Roles, Expertise and Typical Projects

Environment Canada's Role as a Federal Authority

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, Environment Canada is a Federal authority which includes providing expert knowledge to other federal organizations conducting environmental assessments to assist them in anticipating, preventing, or mitigating environmental effects of a project. The role of Environment Canada also involves promoting environmental policies and programs of the Department and federal government.

Information on Environment Canada’s environmental assessments conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Registry for projects conducted South of 60ºand the Northern Project Management Office Tracker website for projects conducted in the North. The sites provide basic project details. Additional information may be obtained by consulting the contacts listed for each project.

Scientific Expertise and Advice

Environment Canada provides scientific expertise and advice not only to federal departments and agencies, but also to provincial, territorial, municipal, and aboriginal governments to support their environmental assessments.

The expertise Environment Canada brings to the environmental assessment process stems from its broad environmental mandate, which is determined by the statutes and regulations assigned to it by Parliament through the Minister of Environment. The Department's expertise and advice are with respect to the preservation and enhancement of the environment, and relate to:

  • Conservation and protection of migratory birds and their habitat
  • Prevention of releases or deposits of potentially deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish
  • Management of toxic substances
  • Environmental quality objectives, guidelines and codes of practice
  • Pollution prevention
  • Preservation of species at risk as designated by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
  • Management of National Wildlife Areas
  • Conservation of Canada's wetlands
  • Conservation of Canada's biodiversity
  • Promotion of sustainable development
  • Trans-boundary water management
  • Conservation and protection of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem
  • Protection of air quality from contaminants
  • Implications of climate change
  • Information on meteorology (including severe weather events)
  • Collection of environmental data

Typical Projects

Environment Canada provides environmental assessment advice for a variety of projects, including:

Oil, Gas and Pipelines

  • Oil sands and refineries
  • Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Pipelines

Electrical and Transmission Lines

  • Hydroelectric
  • Nuclear Facilities

Minerals and Metals Mines

  • Gold, Iron Ore, Coal, etc…


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