SEA annexes


Annex one: Steps in 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 the 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.23 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 SEA s 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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Annex two: Guidance for authors of SEA Public Statements

A SEA Public Statement is required when a SEA has been conducted through Part C of the questionnaire. The purpose of a public statement is to demonstrate that environmental considerations and Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets have been integrated into the decision‐making process. According to the Cabinet Directive, it is expected that the public statement provide a brief summary of the SEA results, including:

  • the nature and scope of the environmental effects (positive or negative; direct or indirect);
  • effects (positive or negative; direct or indirect) on achievement of the goals or targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy; and
  • the measures the federal government employed to enhance the sustainability of the Proposal including mitigation, enhancement, monitoring, and/or follow‐up.

The Public Statement is to accompany the public announcement of the Proposal. The Public Statement may be a component of a general announcement by the government respecting the Proposal or it may be a stand‐alone document that explains the results of the SEA. For example:

The Proposal could result in the increased use of [chemicals X and Y] in the [X sector]. If large concentrations are released into the aquatic environment, it could have an important negative environmental effect. The likelihood of this situation is rare but to mitigate this impact, in cooperation with other jurisdictions, the federal government is developing guidelines on the use of these chemicals and implementing training programs and information sessions for potential user groups. Monitoring and follow‐up will be implemented through existing industry and provincial water quality monitoring programs.

The incentive program for development activities in [industry x] could result in important negative environmental effects on [species X habitat]. As the site‐specific effects will be considered and mitigated through the project review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, [Comment ‐ an EA will potentially be conducted if 1) the physical activity is listed on the Regulations Designating Physical Activities and 2) the Agency determines that an EA is required] the SEA focused on developing mitigation measures that guide industry to avoid areas of high environmental risk and a code of practice to guide industry standards. Monitoring and follow‐up will be implemented at the designated project‐level and will include indicators that provide trend information on the impact to [species X habitat] throughout Canada.

When preparing a SEA Public Statement, care should be taken to ensure that any disclosure of information aligns with requirements of existing legislation, regulations and policies (e.g., Cabinet confidence).


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Annex three: Guidance for authors of Treasury Board (TB) submissions

As a result of the Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (revised in 2010), organizations must take into account how policy, plan and program proposals subject to SEA are likely to affect the achievement of the goals and targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS).

When an SEA has been conducted on a proposed policy, plan or program that has potential for important environmental effects, the analysis should be reflected in the TB submission in Annex H – Government-Wide Policy Considerations of the new Guidance for the preparation of TB submissions.  A copy of the SEA should be provided to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (Secretariat). Part B of the SEA questionnaire will support the submission. SEAs completed in support of a submission should be retained by sectors for record keeping purposes.

SEA is not required in emergencies. Furthermore, a SEA is not required for issues that have previously been assessed for environmental effects under an earlier proposal to Cabinet committee if current MC goals and target are considered in that exercise or assessed as a project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Contact the author of the parent MC to determine whether an SEA was completed. If an SEA was completed for the parent MC, the TB submission should reference the SEA. This summary should include a brief presentation of the important findings.

For more information, consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website, which contains the Cabinet directive and implementation guidelines.

Designated projects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

If the TB submission is expected to result in a designated project, a designated project level environmental assessment (EA) may be required as specified in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. In this case, the Proposal Lead must provide to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) a description of the proposed project early in the process. The project can not proceed unless and until the Agency issues its decision statement that the designated project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or that the significant adverse environmental effects that it is likely to cause are justified in the circumstances.

Federal authorities must not carry out a project on federal lands unless the Agency determines that the carrying out of the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or the carrying out of the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and the Governor‐in‐Council decides that those effects are justified.

A designated project, as defined in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, means one or more physical activities that: are carried out in Canada or on federal lands; are designated by regulations made under paragraph 84(a) or designated in an order made by the Minister of the Environment under subsection 14(2); and are linked to the same federal authority as specified in those regulations or that order. It includes any physical activity that is incidental to those physical activities.

A project as defined in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, section 66, means a physical activity that is carried out on federal lands or outside Canada in relation to a physical work and is not a designated project.

Please contact Francine Bélanger at 343-291-2998 for additional information on EA for specific designated projects or for projects on federal lands.


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Annex four: Guidance for authors of Regulatory Impact Analysis Statements (RIAS)

The Government of Canada’s Regulatory Policy establishes requirements for a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) in support of the development of regulatory submission, as a means of ensuring that the Government's regulatory activity serves the public interest, including in the area of quality of the environment. Therefore, the Triage of the RIAS is designed to illustrate the potential impacts the regulation will have on certain areas, including the environment. Departments and agencies are responsible for ensuring that relevant directions are followed when developing regulations, including the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.

If a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement is prepared on an initiative, ISED officials should reflect the findings of the Preliminary Scan or the SEA in the Triage Questions on environmental benefits (Q1) and environmental costs (Q3) of the proposal. Normally, an exemption under question A9 of the questionnaire or completion of the preliminary scan only would indicate low impact assessment, which would occur for technical regulations, for example. A full SEA, however, would indicate that the RIAS would require a medium to high impact assessment.

