Steps in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process

Step 1

The Proposal Lead will undertake a preliminary scan (i.e., Part A of the SEA Questionnaire) as early as possible in the Proposal’s development cycle to identify possible environmental effects, and determine whether the Proposal requires a full SEA review. Early assessment will also assist in identifying policy alternatives and recommendations in cases where the environmental effects are important.

Of note, Questions A.8 and A.9 of the Questionnaire list special exemptions from the SEA process. If the Proposal Lead can justify an exemption for the Proposal under one of categories provided, then further responses to questions in Part A are not required. The Proposal Lead can skip directly to Part B for a results summary and to Parts E, F and G for requisite sign‐offs.

For all Proposals, the completed questionnaire must be provided to the SEA Advisor in Strategic Policy Branch for a review. For record keeping purposes, the questionnaire in support of a Proposal must be filed with the following areas: to Cabinet Business Unit for Memoranda to Cabinet, Aide Memoires, Ministerial Recommendations or Cabinet decks.

Step 2

The Proposal Lead will provide written responses to Questions A.1 to A.24 to the SEA Advisor for timely review, ensuring that new information is incorporated as the Proposal develops. At this stage, a detailed qualitative analysis is not required as part of the SEA process.

If the responses to Questions A.17 to A.23 are all negative and the Proposal Lead determines, in consultation with the SEA Advisor, that the Proposal does not have important environmental effects, then he/she can develop a SEA results summary (see Part B of the SEA Questionnaire for guidance and sample text) for inclusion in the Proposal document.

If a response to Questions A.17 to A.23 is positive, then the Proposal’s environmental effects warrant a full SEA review in keeping with the conditions outlined in the SEA Policy, and the Proposal Lead will complete Part C of the SEA Questionnaire. At this stage, a detailed qualitative SEA analysis is required commensurate to the level of anticipated important environmental effects.

The results of the full SEA will be included in the Proposal (see Part B of the SEA Questionnaire for guidance and sample text), supporting transparency on the integration of environmental considerations into decision‐making at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Step 3

The Proposal Lead will work with the SEA Advisor and the Communications and Marketing Branch to complete Part D of the SEA Questionnaire and develop a SEA Public Statement that speaks to the Proposal’s integration of environmental considerations where a full SEA is completed. The requirement for a Public Statement will be included in the Communications Plan for the Proposal, as appropriate. A Public Statement is also encouraged under the 2010 Cabinet Directive when a preliminary scan is completed, supporting transparency and accountability.

Step 4

In all cases of preliminary SEA scans or full SEA reviews, the Proposal Lead will complete the required sign‐offs in Part E and obtain Director General attestation in Part F, confirming that the SEA process is complete and its results incorporated into the final Proposal. Then the Proposal Lead should provide the SEA documentation to the Departmental SEA Advisor for final sign off (Part G). Thereafter, follow normal filing procedures and submit SEAs to the appropriate destination depending on the type of Proposal. It is suggested that sectors also keep a copy for corporate memory. Please note that an SEA has the same security classification as the document for which it was developed.

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