Some agencies have a "referal process" (to other government agencies) at the permit application phase for situations where EIA is not triggered. However, referrals are hit and miss and environment agency officials do not always have the resources to contribute to this exercise.
Best Practices in Lieu of EIA:
Who Conducts Screening Detail:
Reviewable Projects Regulation, B.C. Reg. 370/2002. Also, the minister may by order designate a project as reviewable if the minister is satisfied that the project may have significant adverse environmental, social, economic, heritage or health effect and the project has not substantially started. EA Act, sec. 6.
Criteria for Screening:
List or appendix of project or activity types
Proposed project or activity may cause significant environmental impact
Criteria for Screening Detail:
Projects that are subject to environmental assessment are listed in the Reviewable Projects Regulation, B.C. Reg. 370/2002. Also, the minister may by order designate a project as reviewable if the minister is satisfied that the project may have significant adverse environmental, social, economic, heritage or health effect and the project has not substantially started. EA Act, sec. 6. Haddock (2010) notes that there are significant gaps in the Reviewable Projects Regulation that allow major development projects (e.g. exploratory oil drilling, agricultural industry, forest logging) to proceed without adequate consideration of environmental impacts. See Haddock, M. & ELC, "Environmental Assessment in British Columbia" p. 17 (available at http://www.elc.uvic.ca/publications/documents/ELC_EA-IN-BC_Nov2010.pdf)
Who Prepares EIA:
Project Proponent (with or without contractor)
Who Prepares EIA Detail:
Most project proponents engage a contractor to prepare the environmental assessment.
EIA Contractor Qualifications:
EIA Contractor Qualification Detail:
This is an important issue that needs to be addressed. It is not always a problem, but there are instances in which contractor qualifications are questionable.
Conflict of Interest Detail:
Conflicts of interest are an important issue that are not currently addressed.
Terms of Reference Detail:
The executive director of the Environmental Assessment Office or his/her delegate has broad discretion to determine the scope of the assessment,
and the procedures and methods for carrying it out on an individual project basis, all of which is formalized in an order. EA Act, sec. 11(1)
Days for Decision Maker Review:
Written Decision Detail:
The EAO must write an assessment report, and its executive director makes recommendations to the political ministers. The minister does not issue any further written decisions, and typically just signs a certificate (provided by the EAO) approving the project.
Expiry of Decision Detail:
"An environmental assessment certificate must specify a deadline, at least 3 years and not more than 5 years after the issue date of the certificate, by which time the holder of the certificate, in the reasonable opinion of the minister, must have substantially started the project." EA Act, sec. 18(1)
Financial Assurances or Bond: