Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

A Guide to Best Practice

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Significant growth in economic activity in the Arctic has added weight to the argument that projects must be developed responsibly and sustainably. Addressing growing concerns regarding the exploitation of the Arctic’s natural resources, this timely book presents and evaluates examples of best practice in Arctic environmental impact assessment.

Chapter 9: Canada

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Subjects: environment, corporate social responsibility, energy policy and regulation, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


Canada’s multi-layered governmental system has, in turn, given rise to many different environmental impact assessment (EIA) systems. At the federal level is the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), which will be discussed in the first section of this chapter. Then there are the ten provinces and three northern territories, all of which have their own environmental statutes and EIA processes. Because some of the interviews used for the book are based on a research project (running from 2013 to 2015) on EIA best practices, and the benchmarking visit to Canada conducted for that project looked specifically at the Province of Alberta and the Yukon Territory, the best practice examples also derive from these two regions. The discussion of the actual EIA legislation, however, covers all three of the northern territories – Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut – because they are all different and exemplary models of ‘Arctic’ EIA systems that are tailored to unique environmental, cultural and socio-economic conditions. Given the number of EIA systems covered in this chapter, the ordering of the subheadings will be slightly different from those of the other country chapters.

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