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Notice of Substitution Approval under the Impact Assessment Act

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) has determined that an impact assessment pursuant to the Impact Assessment Act is required for the Cedar LNG Project, located near Kitimat, British Columbia (B.C.). The Project is undergoing an environmental assessment under B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Act, SBC 2002, c.43, which began on August 30, 2019.

For this project, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has approved the substitution of the conduct of the impact assessment to B.C. This means that B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) will conduct the impact assessment of the project under the Environmental Assessment Act, SBC 2002, c.43 on behalf of the Agency. The EAO will gather the information needed for the Minister to make a decision on the Project under the Impact Assessment Act.

On September 17, 2019, B.C. requested that the conduct of the federal impact assessment process be substituted to the province. From September 20 to October 20, 2019, the Agency held a public comment period on the Initial Project Description and on B.C.'s request to substitute the impact assessment process.

Comments received from the public and Indigenous groups on the substitution request covered a range of topics from the role of the Agency and federal authorities in a substituted process, the factors that should be included, considerations for meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups and engagement with the public. The comments received will be provided to B.C. so that they can be addressed in the substituted process, guided by B.C.'s commitments made to fulfilling the requirements of the Impact Assessment Act in the renewed Impact Assessment Cooperation Agreement between Canada and British Columbia (the Cooperation Agreement) and its substitution request.

Having taken into consideration the request for substitution from B.C., the commitments made by B.C. in the Cooperation Agreement, and comments received during the initial comment period, the Minister is of the opinion that B.C.'s process is an appropriate substitute for the federal process for the following reasons:

  • B.C. has committed to a substituted impact assessment process that meets the legislative requirements of the Impact Assessment Act. This will include consideration of the factors set out in subsection 22(1) and the conditions and reporting requirements for substitution outlined in subsections 33(1) and (2);
  • B.C. and Canada have established a framework to facilitate efficient and effective substituted impact assessments, set out in the Cooperation Agreement. B.C. has committed to fulfilling the conditions for substitution in Section 7 of the Cooperation Agreement;
  • B.C. has the ability to enter into an arrangement with any jurisdiction referred to in paragraphs (e) to (g) of the definition of jurisdiction in section 2 of the Impact Assessment Act respecting cooperation in the conduct of the impact assessment;

Additionally, the Minister is satisfied that:

  • federal authorities will have the opportunity to participate in the impact assessment;
  • B.C. will conduct consultation with Indigenous peoples that may be affected by the Project, including Indigenous groups identified by the Agency for consultation, and will provide the Agency the opportunity to participate in the consultation;
  • the public will have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the impact assessment process, as the B.C. process includes multiple opportunities for public comment; and,
  • the public will have access to information related to the impact assessment, including the proponent's information and studies, other scientific information, public comments, and the draft assessment report (subject to Section 13 of the Cooperation Agreement).

The Minister is also satisfied that B.C. will meet the following additional conditions that he has established for the impact assessment of the Project:

  • The designated project to be assessed is the construction, operation and decommissioning of the floating LNG facility and marine export terminal and any incidental physical activities;
  • B.C. will include an assessment of the potential effects of marine shipping activities associated with the Project, including potential effects of malfunctions or accidents and any potential cumulative effects, the significance of those effects, suggested mitigation measures and requirements of any follow-up program that may be warranted; and
  • B.C. will include the requirements of the Strategic Assessment of Climate Change, prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada, in the impact assessment, including information on the Project's greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation measures and requirements of any follow-up program that may be warranted, and climate change resilience.

The Agency will make funding available to support the participation of Indigenous groups and the public in the substituted impact assessment, and will work with the EAO to coordinate the timing of the funding to support the appropriate process steps.

Information about the substituted impact assessment process for the Project will be located on the EAO's project-specific website, EPIC.

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