Slide 2 Slide 2

Follow Up Programs & Reviewing Reports

From Section 7 of Toolkit

There are two major report phases in a typical environmental assessment (EA). The first report is usually prepared by consultants hired by the proponent, who then write up their findings in report form. This report will have different names depending on the stage of the EA, the regulatory process, and the legislation guiding the EA. 

Typical names include: 

  • an Application or an Application for an Environmental Assessment Approval under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) of Ontario;
  • a Screening Report (for screenings conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA));
  • a Comprehensive Study Report (for comprehensive studies conducted under CEAA); or
  • an Environmental Impact Statement (for reports submitted by proponents to a panel under CEAA).

First Nations people understand their responsibility over the land in which the Creator gave to their Nations. While First Nations jurisdictions are not recognized by the settlers, there are still ways to ensure that the land is protected from unsustainable exploitation, abuse and contamination. As with the narrative above, First Nations people can ill afford to let development go unchecked, unchallenged and unmonitored. Development projects must go through appropriate screenings and monitoring, and should corporate practices be too destructive, it is up to the First Nations to step in and force proponents to alter their operations in a sustainable manner for the protection of the land and all of creation. 

In today’s context, once an environmental assessment has been conducted, project approvals have been secured and construction has started or the project is in full operation, First Nations communities still have a role in ensuring that the terms and predicted conditions of the environmental assessment are followed through. With any project, there can still be a number of issues that are unresolved, or the science used in a project approval may be faulty, giving rise to possible unintentional environmental impacts. Thus, in many jurisdictions a number of terms and conditions are typically imposed by the Responsibly Authority to ensure that undertakings and projects have some form of monitoring and follow-up. 

First Nation communities can be part of monitoring and follow-up programs or create their own independent process to further protection, conservation and sustainable management on the environment. First Nations can use monitoring and reporting obligations imposed on proponents regarding environmental impacts to their own advantage. 

It is widely accepted that First Nations and other Aboriginal peoples should be integral to post EA-mandated follow-up and monitoring programs. Their involvement can be comprehensive, including participation in the initial design, ongoing implementation, and analysis of the results of follow-up programs. The scope of monitoring and follow-up programs should address the effectiveness of mitigation measures and the accuracy of predicted environmental effects. As well, they should be involved in issues related to proponent conformance to, enforcement of and compliance with license requirements. 

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