Vol. 148, No. 4 — February 12, 2014
SOR/2014-5 January 27, 2014
CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT, 2012
Regulations Amending the Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations
The Minister of the Environment, pursuant to paragraph 84(b) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (see footnote a), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations.
Gatineau, January 23, 2014
Minister of the Environment
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE PRESCRIBED INFORMATION FOR THE DESCRIPTION OF A DESIGNATED PROJECT REGULATIONS
1. Section 4 of the schedule to the Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:
4. The environmental assessment and regulatory requirements of other jurisdictions.
4.1 A description of any environmental study that is being or has been conducted of the region where the project is to be carried out.
2. Section 10 of the schedule to the Regulations is replaced by the following:
10. A description of any waste that is likely to be generated during any phase of the project and of a plan to manage that waste.
3. Section 15 of the schedule to the Regulations is replaced by the following:
15. A list of the permits, licences or other authorizations that may be required under any Act of Parliament to carry out the project.
COMING INTO FORCE
4. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and its accompanying regulations came into force in July 2012, establishing a new legislative framework for federal environmental assessment. The objectives of the new framework are to achieve more predictable and timely project reviews, reduce duplication, strengthen environmental protection, and enhance consultation with Aboriginal groups.
Under CEAA 2012, the Regulations Designating Physical Activities prescribe the physical activities which, if carried out individually or in combination, constitute a “designated project” that will or may be subject to the environmental assessment requirements of CEAA 2012. CEAA 2012 requires the proponent of a designated project — except those that are regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) or the National Energy Board (NEB) — to submit a description of the project to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency). The project description must include prescribed information.
The Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations (the Regulations) set out the prescribed information that the proponent of a proposed designated project must include in the project description that is submitted to the Agency. The Regulations ensure that the Agency receives adequate information in a project description to inform its decision on whether an environmental assessment under CEAA 2012 is required.
The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) provided comments about the clarity of the Regulations and the alignment of the French and English versions. Amendments to the Regulations have been made to address these comments, as described below.
Issues and objectives
The SJCSR commented in relation to sections 4, 10 and 15 of the Schedule to the Regulations. The Schedule lists the information that must be included in a description of a designated project.
- Section 4: It was noted that the phrase “other relevant information, including” did not adequately prescribe the information that must be contained in a description of a designated project and that the wording in paragraph 4(b) was not clear. It was suggested that section 4 be revised and clarified.
- Section 10: It was noted that the English and French versions were not aligned and could be further clarified.
- Section 15: It was noted that the English and French versions were not aligned. In addition, the reference to “legislative and regulatory” requirements could be further clarified.
The objective of these amendments is to address the comments by clarifying the prescribed information requirements and ensuring alignment between the English and French versions.
To clarify the information requirements prescribed in the Schedule of the Regulations and ensure alignment between the French and English versions, the following changes have been made:
- Section 4: The phrase “other relevant information, including” has been removed. The Agency determined that the information requirements specified in former paragraphs 4(a) and 4(b) are sufficient. Former paragraph 4(b) [now section 4.1] has been revised by specifying that the requirement is for a description of any environmental study of the region where the project is to be carried out.
- Section 10: The text has been reformulated to clarify that the information requirement covers any waste that is likely to be generated and to align the English and French versions.
- Section 15: Alternative wording has been used to clarify the requirement for information on federal permits, licences and other authorizations and to align the English and French versions.
Consultation was not undertaken in relation to these amendments as they were determined to be of low impact and administrative in nature. The amendments are to improve the clarity of the Regulations and align the English and French versions; they do not represent substantive changes to the Regulations.
The following section covers the application of the “One-for-One” Rule to both the amendments to the Regulations, which are the subject of this Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, and to the introduction of the Regulations in July 2012.
The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement that accompanied the July 2012 version of the Regulations (published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on July 18, 2012) indicated that the coming into force of the Regulations triggered the “One-for-One” Rule, but that the associated figures were being assessed and would be reported at a later date. The analysis undertaken in relation to July 2012 Regulations is therefore also being reported on here.
Amendments to the Regulations
The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to these amendments as they do not impose any new administrative burden costs on business.
Regulations introduced in July 2012
The Agency undertook an analysis to determine whether there was any incremental administrative burden cost to business associated with the introduction of the Regulations. To do this, the administrative burden associated with submission of a project description under the former scheme, established under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and its regulations, and under the new scheme established under CEAA 2012 and its regulations, was determined and compared. Two factors were considered:
- the requirements associated with submission of a project description; and
- the number of for-profit businesses affected.
1. Requirements associated with submission of a project description
For the purpose of comparing the requirements associated with the submission of a project description, the requirements under the Regulations were compared to the requirements set out in the schedule to the Establishing Timelines for Comprehensive Studies Regulations under the former Act.
Comparison of the specific information requirements showed that the new Regulations included three elements not previously required: information on environmental studies that are being or have been conducted of the region where the proposed project is being carried out; information on the proximity of federal lands to the project proposal; and a summary of the information required to be submitted. On the other hand, the new Regulations no longer required information on the project’s proximity to other projects or on the name, width and depth or any waterway affected by the project and a description of how the waterway is likely to be affected.
Based on this, it was concluded that the information requirements were equivalent. While the proponent of a project would be required to provide some additional information, this was offset by the removal of other information requirements.
Administrative activities and administrative burden costs
It was determined that there are administrative activities associated with the following steps for submission of a project description:
- familiarization with information obligations (1 hour of professional staff time);
- planning, collecting, processing and reporting information (30 hours for professional staff and 4 hours for administrative support staff); and
- internal review and approvals (5 hours for senior management).
The administrative activities and staff involved were determined to be the same under both schemes, with a total of 40 hours required for administrative activities. The assumptions used for this determination were based on consultation with the Agency’s staff with professional knowledge and experience related to the preparation of project description documents.
The administrative burden costs were calculated using the Treasury Board Secretariat Regulatory Cost Calculator tool. The resulting administrative burden cost per business was estimated to be $1,607.
2. Number of for-profit businesses affected
For the purpose of comparing the number of businesses affected, the projects in 2011 were used as a representative sample. That year was selected as it is the only full year during which the schedule of the Establishing Timelines for Comprehensive Studies Regulations under the former Act was in effect.
In 2011, the Agency received project description information for 21 projects, proposed by for-profit businesses, that were of a type and scale listed in the Comprehensive Study List Regulations. Had CEAA 2012 and the new regulatory scheme been in force, all 21 of these projects would have been designated projects and would have required a project description in accordance with the Regulations. At the time of the coming into force of these Regulations, the list of designated projects under CEAA 2012 was the same as the list of projects identified in the Comprehensive Studies Regulations; therefore, there would have been no additional projects.
The analysis showed that the administrative burden associated with submission of the project description under the former scheme and under the new scheme is equivalent. Based on projects in 2011, the analysis also showed that there was no change in the number of projects requiring a project description. As a result, it was concluded that the introduction of the Regulations did not impose any new administrative burden on business.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply to these amendments.
The amendments ensure that the requirements of the Regulations are clear and that the English and French versions are aligned. This benefits proponents of designated projects who are required to prepare and submit a project description and helps ensure that project descriptions contain the information needed to enable the Agency to reach a decision on whether an environmental assessment of a project is required.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
If the Agency is of the opinion that a project description is incomplete or does not contain sufficient details to determine whether an environmental assessment is required, the Agency may, within 10 days after receiving the project description, require the project proponent to provide the necessary information.
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
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