Environmental Assessment

When development projects in or near water have adverse impacts on fish habitat and require an authorization under the Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada must first conduct a federal environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). This assessment consists in predicting all potential adverse environmental effects of a project, assessing their significance and, where appropriate, proposing mitigation measures. This federal process allows the Department to make informed decisions that will minimize the environmental risks and promote sustainable use of natural resources.

For information about the environmental assessment process, please visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website.

Project Assessment

If your project is subject to an environmental assessment, you will have to provide additional information on its environmental effects and on the mitigation measures you have considered. In addition, you may have to meet certain environmental requirements that deal with the entire ecosystem affected (air and soil quality, noise levels, etc.). The Guide for Submissions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was prepared to help the proponent present a project notice that is sufficiently detailed to enable federal authorities in the Quebec Region to determine whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act applies to the project.

Depending on the scope of your project, the assessment may be limited to a screening, may require a comprehensive study or may be referred to a review by a panel or mediator. You can accelerate the authorization process under the Fisheries Act if you take account of the environmental impacts of your project from the planning stage. Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss your project.

Project Notice: Guide for Submissions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Single Federal Window and Coordination

When Fisheries and Oceans Canada receives a project proposal and triggers the environmental assessment process under the Fisheries Act, it consults with all other federal departments that could be involved in the project. Through this coordination effort, the federal government ensures that the project will undergo a single federal assessment.

With a view to effective coordination and in keeping with the Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada can send the information received from the proponent to the Environmental Assessment Branch of the Quebec Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs du Québec (MDDEP) to verify whether the project requires an authorization under section 31 of the Environment Quality Act. If so, the project may undergo a joint environmental assessment.

Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Public Participation

There are many current opportunities and ways to get involved in federal environmental assessment through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

All documents relating to projects undergoing environmental assessment, from the start of an assessment to the completion of any follow-up program, are posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry. The purpose of the registry is to facilitate public access to records relating to environmental assessments under the Act. It also provides timely notice about the start of an Environmental Assessment and opportunities for public participation.

Your participation in the federal environmental assessment process ensures an open, balanced process and strengthens the quality and credibility of environmental assessments. Also, your local and traditional knowledge about a project's physical site can help to identify and address potential environmental effects at an early stage of the environmental assessment process.

For more information on environmental assessments under way in Quebec, consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry. Additional information is also available on environmental assessments at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website.

Project Follow-up and Environmental Compliance

When the environmental assessment concludes that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, an authorization for harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat can be issued under the Fisheries Act subject to certain conditions (habitat compensation and monitoring plans, mitigation measures). When issuing such an authorization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada can also implement a follow-up program to verify the accuracy of the environmental assessment of a project and determine the effectiveness of any measures taken to mitigate its adverse environmental effects. The Department can refuse to issue an authorization if the adverse environmental effects are too significant.

Links of Interest

Government of Canada:

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Major Projects Management Office

Environment Canada

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA)

Species at Risk Public Registry

Environmental and Workplace Health
Health Canada

Transport Canada

Government of Quebec:

Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement

Environment Quality Act

Strategic Environmental Assessment
The Government of Quebec has conducted a strategic environmental assessment of oil and gas exploration and development in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Environmental Assessment
Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs du Québec

Contact Us

Environmental Assessment Division
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
850, De la Mer Road, Box 1000
Mont-Joli, Quebec, G5H 3Z4
Telephone : 418-775-0726
Toll Free : 1-877-722-4828
Fax : 418-775-0658
E-mail : lcee-ceaa-habitat-qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca