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Public Consultation Plan

Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's public participation objectives

The Agency consults the public for good governance and legislative reasons. By seeking public comments during the environmental assessment, the Agency can fully understand the public's views on the project's issues. It also supplements the information received from other specialists and stakeholders. Pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), once the environmental assessment is triggered, the Agency provides three opportunities for public consultation, namely on:

  • the draft guidelines;
  • the environmental impact statement submitted by the proponent; and
  • the Agency's draft environmental assessment report as well as the proposed conditions for preventing significant environmental effects that will be taken into account by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change when making his or her decision on the project.

Given its legal obligations, internal policies and the project context, the Agency intends to employ a public consultation approach that will enable it to achieve the following objectives:

  • conduct a transparent environmental assessment that is inclusive of the general public and the Quebec government;
  • optimize public participation by increasing access to the information produced as part of the environmental assessment pursuant to CEAA 2012;
  • explain to the public the Quebec government's role in the federal environmental assessment of the project;
  • gather the public's comments and concerns about the project, its impacts and the conclusions of the proponent's environmental impact statement; and
  • obtain comments from the public on the draft environmental assessment report and the proposed conditions to improve the results of the environmental assessment and the Minister's decision-making.

Proposed Consultation Plan

The public consultation approach is established based on the steps of the environmental assessment process during which key documents are produced and on the various levels of consultation according to the interest groups identified.

In addition to the public consultation activities that will be conducted, the Agency will make the following documents available on its public Registry website (http://www.acee-ceaa.gc.ca): the final guidelines sent to the proponent; all documentation submitted by the proponent (environmental impact statement, additional studies, answers to questions, etc.); comments received from the public and interested parties; expert opinions; documents of questions and comments sent to the proponent regarding the project's environmental assessment and any supplementary questions sent to the proponent or experts, if applicable; technical reports by experts; minutes of meetings between the proponent and the Agency and/or technical committee; and any public notices issued by the Agency.

The environmental assessment of the project pursuant to CEAA 2012 will be conducted by a technical committee administered by the Agency and consisting of representatives of federal departments with expertise related to the project and representatives of the Quebec Ministère du développement durable, de l'environnement et de la lutte aux changements climatiques [department of sustainable development, environment and the fight against climate change]. The committee may contribute to consultation activities.

Those likely to be interested in the public participation activities the Agency is proposing either have scientific expertise or knowledge of the proposed project area. The Agency believes that other groups or individuals may express interest over the course of the environmental assessment. The Agency may therefore modify its approach during the course of the environmental assessment in order to better address the interests expressed.

As part of its environmental assessment Participant Funding Program, the Agency published a notice about available funding from February 23 to March 27, 2017. The Agency awarded funding to three recipients.

The Agency will consider comments received throughout the process, even those submitted outside the comment periods.

1) Final Guidelines

A public e-consultation on the draft guidelines was held from January 15 to February 15, 2016. The Agency finalized the guidelines, taking into account, among other things, the comments received from the public.

2) Submission of the environmental impact statement by the proponent

Objectives:

  • Explain the federal environmental assessment process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and how the public can participate in the process.
  • Gather comments and concerns regarding the project's impacts and the mitigation measures proposed by the proponent. The comments and concerns received will be taken into account by the technical committee in its analysis.
  • Explain the technical committee's preliminary findings with respect to various issues or valued components. The government experts on the technical committee may participate if necessary.
  • Communicate the next steps in the environmental assessment.

Proposed Activities:

  • Public e-consultation by the Agency, for a period of at least 30 days, on the proponent's environmental impact statement. The public and interested groups will be invited to submit written questions and comments on the environmental impact statement to the Agency for analysis. The public may submit that information at the public sessions.
  • One or more specific meetings between the Agency and representatives of target groups.
  • An open house session for the general public led by Agency staff with themed booths and short presentations on selected topics. The government experts on the technical committee may participate if necessary. A document summarizing the issues raised during the activity will be made public.
  • One or more public sessions led by a facilitator with environment-related experience  accompanied by the proponent's experts, which are organized by the Agency to give the public an opportunity to submit comments on the environmental impact statement. A report on the session(s) outlining the topics discussed will be made public. The chosen facilitator will be credible, neutral and unbiased and may contribute to the report. The government experts on the technical committee, including representatives of the Quebec government, may participate if necessary and answer questions. The technical committee will submit recommendations to the Agency on the conduct of the public session(s), including the number and duration, and the participation of the experts and resource persons. The Agency will provide the public with sufficient advance notice of the public sessions.

3) The Agency's draft environmental assessment report and document of potential conditions

The Agency's environmental assessment report presents its analysis based on the opinions of the experts on the technical committee, Aboriginal traditional knowledge, and public comments received during the environmental assessment process on the potential effects of the project. The report also provides comments received throughout the process, including public comments.

Objectives:

  • Gather public comments on the Agency's draft environmental assessment report and on the proposed conditions that will be taken into consideration by the Minister in issuing a decision statement on the project.
  • Explain the results of the technical committee's analysis and the rationale for the selection and the desired outcomes of the conditions (the government experts on the technical committee may participate if necessary).
  • Clarify the next steps in the process following the assessment (e.g. other regulatory processes, implementation of the conditions in the Minister's notice of decision).

Proposed Activities:

  • Public e-consultation by the Agency, for a 30-day period, on its draft environmental assessment report and on the proposed potential conditions. The public and interested groups will be invited to submit written comments on these documents to the Agency.
  • Specific meetings with target groups (if necessary).
  • A public session might be organized by the Agency that would be led by a facilitator with environment-related experience to give the public an opportunity to submit comments on the conclusions and recommendations of the Agency's draft environmental assessment report. The chosen facilitator will be credible, neutral and unbiased and may contribute to the report. The government experts on the technical committee may participate if necessary and answer questions. A report summarizing comments received during this session will be made public.
  • The Agency will provide the public with sufficient advance notice of the public session.

The Agency will then finalize the environmental assessment report and the proposed conditions that will be sent to the Minister to help him or her determine whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. A decision statement on the project will be sent to the proponent and posted on the Registry website.

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