Strategic environmental assessment
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) enables early consideration of potential environmental effects during the development of policies, plans or programs. Consideration of both positive and negative environmental effects makes it possible to develop measures to reduce negative effects or enhance positive effects.
SEA is required by a Cabinet Directive for a proposed policy, plan or program that requires Cabinet or Ministerial approval and may result in important environmental effects, either positive or negative. The Cabinet Directive did not change as a result of IAA coming into force. Parks Canada plans, policies and programs that may require strategic environmental assessment include:
The SEA of a proposed policy, plan or program is required by the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010). Parks Canada may require SEA of any policy, plan or program proposal, regardless of its level of approval, if such an assessment will optimize environmental benefits and/or minimize negative effects, and/or streamline planning. Specifically, Parks Canada may require the integration of SEA into the planning of any policy, plan or program proposal that:
- could result in adverse effects to the Parks Canada mandate, particularly with respect to protection of natural or cultural resources as well as values of importance to Indigenous groups or cooperative management structures, and the ability to achieve visitor experience objectives.
- could result in significant interest from Indigenous groups, members of the public, or stakeholders in relation to important negative environmental effects and the achievement of the Parks Canada mandate.
- would benefit from a comprehensive and streamlined assessment framework due to the requirement for multiple project-level impact assessments prior to implementation of the policy, plan or program.
Parks Canada plans, policies and programs that may require strategic environmental assessment include:
- Memoranda to Cabinet
- Treasury Board Submissions
- New or amended legislation or regulations
- Protected area establishment
- Protected area management plans
- Species at risk recovery strategies and action plans
- Ski area planning
- National policies and plans
- Community plans
- Other proposals for specific national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas.
SEA may be documented as a separate report or incorporated as part of the policy, plan or program. Parks Canada is required to provide a public statement summarizing the strategic environmental assessment at the time of any public announcement of the proposal's approval.