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Public Participation Plan

Impact Assessment of the Gazoduq Project

FINAL VERSION

July 17, 2020

Contents

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

Agency
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
BAPE
Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement du Québec
BAPE Review Panel
A Review Panel formed by the president of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement under section 4 of the Rules of procedure of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (CQLR, c. Q-2, r. 45.1)
CER
Canada Energy Regulator
CERA
Canadian Energy Regulator Act
Federal Review Panel
An integrated federal review panel formed under subsection 47 (1) of the Impact Assessment Act whose mandate covers both the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act
IAA
Impact Assessment Act
Project
Gazoduq Project
Public Registry
Canadian Impact Assessment Registry

1. Introduction

Public participation is an essential part of open, informed and meaningful impact assessment. The Government of Canada is committed to providing the public with the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the process and to provide them with the information needed to participate in an informed way. The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) requires the development of a Public Participation Plan during the planning phase for all projects subject to an impact assessment. The Public Participation Plan is designed to provide proponents and participants with certainty about how and when public participation will occur. Pursuant to paragraph 18(1)(b) of the IAA, this plan must be provided to the proponent at the same time as the notice of commencement, at the end of the planning phase.

On January 22, 2020, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) determined that an impact assessment is required for the Gazoduq Project (the Project), in accordance with section 16 of the IAA. Since the Project is subject to the IAA and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CERA), the impact assessment was automatically referred to a review panel and must meet the legal requirements of both these acts. A review panel whose mandate covers both the IAA and the CERA is an "integrated review panel" (the Federal Review Panel). The Agency will coordinate the impact assessment process with the Canada Energy Regulator (the CER). Upon completion of the impact assessment, if the Project is approved, the CER will be responsible for the Project's follow-up phase, as the federal regulator of the life cycle of gas pipeline projects.

To facilitate the coordination of public participation activities, including public hearings, to harmonize timelines and to promote more efficient use of resources, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec have entered into the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the Coordination of the Environmental Assessment and Impact Assessment Processes for the Gazoduq Project (the Agreement). The Agreement spells out the terms and conditions for cooperation and coordination of the two jurisdictions' environmental and impact assessment processes, while recognizing the powers, laws and regulations of each level of government and supporting environmental protection and public participation. This Plan was updated to reflect the process detailed in the Agreement.

The plan is designed to be flexible, so that the Agency or the Federal Review Panel can modify the approaches described in it to reflect changes in the impact assessment process or accommodate comments and requests received from participants.

The plan may also be adjusted if COVID-19 is still a threat to public health when the Agency or the Federal Review Panel organizes participation opportunities for the Project. For example, the Agency or the Federal Review Panel may decide that virtual sessions would be safer than in-person sessions. If a change in the process, timelines, tools or participation opportunities is required, the Agency or the Federal Review Panel will post a public notice on the Public Registry and will send an email to the distribution list to notify participants.

For more information on public participation, please see the Interim Framework: Public Participation Under the Impact Assessment Act and Interim Guidance: Public Participation Under the Impact Assessment Act. A separate plan for engagement and partnership with Indigenous peoples has also been developed. The Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan for the impact assessment of the Gazoduq Project describes opportunities for Indigenous engagement and related approaches.

2. Project Description

Gazoduq Inc. (the Proponent) is proposing to construct and operate a natural gas pipeline approximately 780 kilometres long between northeastern Ontario and Saguenay, Quebec. This Project would connect TC Energy Limited's existing main natural gas transmission system in northeastern Ontario to the proposed Saguenay Energy Project, a natural gas liquefaction facility proposed by LNG Quebec in Saguenay, Quebec. The Project would also include three compressor stations, one metering station, approximately 25 block valves and an associated control centre.

For more information on the impact assessment of the Gazoduq Project or to view the information and comments received, visit the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry (the Public Registry) at https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/80264?culture=en-CA.

3. Objectives of Public Participation

The Public Participation Plan was developed to describe the ways in which a participant can provide input and take part in the impact assessment process. The Agency's objectives for public participation are as follows:

  • Public participation is meaningful. This means that members of the public who want to take part in the impact assessment have the opportunity to do so, have the information they need, and have the capacity to participate in an informed manner. The IAA recognizes the importance of meaningful public participation and requires that opportunities to participate be made available in the assessment process, in keeping with legislation and regulations and Agency policies and directives.
  • The public is engaged early and often, especially in each key phase of the impact assessment process.
    • The public is involved in the development or revision of key documents, including this plan, the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines, the Federal Review Panel's Terms of Reference, the Proponent's Impact Statement, the draft potential conditions, and, if applicable, potential changes to the Decision Statement.
    • In the case of an impact assessment conducted by a Federal Review Panel, the impact assessment report, including the proposed conditions, is prepared by the Federal Review Panel, and public participation takes the form of comments and participation in public hearings.
  • In-person public participation activities are held in communities most likely to be affected by the proposed Project.
  • The selection of participation opportunities and mechanisms is based on the needs and interests of the public, which may include, but are not limited to, comment periods, public hearings, and in-person or virtual information or consultation events, at each key phase in the process.
  • Public comments received during participation events are documented and inform decision making.

The objectives of the Public Participation Plan have been incorporated into the Federal Review Panel's Terms of Reference.

4. Distribution List

Throughout the impact assessment process, the Agency or the Federal Review Panel's secretariat will develop and maintain a distribution list for the impact assessment. Individuals and organizations on the distribution list will receive updates and notices about the Project's impact assessment as the process unfolds.

If you wish to be on the distribution list, please send an email to iaac.gazoduq.aeic@canada.ca with your full name and email address.

If you indicated that you would like to be added to the distribution list when you signed in to the online Public Registry or at an information session, please do not sign up again.

During the planning phase, the Agency received a total of 927 comments on subjects such as the Initial Project Description, the draft Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines, the draft Public Participation Plan, the draft Terms of Reference for the Integrated Review Panel and the Canada-Québec Cooperation Agreement. To view all comments received to date, please visit the Public Registry at https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/80264?culture=en-CA.

5. Public Participation Tools

In order to ensure meaningful public participation during the impact assessment process, the following communication and participation tools will be used:

  • Public notices posted on the Public Registry, published in newspapers and broadcast on the radio;
  • Emails to the distribution list;
  • Updates on the Project's impact assessment on social media (e.g., tweets on the Agency's Twitter account);
  • Printed copies of key documents held in viewing centres in Matheson, Virginiatown, Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Ramore, Rouyn-Noranda, Amos, La Sarre, Senneterre, Shawinigan, Val d'Or, La Tuque, Roberval, Alma and Saguenay. Upon request, the Agency will consider adding viewing centres (see Appendix 1 for viewing centre addresses);
  • Interactive community sessions; and
  • Training on the impact assessment process and how to participate effectively during the processFootnote1.

The Agency will ensure that its documents added to the Public Registry are accessible to visually impaired people, this means that these documents will be adapted to allow the content to be read aloud by a screen reader. The Agency will also encourage the Proponent to adopt this practice.

Public comment periods will also be used to gather participants' input on key documents, such as the Proponent's Impact Statement, the draft potential conditions, and, if applicable, potential changes to the Decision Statement. In addition, the Federal Review Panel has a legal obligation to hold public hearings. All public hearing sessions will be broadcast online in real time. Links to the live or recorded video will be posted on the Public Registry and sent to the distribution list. These tools are explained in more detail in Table 1 below.

Other communication and participation tools may also be used, including the following:

  • Interactive information sessions;
  • Prearranged virtual sessions with a public presentation and a question-and-answer period, which will be broadcast online in real time. Links to the live or recorded video will be posted on the Public Registry and sent to the distribution list;
  • Focus groups; and/or
  • Technical workshops.

Note that this list is not exhaustive and may be adjusted during the course of the impact assessment to facilitate public participation and to ensure efficient execution of the impact assessment.

6. Activities and Public Participation Approach

Table 1 below provides a description of the main phases in the impact assessment process and an outline of engagement opportunities in each phase, including events led by the Agency or the Federal Review Panel. It shows the objectives of each phase, the anticipated engagement activities, the public participation tools that support the engagement activities, and the timelines.

All segments of the population, including but not limited to, members of the public, non-governmental organizations, government agencies and Indigenous peoples, as well as the proponent, are welcome to participate in the engagement activities outlined below. As previously noted, a separate plan for engagement and partnership with Indigenous peoples has also been developed.

Table 1: Table of Public Participation Approaches and Activities

Objectives of the Phase

Expected Activities

Public Participation Tools

Timelines

Phase 1: Planning

  • Obtain participant comments on planning phase documents and on the draft version of the Integrated Review Panel Terms of Reference and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the coordination of the environmental and impact assessment procedures.
  • Share information on the impact assessment process and on opportunities for participation.
  • On October 22, 2019, the Agency accepted the Initial Project Description.
  • From October 22 to November 22, the Agency invited comments on the Initial Project Description. Those comments were used to prepare the Summary of Issues.
  • On November 29, the Agency submitted the Summary of Issues to Gazoduq.
  • From January 30 to March 10, 2020, the Agency invited comments on the draft Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the draft Public Participation Plan. These comments were used to finalize the documents posted on July 16, 2020.
  • From February 11 to February 26, the Agency held interactive community sessions.
  • On April 14, 2020, the Agency extended by 90 days the deadline for the planning phase of the Gazoduq project in order to foster cooperation with the Government of Quebec.
  • On May 15, the Agency notified the participants of the opportunity to submit a funding application to assist their participation in upcoming steps of the impact assessment.
  • On May 15, the Agency invited comments on the draft version of the Integrated Review Panel Terms of Reference and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the coordination of the environmental and impact assessment procedures. These comments will be considered when finalizing Terms of reference.
  • Online comments on the Initial Project Description, the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the Public Participation Plan.
  • Interactive community sessions in the communities most likely to be affected by the proposed Project, calls and meetings with interested stakeholders.
  • Online comments on the draft version of the Integrated Review Panel Terms of Reference and the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the coordination of the environmental and impact assessment procedures.
  • Comment periods and interactive community sessions announced in: notices on the Public Registry, newspapers and the radio; emails to the distribution list; updates on social media. Copies of the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the Public Participation Plan have been placed in the viewing centres in Appendix 1.
  • Phase completed on July 16, 2020 with the posting of the notice of commencement of the impact assessment and related documents.

Phase 2: Impact Statement

  • Notify participants of key steps in the process such as the receipt of the Impact Statement, the appointment of the Federal Review Panel and the comment period.
  • Obtain the views of participants on whether the information available in relation to the impact assessment of the Project is sufficient for the purpose of conducting the impact assessment and to proceed to the public hearing.
  • Upon receipt, the Impact statement will be posted to the Public Registry and an email will be sent to the distribution list to notify participants. The Review Panel will also be appointed at that moment.
  • Government review of the Impact Statement to determine whether the Impact Statement contains all the information and studies requested in the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines.
  • Federal Review Panel sufficiency review.
  • Comment period on the Impact Statement led by the Federal Review Panel. The comments will assist the Federal Review Panel in determining whether the information available in relation to the assessment of the Project is sufficient for the purpose of conducting the impact assessment and to proceed to the public hearing. Participants will also be able to share their opinions on the effects of the Project, and any necessary mitigation measures and follow-up program.
  • Determination by the Agency that the Impact Statement contains all the information and studies requested in the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines. This determination is informed by the Federal Review Panel's sufficiency review, the comments from federal and provincial authorities and Indigenous communities and Nations.
  • Public notices announcing participation opportunities, emails to the distribution list and updates on social media.
  • Emails to the distribution list informing participants of key steps in the process and posting of documents relevant to the impact assessment and comments received on the Public Registry.
  • Online comments on the Proponent's Impact Statement.
  • Copies of key documents will be placed in the viewing centres in Appendix 1.
  • Posting of documents relevant to the impact assessment and comments received on the Public Registry continuously throughout the impact statement phase.
  • Comment period of at least 60 daysthat begins when the Agency notifies the Federal Review Panel that the Impact Statement is ready for its review.
  • The Impact Statement phase will be completed in 180 days or less following the receipt of the Impact Assessment up to the notice that the Agency is satisfied that the Impact Statement contains the required information or studies, excluding any period the proponent takes to respond to questions or provide additional information or surveys requested.

