The Impact Assessment Act requires all federal authorities, like Parks Canada, to determine, prior to approving a project, that “the carrying out of the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” The process used to make this determination is not prescribed in the legislation, and has been left to the discretion of the federal authority. Parks Canada uses four pathways of assessment.

Preapproved Routine Impact Assessment (PRIA): This pathway will be applied when Parks Canada has identified a class of routine, repetitive projects with well understood and predictable effects. A PRIA is intended to maximize efficiency for these recurring projects through creation of a preapproved routine impact assessment consisting of a suite of environmental management and mitigation measures for the defined class of projects.

Basic Impact Assessment (BIA): This pathway will be applied when potential adverse environmental effects are predictable, will be confined to the project site or immediate surroundings, and mitigation measures are well-established.

Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA): This pathway will be applied to complex projects that may require in-depth analysis of project interactions with valued components; may affect a particularly sensitive environmental setting or threaten a particularly sensitive valued component. These types of projects may lead to high levels of interest from Indigenous groups, public and stakeholders in relation to the potential for adverse environmental effects.

Designated Projects: Designated projects are listed on the Physical Activity Regulations. Designated projects are assessed by the Impact Assessment Agency following the process identified in the Act. For more information see: www.canada.ca/en/impact-assessment-agency.html.

The Guide to the Parks Canada Environmental Impact Analysis Process provides an overview of the process developed by Parks Canada to fulfill its requirements as a federal land manager under the previous Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 as well as its legal and mandated obligations to protect Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.

The guide outlines how the process works, when an assessment is required, and what Parks Canada’s requirements are for projects proposed within Parks Canada protected heritage places. The guide was developed to assist project proponents, consultants, stakeholders and partners involved with the preparation or review of an EIA.

The guide is being updated to address requirements of the new Impact Assessment Act (2019). The old document: Guide to the Parks Canada Environmental Impact Analysis Process is still available for download.