As noted in the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, when departments and agencies are developing the option that maximizes net benefits, they are to: prevent or mitigate adverse impacts and enhance the positive impacts of regulation on the environment; identify the scope and nature of residual adverse environmental effects after mitigation and enhancement strategies have been considered; and identify necessary follow‐up measures to track environmental effects over time. The SEA can provide support in this analysis.


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Annex five: Achieving a Sustainable Future—A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada 2016–19

Goals and Targets

Effective action on climate change

  • Long-term goal: A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
    • Medium-term target: By 2030, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels

Low-carbon government

  • Long-term goal: The Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon
    • Medium-term target: Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025*
      *Achieving the target is dependent on major capital investments, with potential for construction time-delays. Best-case scenarios would allow for attainment.

Clean growth

  • Long-term goal: A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
    • Medium-term target: Implement our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels

Modern and resilient infrastructure

  • Long-term goal: Modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure supports clean economic growth and social inclusion
    • Medium-term target: By the end of 2025-2026, invest $20 billion in funding for green infrastructure initiatives that reduce GHG emissions and improve climate resilience and environmental quality

Clean energy

  • Long-term goal: All Canadians have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy
    • Medium-term target:
      • By 2030, 90% and in the long term, 100% of Canada's electricity is generated from renewable and non-emitting sources
      • By 2025, contribute to the North American goal of 50% clean power generation
      • By 2019, there is a favourable five-year trend in renewable electricity capacity compared to overall electricity sources, from a 2014 level of 64.4%

Healthy coasts and oceans

  • Long-term goal: Coasts and oceans support healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems
    • Medium-term target:
      • By 2020, 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures
      • By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem-based approaches starting at 96% in 2015

Pristine lakes and rivers

  • Long-term goal: Clean and healthy lakes and river support economic prosperity and well-being of Canadians
    • Medium-term target:
      • Reduce nutrient pollution to lakes and rivers
        • By 2025, reduce phosphorus loading into Lake Erie by 40% to achieve the binational (Canada-US) phosphorus targets from a 2008 baseline
        • Reduce an additional estimated 2000 kilograms of phosphorus per year to Lake Simcoe in support of Ontario's target to reduce phosphorus inputs into Lake Simcoe to 44,000 kilograms of phosphorus per year by 2045
      • Restore lake and river ecosystems
        • By 2019, 85% of the indicators of the Overview of the State of the St. Lawrence, including phosphorus and nitrogen, achieve a result considered intermediate or better to improve water quality, conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable use of the river
        • By 2019, restore beneficial uses that will assist in the delisting five Canadian Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs). In the remaining AOCs, increase the number of beneficial use impairment re-designations from 18 in 2014 to 30 in 2019

Sustainably managed lands and forests

  • Long-term goal: Lands and forests support biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem services for generations to come
    • Medium-term target:
      • By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures
      • By 2019, the condition of 90% of ecological integrity indicators in national parks is maintained or improved
      • Between now and 2020, maintain Canada's annual timber harvest at or below sustainable wood supply levels

Healthy wildlife populations

  • Long-term goal: All species have healthy and viable populations
    • Medium-term target:
      • By 2020, species that are secure remain secure, and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans
      • By 2025, 59% of managed migratory bird species have population sizes within an acceptable range

Clean drinking water

  • Long-term goal: All Canadians have access to safe drinking water and, in particular, the significant challenges Indigenous communities face are addressed
    • Medium-term target: By March 31, 2019, 60% and by March 31, 2021 100% of the long-term drinking water advisories affecting First Nation drinking water systems financially supported by INAC are to be resolved

Sustainable food

  • Long-term goal: Innovation and ingenuity contribute to a world-leading agricultural and food economy for the benefit of all Canadians
    • Medium-term target:
      • Ensure safe and accessible food supply by mitigating risks to animal and plant resources from pests, diseases and other health hazards and prevent risks to health of Canadians
      • By 2030, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and efficient management towards water and soil quality for food production
      • By 2020, all aquaculture in Canada is managed under a science-based regime that promotes the sustainable use of aquatic resources (marine and freshwater) in ways that conserve biodiversity

Connecting Canadians with nature

  • Long-term goal: Canadians are informed about the value of nature, experiencing nature first hand, and actively engaged in its stewardship
  • Medium-term target:
    • By 2020, maintain or increase the number of Canadians that get out into nature—for example, by visiting parks and green spaces—and increase participation in biodiversity conservation activities relative to a 2010 baseline

Safe and healthy communities

  • Long-term goal: All Canadians live in clean, sustainable communities that contribute to their health and well-being
    • Medium-term target:
      • Implement the Air Quality Management System to:
        • Decrease the three-year average of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compound emissions from regulated and/or targeted sources to below the previous three-year average
        • Increase the percentage of the Canadian population living in areas where measured outdoor concentrations are below the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for fine particulate matter and ozone compared to the year 2000
      • By 2020, address the 4,300 substances identified as priorities for action under the Chemicals Management Plan

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Annex six: Relevant documentation

The following websites provide relevant information about SEA.

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