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Archived in January 2013 Schedule 5: Environmental Assessment

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1. Legislation

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act obliges all federal departments and agencies, including the Agencies, to review proposals for potential impacts on the environment. It requires the use of environmental assessment (EA) as an effective means of integrating environmental factors and applying the precautionary principal into planning and decision-making processes in a manner that promotes sustainable development.

In order that the Agency carries out its responsibilities under the Act, all Parties must work together to ensure that research activities do not have any significant deleterious effects on the environment. To this end, the Parties will ensure that environmental assessments are carried out as required by provincial, territorial or federal legislation and that mitigating measures are implemented to limit the adverse impacts of research activities on the environment.

The Parties shall keep each other informed of any proposals that might require an environmental assessment under provincial or federal legislation.

2. Responsibilities

2.1 Responsibilities of the Institution


  1. The Institution agrees to ensure awareness among its research community of EA requirements and procedures;
  2. At its discretion, the Institution will:
    1. review applications to check for environmental sensitivity and identify any potential liability for the Institution;
    2. assist applicants, where appropriate, in preparing documentation for the environmental assessments; for example, by commissioning reports (such as engineering studies), validating information contained in proposals, or facilitating access to knowledgeable institutional resources, when these are available. It is understood that in such cases the cost is borne by the applicant or Institution.

2.2 Responsibilities of the Agencies


The Agencies are responsible for:

  1. developing an EA process that both fully meets the legislative requirements imposed on the Agencies and minimizes the administrative burden on applicants and Institutions;
  2. using this EA process to review all proposals and determine which are subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. An EA may be carried out even on proposals that are not subject to the Act if there is evidence that the proposed research work may have significant negative effects on the environment;
  3. ensuring that an EA is conducted, in a careful and precautionary manner, at the proposal stage and before irrevocable decisions are made;
  4. ensuring that only proposals that are not likely to cause unjustifiable adverse environmental effects are funded;
  5. keeping applicants and Institutions informed in a timely manner of any requirement for an EA, and, where applicable, the progress of an EA in process;
  6. coordinating, as appropriate, with other jurisdictions such as federal, territorial or provincial departments or Aboriginal Band Councils, to avoid any unnecessary duplication of work;
  7. determining whether public participation is appropriate and, if so, ensuring that there be opportunities for timely and meaningful public involvement throughout the EA process; and, when appropriate, requesting that the Minister of Environment refer the project for a public review through mediation or panel review;
  8. posting and maintaining all necessary and/or relevant documentation on the public registry of assessments conducted under the Act (This link will take you to another Web site www.acee-ceaa.gc.ca/050/index_e.cfm);
  9. implementing a follow-up program, where appropriate, to ensure that suitable mitigation measures and monitoring are put into place; and
  10. ensuring that consortia, networks or other similar organizations receiving funds from the Agencies will have, as part of their application, grant agreement or Memorandum of Understanding, a process to identify and assess, as required, specific projects which have potentially negative environmental effects.
  11. For any project which it funds, the involved Agency is a “responsible authority” for that project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. NSERC may provide environmental assessment services to the other Agencies in relation to the projects of the latter. However, each Agency is still responsible for making all decisions required to be made by the “responsible authority” under the Act.

This Schedule forms part of, and complements, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Institution and the Agency/Agencies published at: www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/Policies-Politiques/MOURoles-ProtocolRoles/index_eng.asp

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