Public Consultation Plan
Marine Terminal Project on the North Shore of the Saguenay

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency objectives for public participation

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) is seeking public comments during the environmental assessment in order to fully understand the public's views on the project issues. This consultation ensures an open, balanced process and strengthens the quality and credibility of a project's review. By triggering the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012), the Agency provides three opportunities for public consultation, each with a different main objective:

Consultation opportunity

Main objective

Draft guidelines

Before the proponent prepares its impact statement

To gather public comments with the goal of improving the guidelines

Environmental impact statement submitted by the proponent

During the analysis of the impact statement by the Technical Committee

To gather public comments and concerns regarding the project's impact and the mitigation measures proposed by the proponent. This information will be taken into account by the Technical Committee in its analysis of the impact statement.

Agency's draft environmental assessment report and proposed conditions under CEAA 2012

Before the Agency sends to the Minister the final environmental assessment report including its recommendations and the potential conditions that would be required from the proponent

To gather public comments on the Agency's draft environmental assessment report and on the proposed conditions that will be taken into consideration by the Minister in issuing a decision statement on the project.

Given the context of the Project, the Agency intends to employ a specific public consultation approach that will enable it to achieve the following objectives as part of the environmental assessment of the Marine Terminal Project on the North Shore of the Saguenay:

  • conduct a transparent environmental assessment that is inclusive of the general public and the provincial government;
  • optimize public participation by increasing access to the information produced as part of the project's environmental assessment;
  • clarify the provincial government's role in the federal environmental assessment of the project;
  • obtain comments and concerns from the public about the project, the potential environmental effects and the conclusions of the proponent's environmental impact statement; and
  • seek comments from the public on the draft environmental assessment report prepared by the Agency and the proposed conditions that would be required from the proponent for improving the results of the environmental assessment and the decision making of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (hereinafter called the Minister).

Members of the public likely to participate

Those likely to be interested in the public participation activities the Agency is proposing for the project either have scientific expertise or live in the region near the port facilities. The Agency believes that other groups or individuals may express interest over the course of the environmental assessment. The Agency may therefore modify its approach during the course of the environmental assessment in order to better address the interests expressed.

The environmental assessment of the project under CEAA 2012 will be conducted by a Technical Committee administered by the Agency and consisting of representatives of federal departments with expertise related to the Project and representatives of the provincial government from the provincial Department of Environment (ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements climatiques (MDDELCC)).

Proposed consultation plan

The public consultation approach is based on the project context and the objectives of each of the steps of the environmental assessment process at which key products are produced and on the various levels of consultation, depending on the interested groups.

In addition to the public consultation activities that will be held, the Agency will make the following documents available on its public Registry website (http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca): the final environmental impact statement guidelines sent to the proponent; all documentation submitted by the proponent (environmental impact statement, complementary studies, answers to the Agency's information request, etc.); comments received from the public and interested parties; expert opinions; information request, comments and correspondence sent to the proponent regarding the environmental assessment of the project, and any public notices issued by the Agency.

The Agency will consider comments received throughout the environmental assessment process, even those submitted outside the public comment periods, as long as these relate directly to the environmental assessment. Only public information will be considered. No confidential documents will be accepted. However, personal information will be protected.

The Agency announced a public notice of financing offer from August 13 to September 14, 2015 to support public participation in the environmental assessment. Funding was granted to three environmental groups and a citizens' group on this basis. The details are available on the public Registry website of the Agency at the address above.

1. Final guidelines

A 30-day public e-consultation on the draft guidelines was held from June 11 to July 11, 2015. The Agency finalized the guidelines, taking into account the comments received from the public.

2. Submission of the environmental impact statement by the proponent

Objectives:

  • To explain the federal environmental assessment process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and how the public can participate in the process.
  • To gather comments and concerns regarding the project's impact and the mitigation measures proposed by the proponent. The comments and concerns received will be taken into account by the Technical Committee in its analysis.
  • To explain the Technical Committee's preliminary findings with respect to various issues or valued components. The government experts on the Technical Committee may participate if necessary.
  • To communicate the next steps in the environmental assessment.

Proposed activities:

  • Public consultation online by the Agency, for a period of at least 30 days, on the proponent's environmental impact statement. The public and interested groups will be invited to submit written questions and comments on the environmental impact statement to the Agency for analysis. The public may submit that information at the public session.
  • One or more specific meeting(s) between the Agency and representatives of target groups (before the activity aimed at the general public).
  • One Agency-organized public session led by a facilitator with experience in the environment to give the public an opportunity to submit comments on the proponent's environmental impact statement. A report summarizing comments received during this session will be made public. The chosen facilitator will be credible, neutral and unbiased and may contribute to the report. The government experts on the Technical Committee, including representatives of the Quebec government, may participate if necessary and answer questions. The Technical Committee will submit recommendations to the Agency on the conduct of the public session and the participation of the experts and resource persons. The Agency will provide the public with sufficient advance notice of the public session.

3. Agency's draft environmental assessment report and document of potential conditions

The environmental assessment report prepared by the Agency presents the analysis based on the opinions of the experts on the Technical Committee, traditional Aboriginal knowledge, and public comments received during the environmental assessment process on the potential environmental effects of the project. The report also summarizes comments received throughout the process, including public comments.

Objectives:

  • To gather public comments on the Agency's draft environmental assessment report and on the proposed conditions that will be taken into consideration by the Minister in issuing a decision statement on the project's environmental assessment.
  • To explain the results of the Technical Committee's analysis and the choice of conditions and their desired outcomes (the government experts on the Technical Committee may participate if necessary).
  • To clarify the next steps in the process following the assessment (e.g. other regulatory processes, implementation of the conditions in the Minister's notice of decision).

Proposed activities:

  • Public consultation online by the Agency, for a 30-day period, on its draft environmental assessment report and on the proposed potential conditions to be issued to the proponent by the Minister. The public and interested groups will be invited to submit written comments on these documents to the Agency.
  • One or more specific meeting(s) between the Agency and representatives of target groups (before the activity aimed at the general public).
  • One Agency-organized public session led by a facilitator with experience in the environment to give the public an opportunity to provide comments on the conclusions and recommendations Agency's draft environmental assessment report. A report summarizing comments received during this session will be made public. The chosen facilitator will be credible, neutral and unbiased and may contribute to the report. The government experts on the Technical Committee may participate if necessary and answer questions. The Agency will provide the public with sufficient advance notice of the public session.

After taking into account the comments received, the Agency will finalize the environmental assessment report and proposed conditions that will be sent to the Minister to help him determine whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. A decision statement on the project will be sent to the proponent and posted on the Registry website.

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