Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment
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Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment

Edited by Thomas B. Fischer and Ainhoa González

This comprehensive Handbook shows how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), an important decision support tool for strategies, policies, plans and programmes, is applied globally. It reflects on SEA practices and the advancements made over the past three decades in the development of SEA.
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Chapter 19: Strategic environmental assessment in Canada

Bram F. Noble

Abstract

Decisions taken, or not taken, at the policy and planning stage can have significant implications for how land is used, how resources are allocated, and whether and how development projects proceed. The most important actions that determine environment and sustainability outcomes thus occur before projects are implemented, at the strategic level of policy and planning. Canada has a long history of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) under its national, directive-based requirements but the performance and influence of SEA on development decisions has been limited. The more promising applications of SEA appear to have emerged regionally, and often informally, external to directive-based requirements. This chapter explores the requirements and diversity of SEA practice in Canada, and some of the enduring challenges and opportunities for improvement.

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