment (IA)
Hold hearings on both IA and first licence
Prepare IA report and recommendations for conditions to the Minister
Decision Making Minister makes IA decision Make licensing decision, if positive IA decision
Post Decision CNSC enforces conditions Subsequent hearings / licensing decisions

Annex C – CNSC Readiness for Implementation of IAA

Sector Activity Status
Collaboration with IAAC and other Government Departments CNSC-IAAC Memorandum of Understanding and 8 annexes Completed
Collaboration agreements with Saskatchewan and Ontario In progress
NWMO-IAAC-CNSC Integrated IA Discussion: APM Project Completed
Public Registry Develop an enhanced, one-window public registry through a phased approach and improve online tools Phase 1 – Completed
Phase 2 – In progress
Regulatory framework Revisions to Regulatory Document-2.9.1, Environmental Protection: Environmental Principles, Assessments and Protection Measures, vs 1.1 October 2020 (TBC)
Improvements to Environmental Protection Reviews under the NSCA Ongoing
Communications Updates to EA webpages, both internally and externally, to reflect changes and make reference to the proposed Impact Assessment Act Completed
Internal communications for CNSC staff:
all-staff message and social media postings following Royal Assent
MOU and Annexes posted on both websites in mid-October
open learning session for all-staff delivered in January 2020
Completed
Roster and Panel Members Potential candidates for CNSC roster and Panel Members Ongoing
Training CNSC staff participated in IAAC-led webinars and training sessions Completed
External Awareness (Industry) CNSC staff have engaged broadly with industry, including presentations to:
Canadian Nuclear Association
Nuclear Waste Management Office
CANDU Owner’s Group
Atomic Energy Limited
Completed
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