Phase 3: Impact assessment conducted by the Federal Review Panel
Part 1 – Immediately after the Agency issues the notice indicating that it is satisfied that the Proponent has submitted all necessary information and studies

  • Share information on the impact assessment process and opportunities for participation.
  • Engage participants to take part in the public hearing.
  • Gather and verify the information that the Federal Review Panel needs to write its report.
  • Posting of a participation guide for public hearing sessions by the Bureau des Audiences Publiques sur l'Environnement du Québec (BAPE) and the Federal Review Panel.
  • A pre-hearing information period will be offered by the BAPE and the Federal Review Panel. The purpose of the information period will be to explain to the public how the joint public hearing sessions will work, the participation procedures, and the timelines.
  • The BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel will hold two-part public hearings in the communities most likely to be affected by the proposed Project (dates to be determined).
    • The first part of the public hearing will include technical sessions in which registered participants, including holders of Indigenous traditional knowledge who wish to take part, will be able to present their analyses and opinions on a specific topic and other participants, including the proponent, will have the opportunity to ask questions.
    • In the second part of the hearing, participants will have an opportunity to present their opinions on the Project. For these sessions, only the BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel will be permitted to ask questions.
  • The BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel may hold additional public hearings or provide additional participation opportunities, as required, to fulfil their respective mandates.
  • Comment period on the draft potential conditions led by the Federal Review Panel.
  • When the hearings are over and the record is closed, the Review Panels will prepare their respective reports. The Federal Review Panel's report will contain its rationale, conclusions and recommendations, including recommendations on conditions.
  • Posting by the Agency of the Federal Review Panel's report on the public registry. An email will also be sent to the distribution list to notify participants that the Federal Review Panel's report was submitted to the Minister of Environnement and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources.
  • Information period preceding the public hearings to be held in communities most likely to be affected by the proposed Project.
  • Public hearings to discuss the Project's potential positive and adverse environmental, social, economic and health effects, mitigation measures and follow-up.
  • Public hearing sessions will be broadcast online in real time. Links to the live or recorded video will be posted on the Registry and sent to the distribution list. All public hearing sessions will be open to the public to allow people to observe the proceedings.
  • Participants may submit a technical opinion in the first part of the hearing or a brief in the second part of the hearing and/or sign up to give an oral presentation. Instructions will be provided by the BAPE and the Federal Review Panel.
  • All documents submitted for the public hearings will be accessible simultaneously to the BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel.
  • Public notices announcing the participation opportunities, emails to the distribution list and updates on social media.
  • Comment period on the draft potential conditions.
  • Copies of key documents will be placed in the viewing centres in Appendix 1.
  • The public information period will be at least 30 days and will be announced 30 days before it begins.
  • Participation timelines, dates, locations and duration of the public hearings will be determined by the BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel and will be announced in the Notice of Public Hearing at least 45 days prior to the start of the public hearings.
  • Comments will be accepted during the impact assessment phase until the record is closed.
  • The online public comment period on the draft potential conditions will be at least 30 days. The Federal Review Panel will determine when it will begin.

Phase 3: Impact assessment led by the Agency
Part 2 – Following the submission of the Federal Review Panel's impact assessment report and potential conditions

  • Share information on the impact assessment process and opportunities for participation.
  • Obtain feedback from participants on added or modified conditions, if applicable.
  • Participants will be consulted if the conditions proposed by the Federal Review Panel are modified or if new conditions are added.
  • Online comments on added or modified conditions, if applicable.
  • If the conditions proposed by the Federal Review Panel are modified or if new conditions are added, the Agency will prepare a document containing responses to the comments received on the potential conditions.
  • The public comment period, if needed, will be 20 days.

Phase 4: Decision-making

  • Inform the Proponent and the public about the Decision Statement.
  • Posting on the registry of the Governor in Council's Decision Statement on whether the Project's adverse effects that fall within federal jurisdiction and the direct or incidental adverse effects are in the public interest. The Decision Statement will include specific reasons concerning the determination of the public interest and all enforceable conditions with which the Proponent must comply.
  • Public notices announcing the decision statement, email sent to the distribution list and updates on social media.
  • In the 90 days following the posting of the Agency's recommendation on potential conditions.

Phase 5: Post-decision
If the project is approved

  • Inform the public of the CER's follow-up and monitoring activities and the results of the follow-up program.
  • Ensure that the Project complies with the Canadian Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations and that the conditions to which the Project is subject are met.

If the Project is approved:

  • The proponent cannot construct the project until it has applied for and received approval from the Commission of the CER of the detailed or exact route.
  • The CER will conduct compliance verification activities.

