Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

The new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is now in force. 

It can be a bit tricky to find, as the complete full-text of the act is found in section 52 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act , S.C. 2012, c. 19.  Section 66 of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, S.C. 1992, c. 37.  Sections 52 to 63, and 66 are in force July 6, 2012 by Order in Council P.C. 2012-969

See our Canada Proclamations page or check out Obtaining Federal Orders in Council for more details.

You can cite this act as: Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, S.C. 2012, c. 19, s. 52


The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and its regulations (under sections 83, 84, 85) establish the legislative basis for the federal environmental assessment process.  Regulations define the types of projects automatically subject to CEAA 2012, the information to be provided in project descriptions, and what costs can be recovered from proponents.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency posted the unofficial versions of the new regulations for convenience only. Official versions, when available, will be posted on the Justice Canada website.

Summary of the new Act

The CEAA 2012 establishes a new federal environmental assessment regime. Assessments are conducted in relation to projects, designated by regulations or by the Minister of the Environment, to determine whether they are likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that fall within the legislative authority of Parliament, or that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to a federal authority’s exercise of a power or performance of a duty or function that is required for the carrying out of the project.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the National Energy Board or a review panel established by the Minister are to conduct assessments within applicable time limits. At the end of an assessment, a decision statement is to be issued to the project proponent who is required to comply with the conditions set out in it.

It provides for cooperation between the federal government and other jurisdictions by enabling the delegation of an environmental assessment, the substitution of the process of another jurisdiction for an environmental assessment under the Act and the exclusion of a project from the application of the Act when there is an equivalent assessment by another jurisdiction. It requires that there be opportunities for public participation during an environmental assessment, that participant funding programs and a public registry be established, and that there be follow-up programs in relation to all environmental assessments. It also provides for powers of inspection and fines.

Finally, it specifies that federal authorities are not to take certain measures regarding the carrying out of projects on federal lands or outside Canada unless they determine that those projects are not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

July 12, 2012