Community-led Environmental Planning
Inclusive environmental planning is an essential starting point for large-scale, complex projects that have potential to impact the environment.
A first step to establishing the proposed all season community access road is completion of a Provincial (Ontario) Environmental Assessment (EA), and potentially a Federal EA. An EA—Provincial or Federal—considers how the proposed community access road could affect the environment and people; data is collected, technical studies are conducted and people are consulted to determine the route the road will follow and to understand how best to avoid and/ or minimize potential negative direct or indirect environmental, social or economic impacts of the road. This work is just beginning.
There is value in our knowledge. Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) will work to ensure that the EA carefully addresses traditions, Indigenous Knowledge and land use, and protects sensitive traditional knowledge. Indigenous Knowledge about the routing options is welcomed and encouraged for consideration in the EA.
Ontario Environmental Assessment Act
The proposed Project is subject to the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (1990), and will follow two key steps:
- Development and submission of a Terms of Reference (based on Ontario’s Code of Practice); and
- Completion of an Environmental Assessment.
For more information about the Ontario EA process, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website for preparing environmental assessments.
What is the Terms of Reference?
The Terms of Reference provides a ‘roadmap’ for planning and decision-making that MFFN must follow during the preparation of the Individual Environmental Assessment; it outlines what studies will be conducted and how people will be consulted.
The Terms of Reference will be submitted to the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for review and approval. Once the Terms of Reference is approved by the Minister, MFFN will proceed with preparation of the Individual Environmental Assessment as laid out in the Minister-approved Terms of Reference and the Environmental Assessment Act.
The Federal EA process starts by submitting a Project Description, followed by the completion, review and approval of an Environmental Impact Statement. The Environmental Impact Statement will only be completed if the Agency determines that a Federal EA is required.
The need for a Federal EA will be confirmed by the Agency after their review of the Project Description, currently being prepared by MFFN and the Project Team.
For more information about the Federal EA process, please visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website.
If a Federal EA is required, a Coordinated EA will be completed. What does this mean? A Coordinated EA is a process where the Proponent—Marten Falls First Nation—and the government review agencies work together to efficiently coordinate review periods in the Provincial and Federal processes. The idea is that one report will be generated for the Project that satisfies both processes. Separate approvals are often still required by both governments.
In addition to EA approvals, there are a number of other permitting and approvals necessary prior to construction.