If the Project is approved:

  • Landowners whose lands are affected by the route of the pipeline will receive a notice and can oppose the route, based on the location of the pipeline or facility, or the methods of timing or construction.
  • The CER is committed to providing the public with information about the safety of the pipelines and facilities it regulates, including company performance and enforcement actions.
  • Any enforcement actions would be made public.

If the Project is approved:

  • The CER will verify and enforce regulatory requirements throughout all phases of the project, from construction to operation and maintenance, and during temporary or permanent pipeline suspensions, such as deactivation, decommissioning and abandonment.

6.1 Proponent's information and consultation process

For information on the Proponent's plans for information and consultation during the impact assessment process, see the Proponent's website: https://gazoduq.com/en/.

The Agency requires the Proponent to inform and consult local communities, associations and members of the public to gather information, identify potential effects of the Project and appropriate mitigation measures, and address concerns throughout the impact assessment process. The Agency also requires the Proponent to prepare the Impact Statement with due consideration of Indigenous and community knowledge, if provided, and to validate the information in the Impact Statement with participants before formally submitting it to the Agency for review. For more information about the Agency's requirements for the Proponent, please consult the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines: https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/document/135390?culture=en-CA.

The Proponent and its experts will also be required to attend the public hearings held by the BAPE Review Panel and the Federal Review Panel. The Review Panels may, among other things, ask the Proponent to provide information about its Project, including potential effects, the assessment of those effects, mitigation and follow-up measures, and the findings of the proponent's assessment.

7. Funding

Funding is available to support participation of some members of the public. For information about the activities that are eligible for funding or to submit an application for funding, see the National Funding Program Guidelines: https://www.canada.ca/en/impact-assessment-agency/services/policy-guidance/participant-funding-program-national-program-guidelines.html.

8. Contact Information and How to Submit Comments

Until the Federal Review Panel closes the record, comments may be submitted at any time during the impact assessment process by using the "Submit a comment" feature on the Project's page on the Public Registry (reference number 80264, at https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/80264?culture=en-CA). Attachments can be uploaded using this feature. If you have any difficulties with the submission process, please contact the Agency and, when the Federal Review Panel is appointed, the Federal Review Panel's secretariat, using the contact information below. Comments may also be submitted by email to iaac.gazoduq.aeic@canada.ca or by regular mail.

Comments and other documents received by the Agency will form part of the Project record and will be posted on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry website. The Agency's Submission PolicyFootnote2 determines what information can be shared publicly and what information should remain private. For more information on how we protect your privacy, please refer to the Privacy Notice.Footnote3 If you do not want your comment to be posted on the Public Registry, please contact the Agency before submitting your comment.

If you have questions or need information, please contact:

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada – Gazoduq Project
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-222-3507
Email: iaac.gazoduq.aeic@canada.ca

Appendix

Appendix 1: Table 2 – Addresses of viewing centres

City or Town

Address

Alma, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale d'Alma
500, rue Collard O, Alma, Quebec

Amos, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale d'Amos
222, 1re Avenue E, Amos, Quebec

Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Teck Centennial Public Library
10 Kirkland Street East, Kirkland Lake, Ontario

La Sarre, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale Richelieu
195, rue Principale, La Sarre, Quebec

La Tuque, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale de La Tuque
575, rue Saint-Eugène, La Tuque, Quebec

Matheson, Ontario

Matheson Public Library
352 Second Street, Matheson, Ontario

Timmins, Ontario

Timmins Public Library
320 Second Avenue, Timmins, Ontario

Ramore, Ontario

Ramore Library
375 McIntyre avenue, Ramore Ontario

Roberval, Quebec

Bibliothèque Georges-Henri-Lévesque
829, boulevard Saint-Joseph, Roberval, Quebec

Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale de Rouyn-Noranda
201, avenue Dallaire, Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec

Saguenay, Quebec

Bibliothèque municipale de Chicoutimi
155, rue Racine E, Chicoutimi, Quebec

Shawinigan, Quebec

Bibliothèque Fabien-Larochelle
205, 6e rue de la Pointe, Shawinigan, Quebec

Senneterre, Quebec

Bibliothèque intermunicipale de Senneterre
121, 1re Rue E, Senneterre, Quebec

Val-d'Or, Quebec

Bibliothèque de Val-d'Or
600, 7e Rue, Val-d'Or, Quebec

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