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Notice of the establishment of time limits for the impact assessment of the Gazoduq Project

Ottawa July 16, 2020 — On January 22, 2020, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) decided that an impact assessment pursuant to the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) is required for the proposed Gazoduq Project (the project), a natural gas pipeline approximately 780 kilometres long located in Quebec and Ontario. The project is being assessed as an integrated assessment with the Canada Energy Regulator, and an independent Integrated Review Panel consisting of experts will be established to undertake the assessment.

Time limit

As required under subsection 37.1(1) of the IAA, the Agency establishes an overall time limit of 420 days for the Impact Assessment Phase, broken down as follows:

  1. the time limit for the review panel to submit its impact assessment report to the Minister is 345 days. This time limit starts after the day on which the Agency posts on the public registry its notice pursuant to subsection 19(4) of the IAA that the impact statement contains the required information or studies; and
  2. the time limit for the Agency to post its recommendations to assist the Minister in establishing conditions with respect to the Decision Statement for the project is 75 days. This time limit starts after the day on which the review panel submits its impact assessment report to the Minister.

As outlined in paragraph 65(4)(b) of the IAA, the time limit for the issuance of the Decision Statement is 90 days from the posting of the Agency's recommendations referred to in item (2) above.

Reasons

The IAA requires the Agency to establish the time limits for the Impact Assessment Phase and specifies that this time limit must not exceed 300 days unless the Agency is of the opinion that the review panel will require additional time. In accordance with subsection 37.1(3) of the IAA, in establishing the time limit of 420 days, the Agency has taken into account the following factors:

  • The extent to which potential effects within federal jurisdiction and direct and incidental effects are adverse
    • Based on the Detailed Project Description, the Agency is of the view that the project may cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction, including potential effects on fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, and changes to the health, social and economic conditions of Indigenous peoples.
  • Public concerns related to the aforementioned potential effects
    • Through the Planning Phase, concerns have been raised related to potential environmental effects, climate change, cumulative effects, and socio-economic effects.
  • Opportunities for cooperation
    • Through the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement, a cooperative process has been developed with the Government of Quebec to harmonize procedures and timelines for the assessment of the project in order to facilitate opportunities for public participation. The time limits reflect the timelines of that Agreement.
  • Potential impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples
    • Through the Planning Phase, concerns were raised regarding the potential for the project to adversely impact the Aboriginal or Treaty rights of 28 Indigenous communities.

Should the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic result in the need to modify the time limits for the Impact Assessment Phase, the Agency will explore the legislative options that exist to ensure that the public and Indigenous peoples have the opportunity to meaningfully engage during the assessment.

For further information on this impact assessment, please contact:

Gazoduq Project
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
160 Elgin St, 22 Floor
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-222-3507
Email: iaac.gazoduq.aeic@canada.ca
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada: https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/80264?culture=en-CA

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