Minister's Response — Vivian Sand Project

Physical Activities

CanWhite Sands Corp. is proposing the construction and operation of the Vivian Sand Project (the physical activities) for the extraction and processing of silica sand. As proposed, the processing activities would include a silica sand processing facility with a wet and dry plant as well as a rail load out. The silica sand extraction activities include the installation, operation, and decommissioning of extraction wells and transport via a slurry line. The physical activities are designed to produce over 1.3 million tonnes of silica sand per year. The physical activities would be located within the Rural Municipality of Springfield, about 35 kilometres east of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Information Considered

Pursuant to section 9 of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA), I, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada considered the: potential for the physical activities to cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction; adverse direct or incidental effects; public concern related to these effects; as well as adverse impacts on the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

In forming my opinion, I took into account the analyses prepared by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada 2020 and 2021, which include consideration of correspondence received from the public and Indigenous groups, and information provided by the Proponent, federal authorities, and the province of Manitoba.


The physical activities do not warrant designation.


I understand that Indigenous groups and the public have expressed concerns regarding potential effects of the physical activities to areas of federal jurisdiction including effects to transboundary waters, federal lands (such as downstream effects to reserve lands), fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, and to Indigenous peoples.

I am of the opinion that the the physical activities do not warrant designation for the following reasons:

  • The potential for the physical activities to cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction would likely be limited.
  • Any potential effects within federal jurisdiction, and related concerns, are expected to be managed by Manitoba's regulatory and legislative mechanisms. These include approvals and enforceable conditions related to project design and the application of standard mitigation measures.
  • The provincial regulatory and legislative mechanisms include:
    • the provincial environmental assessment and licensing process under Manitoba's The Environment Act, which provides a framework to address the potential adverse aforementioned effects within areas of federal jurisdiction and public concerns raised in relation to those effects;
    • a public hearing and technical review of the extraction activities to be conducted by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission;
    • provincial Crown consultations that will be carried out for the physical activities to understand the potential impacts to Indigenous peoples and their rights as recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; and
    • other applicable mechanisms, including Manitoba's: The Endangered Species and Ecosystems Act; The Mines and Minerals Act; The Heritage Resources Act; The Groundwater and Water Well Act; and The Water Rights Act.
  • Any potential effects within federal jurisdiction or adverse direct or incidental effects are expected to be managed by compliance with relevant provisions of federal legislation.
  • Relevant federal legislation includes:
    • the Fisheries Act in relation to any potential effects to fish and fish habitat, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, in relation to any potential effects to migratory birds, the Species at Risk Act in relation to any potential effects to species at risk and critical habitat.
    • Other federal legislation including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Canada Transportation Act will apply as necessary.

Document Reference Number: 76

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