Environmental Impact Assessment

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

8:30 Registration
8:45 Introductions
9:15 Regulating Pollution
Presentation 1:  Briefing on federal and provincial environmental regulations
10:30 Break
10:45 Identifying Environmental Offences
11:15 The Role of Compliance & Enforcement
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Introduction to Inspections
1:00 Group Exercise
1:45 Introduction to Investigations
2:00 Group Exercise
2:45 Break
3:00 Q & A / Quiz
4:00 Adjournment

Day 2

8:30 Investigations and the Charter
10:15 Break
10:30 Practical Considerations
Privileged documents, environmental audits, private dwellings
11:00 Operating in a Regulated Field
The broad reach of Gemtec
12:00 Lunch
12:30 The Role of the Enforcement Officer
Guest Speaker
1:30 Quiz
2:00 Break
2:15 Group Exercise
Inspection Checklist
3:15 Debrief
4:00 Adjournment


Lisa J. Mitchell, M.E.S., LL.B, is a lawyer (Dalhousie, 1991), principal of LJM Environmental Law and staff lawyer for the East Coast Environmental Law Association. She has a Masters of Environmental Studies from the School for Resource and Environmental Studies (Dalhousie, 1994), and twenty years of experience working in the areas of environmental law, policy and environmental management. Lisa's law practice is exclusively in the area of environmental law. She has developed a broad-ranging practice base that includes government, non-government organizations, private-sector companies, community groups and individual clients. Her expertise in this area originated in the challenging field of agri-environmental law and has expanded to include contaminated sites, environmental impact assessment, water regulation, professional and corporate environmental liability, coastal management and other areas. Lisa has provided advice and training on federal and provincial environmental legislation and policy in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Ontario. She is familiar with the legislative frameworks that address environmental concerns in all of these jurisdictions however she has an intimate knowledge of the Nova Scotia framework based on her role in the development and review of the Nova Scotia Environment Act in 1994 and 2000.