Environmental Review Process for Projects on Reserve Land

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Responsible Resource Development is the Government of Canada's plan to modernize our regulatory system, so that Canada's natural resources are responsibly developed for the benefit of all Canadians. Changes enacted as part of Responsible Resource Development will focus federal environmental assessment efforts on major projects that have a greater potential to cause adverse environmental effects.

Under the Responsible Resource Development plan, less complex or lower-risk projects on federal lands, including reserve lands, are still subject to the requirements of all applicable federal laws, standards and permits. In addition, while an environmental assessment will not be required for these lower-risk projects, section 67 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) requires that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) must conduct a review to determine whether a project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects before making any decision that would allow a project to proceed. Pursuant to section 71 of CEAA 2012, AANDC will report annually to Parliament regarding this obligation.

To address these environmental review requirements, AANDC developed an Environmental Review Process (ERP), which includes a suite of procedural tools and policies. This Process allows on-reserve projects to proceed in a timely and predictable way, with established service standards and increased collaboration between proponents and Aboriginal communities, as well as any other implicated federal authorities. To ensure that this Process met the needs of Aboriginal communities and any departmental requirements, its development was informed by stakeholder engagement, both internally and with First Nations. Although the Process has undergone a pilot phase, AANDC will regularly evaluate its effectiveness over the next several months and make adjustments, where required.

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