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Environmental Impact Assessment

Upcoming Dates

April 10-12, 2018

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process through which the environmental and socio-economic effects of a proposed project are identified and assessed. EIA is a project-planning tool to assist project managers and decision-makers in making well informed decisions. EIA also provides an opportunity for communities and concerned citizens to participate in the review of a proposed project.

The purpose of this three-day course is to provide a general overview of EIA in the context of the regulatory and practical changes that have occurred in the past 5 years. The course will use theoretical and real project examples to explore the key elements of EIA including study guidelines, cumulative impacts and public engagement. EIA application is not without controversy and this course will give participants a better understanding of how to navigate the EIA process.

Participants will leave the workshop with a practical understanding of EIA and how it is applied, as well as insight into how the EIA has evolved and where it may be headed in the future.  

Who Should Attend the Course?

As a decision-making tool, environmental impact assessment includes a wide range of perspectives. This 3-day course is a practical overview of the process and highlights the roles of all parties. To that end, staff at any level in industry, government or non-governmental organizations that engage with EIAs and seek a current understanding of EIA will benefit from this course. Given the importance of public engagement in EIA, laypersons with an interest in EIA process, the application of the law and current EIA practice will also benefit from the course.

Program Outline

Day 1            
Lead:  Lisa Mitchell

8:30 Registration and Introductions
9:00 Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
What is an EIA?
Where did EIA come from?
How did EIA develop in Canada?
Why do we bother with EIA?
10:00 EIA and the Law
The legal basis for EIA in Canada (CEAA)
The legal basis for EIA in Nova Scotia (NSEA)
11:15 Judging EIA
How have the courts changed EIA?
12:00 Lunch
12:30 The Politics of EIA
How have politicians changed EIA?
1:30 Moving Through…
A case based review of the legal and political aspects of EIA
2:30 Some Key Considerations
Strategic EIA
Principles of Sustainability
EIA and Free Trade
3:30 Quiz
4:00 Adjournment


Day 2
Lead:  Peter Oram

8:30 Debrief Day One
9:00 The Mechanics of Data Gathering for an EIA
What environmental baseline information do we need to collect?
How do we collect these different types (ecological, socio-economic, archaeologic, etc…) of information?
How much engineering and design information do we need to show?
10:30 Break
11:00 The Mechanics of Data Gathering for an EIA……con’t
Public engagement programs; what are they and how to do them
Legal and regulatory requirements
Why is First Nations engagement different?
12:00 Lunch
12:30 What do we do with all this data?
What is good environmental impact assessment?
How to produce documents that are reflective of all the efforts
Examples of good and poor documents and practices
2:30 Break

Real life examples – Project Profiles and Discussion


4:00 Adjournment


Day 3
Lead:  Peter and Lisa

Debrief Day 2
9:00 Communities, Consultation and Conundrums
Why is public and First Nations Consultation part of EIA?
How do ‘communities’ get defined?
What is consultation – information sharing, participation, engagement?
Through the Looking Glass
Emerging trends in EIA in Canada
What does the future hold for EIA in Canada?
Will CEAA 2012 just be a flash in the pan?
10:30 Small group exercise and prepare for panel
Panel Presentation – Provincial, Federal and Indigenous Perspectives on EIA
The Great EIA Debate
4:00 Adjournment