Government of Canada

 

Introduction

In general, environmental assessment is a process to predict the environmental effects of proposed initiatives before they are carried out. Recognizing the goal that decisions made by the federal government should be sustainable and in the public interest, consideration must be given to selecting planning and regulatory tools which are fair, reliable and effective. These tools should take into account the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic.

The mandate letter of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (the Minister) directs her, as a top priority, to "immediately review Canada's environmental assessment processes to regain public trust and help get resources to market and introduce a new and fair processes that will:

The Minister has established an Expert Panel (the Panel) to conduct a review of federal environmental assessment processes.

The Minister's Mandate Letter also states that, "if we are to tackle the real challenges we face as a country – from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change – Canadians need to have faith in their government's honesty and willingness to listen. I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians."

The Panel intends to follow this direction, conducting its review drawing on a broad range of information, and engaging all Canadians in a dialogue about our environmental assessment processes and how they can be strengthened.

This plan describes how and when the Panel will engage with Canadians. A separate Indigenous Engagement Plan is intended to specifically guide engagement activities between the Panel and Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals during the EA review process. We look forward to your participation and to hearing your perspective.

Engagement approach

Principles of public engagement

The public engagement activities to be carried out by the Panel during the review will be guided by a core set of six (6) principles that are the basis for this public engagement plan:

Objectives of public engagement

The final Panel recommendations provided to the Minister will be informed by the collective knowledge, experience and views expressed during the review process. The objectives of its engagement with the Canadian public are:

Public Engagement Approach

The Panel will use a three-pillar approach to engaging Canadians in its review. This is grounded in the Panel's principles of public engagement and is designed to provide members of the public with a variety of options for participation. Canadians will be able to participate online or in-person and can learn more about the review, the Panel's mandate, and how to get engaged at a dedicated website.

The Panel emphasizes that all engagement activities will help inform its thinking. No single way of participating should be considered as more valuable than another, or likely to result in greater impact on the Panel's recommendations to government.

Communications

The Panel understands the need for effective communications about the review and opportunities for Canadians to participate. There will be a dedicated website at www.EAreview.ca where visitors can learn more about the Panel, its mandate, the environmental review process, and how they can participate.

The Panel understands the need for effective communications about the review and opportunities for Canadians to participate. Our dedicated website at www.EAreview.ca allows visitors to learn more about the Panel, its mandate, the environmental review process, and how they can participate. The Panel has prepared a discussion paper to introduce the Panel's suggested themes that will guide the review.

The Panel will be conducting outreach to stakeholder organizations to inform them about its activities, and using other Government of Canada communications channels to raise public awareness.

Online engagement

Canadians can participate in the review by using online engagement tools. These will be housed on the Panel's website and will be accessible and easy-to-use. These tools include a "Choicebook", a written submission process and thematic webinars.

One advantage of online engagement tools is that they allow Canadians to participate at a time that is convenient for them, and from wherever there is internet access.

The Panel recognizes however, that not all Canadians have access to the internet, or may prefer not to engage online. Paper or "offline" versions of all online tools will be available, either by visiting www.EAreview.ca, by email at EAreview_Participation@Canada.ca or by calling 1-855-219-7208.

Choicebook

The Choicebook is an online tool that engages Canadians by allowing them to provide informed input on issues related to environmental assessment. The "Choicebook" is an in-depth survey-like tool where participants can learn about the key issues being considered in the environmental assessment review, before sending the Panel their views. It will present participants with critical context and information to help deepen their understanding of environmental assessments before inviting them to work through a variety of questions, reflecting on their values and weighing different options. This will allow all Canadians to participate and provide input to the Panel, whether they are highly knowledgeable about environmental assessments or learning about them for the first time.

The Panel will develop the Choicebook content and questions to address and explore the key issues surrounding the review. The Choicebook will be available on the Panel's website for a 60 day period, between October and December 2016, and will take an average of 25-30 minutes to complete.

A summary report with full results of the Choicebook will be posted on the Panel's website at the end of the engagement period.

Important to note:

Paper or "offline" versions of the Choicebook may be requested:

By Phone

1-855-219-7208

By Mail

EA Review Panel c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
22nd Floor, Place Bell
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

3.2.2 Written submissions

We understand that some stakeholder organizations and members of the public would prefer to send the Panel a formal written submission. With this in mind, the Panel's website will include a submission tool, providing a platform for anyone to offer their comments in written form.

Participants will have the option to provide their written submission directly in a text box, or to upload a pre-written text file (e.g. Word, PDF). Before preparing a submission, we strongly recommend that submitting organizations or individuals review the Submissions Guide which will also be available in the Submissions section of the website. The Guide will provide details on the topics and questions on which the Panel is seeking perspectives, guidelines for appropriate content, and instructions on how to send submissions. Participants are encouraged to be concise in their submissions, with a preferred 10 page length and a suggested 30 page maximum.

All submissions will be posted publicly, in their language of origin, on the Panel's website. Submissions will not be redacted; it is strongly advised that you do not include personal information in your submission such as home address, phone number, signature, financial or medical information, etc. If a submission's content does not meet the terms of use (for example, material of a promotional nature oruse of explicit language), it will be removed from the website and will not be included in the panel's review.

The Submissions Tool will be available from mid-September until December 23, 2016.

Important to note:

By Phone

1-855-219-7208

By Mail

EA Review Panel c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
22nd Floor, Place Bell
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

3.2.3 Webinars

The Panel expects to hold a limited series of online webinars during the engagement period. These are intended to explore specific, technical issues or questions that may arise during the course of the Panel's work. As required, individual webinars will be scheduled and open for registration. Canadians will be notified when a Webinar is scheduled via the Panel's website.

Webinars will require participants to have access to a phone line and the internet. The Panel will present material to participants before moderating a discussion.

Important to note:

In-person engagement

The Panel is committed to providing in-person opportunities for as many Canadians as possible to present their views on environmental assessment within the timeline provided by the Minister. A series of engagement events are being planned, covering a broad range of provinces and territories. There will be two kinds of public engagement events in each location: public workshops and formal presentations to the Panel. All in-person engagement events will be open to the media.

In-person engagement locations across the country have been identified to engage with Canadians, including Indigenous organizations, interested groups and organizations, communities, and individuals. Due to the Panel's timeline, hub locations have been identified that would provide the greatest opportunity for access by a large number of participants.

All in-person engagement events will be held between late September and December 2016.

Consult for the detailed schedule of in-person engagement sessions.

The following locations will be visited by the Panel:

Atlantic Canada

Fredericton
Halifax
Happy Valley – Goose Bay
St. John's

Quebec

Montreal
Quebec City

Ontario

Ottawa
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Sudbury

Prairies and North

Calgary
Edmonton
Fort McMurray
Inuvik
Saskatoon
Winnipeg

British Columbia

Fort St. John
Kamloops
Nanaimo
Prince Rupert
Vancouver

Accessibility

All engagement materials will be available in English and French. Simultaneous interpretation will be available at all public engagement events held in Fredericton, Montreal, Quebec city, Ottawa and Sudbury to enable participants to express themselves in the official language of their choices. In all other locations, participants will be asked to inform the Panel during their registration should they require simultaneous interpretation. In these circumstances, the Panel will make all reasonable effort to provide the requested service, recognizing the timelines associated with arranging interpretation services. Venue facilities will be wheelchair accessible. Individuals who may require particular accessibility supports are encouraged to contact the Panel or describe any needs during the event registration process.

The Secretariat may be contacted as follows:

By Phone

1-855-219-7208

By Mail

EA Review Panel c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
22nd Floor, Place Bell
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

3.3.1 Public Workshops

Public workshops will be in-person dialogues in which all Canadians can actively participate – from those with past experience or high levels of knowledge about environmental assessments, to those seeking to learn and engage with them for the first time. Participants will receive information about the review process directly from the Panel, notably through a discussion document, and then contribute ideas and perspectives through a structured series of dialogues. There will be a combination of Panel presentations, small group discussion with focus questions and whole group sharing of key points.

Panel members will be listening carefully to the discussions and will interact with participants throughout the session. The workshops will be professionally facilitated by an independent third-party and designed so that all participants will have an opportunity to express their perspective.

Important notices about the public workshops:

Registration for Public Workshops

Registration information will be available on the Panel's website at www.EAreview.ca.

The Panel will try to accommodate all individuals who wish to attend the workshops, however in the event that the number of participants is greater than the venue's capacity, Canadians will participate on a first come, first served basis, with those registering in advance being accommodated first.

Opportunities will be available for stakeholder organizations or interested Canadians to make formal presentations to the Panel.

These events will be more formal than the public workshops, and will consist of a speaker addressing the Panel directly. Participants should limit the presentation time to five (5) minutes to allow time for panel members to ask questions. Before preparing a presentation, we strongly recommend that submitting organizations or individuals review the Presentations Guide which will also be available in the Presentations to the Panel section of the website. The Guide will provide details on the topics and questions on which the Panel is seeking perspectives, guidelines for appropriate content, and instructions on how to prepare for the presentation.

Due to time constraints, interested presenters are required to register for Panel presentation events. Presenters are encouraged to accompany their registration with a written submission highlighting key points and a summary of the presentation in order to enable a dialogue with the Panel. Discussions held during presentations to the Panel will be transcribed and transcriptions will be made available on the Panel's website.

Important to note:

Registration for Panel Presentations

Registration information will be available on the Panel's website at www.EAreview.ca.

The Panel will try to accommodate all individuals who wish to present. However if interest is greater than the 4-hour session can accommodate, registered presenters will be assigned presentation time on a first come first served basis.

4.0 Presentation of engagement results

The Panel will submit its report to the Minister, which will include a summary of the input received from the public, Indigenous peoples, interested groups and organizations, the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee and other experts.

As part of its reporting, the Panel will release a comprehensive report on what it heard from Canadians both online and in-person. This will include a detailed description of key themes, suggestions and ideas received, as well as a summary of the scale of participation by Canadians.

The results of public engagement, in addition to other input received during the review, will help inform the Panel's conclusions, recommendations, and rationale in its report to the Minister.

5.0 Public Engagement Plan Summary

Choicebook

Written Submissions

  • Submissions will be accepted by email starting August 15, 2016. Online Submissons Tool will be launched in mid-September 2016.
  • Deadline for receipt of all submissions is December 23, 2016
  • www.EAreview.ca/Submissions

Webinars

  • Webinars will be scheduled as required to address specific issues and questions emerging in the Panel's research.
  • Registration will open one week prior to each event (maximum 20 participants)
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

Public Workshops

  • Workshops will begin in September 2016 and be scheduled in various locations until mid-December 2016
  • Registration strongly recommended
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

Presentations to the Panel

  • Panel events will begin in September 2016 and be scheduled in various locations until mid-December 2016
  • Registration required
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

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