Federal and provincial environmental assessment
A federal environmental assessment is a process led by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) to identify, predict and evaluate the potential environmental effects of a proposed project. This process happens before the federal government makes a decision about a proposed project. Environmental assessments consider environmental effects and their significance, proposed mitigation measures, alternative means of carrying out a project, and any other relevant matter.
The federal environmental assessment process for Roberts Bank Terminal 2 started in 2013, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. In April 2023, the federal government issued a positive decision statement for Roberts Bank Terminal 2, concluding this rigorous 10-year assessment.
A provincial environmental assessment of the project has been ongoing in parallel with the federal environmental assessment since November 2014. In spring 2023, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office held a public comment period on their draft assessment materials. Should the provincial ministers decide that the project should proceed, they will issue an environmental assessment certificate and attach any conditions they consider necessary, under the Environmental Assessment Act (2002).
Environmental assessment timeline
Project description review (2013)
- September 2013: project description submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA; now IAAC)
- September 2013: public comment period on summary of the project description
Determination of environmental assessment (2013-2014)
- November 2013: public comment period on draft environmental impact statement guidelines
- January 2014: final environmental impact statement guidelines issued to port authority by CEAA
Development of environmental impact statement (2014)
- March 2014: public comment period on draft environmental impact statement guidelines
- August 2014: draft review panel terms of reference issued
Environmental Impact Statement completeness review (2015-2016)
- March 2015: environmental impact statement submitted by port authority to CEAA
- April 2015: updated environmental impact statement guidelines issued to port authority by CEAA
- April 2015: public comment period on environmental impact statement
- October 2015: marine shipping addendum and information requests submitted by port authority
- November 2015: public comment period on marine shipping addendum
- February 2016: additional information requests submitted by port authority
- April 2016: marine shipping addendum information requests submitted by port authority
Independent review panel (2018-2020)
- May 2018: independent review panel announced
- May 2016 to February 2019: sufficiency information requests submitted
- December 2018: public comment period on sufficiency of information
- May to June 2019: public hearing held in Delta and Vancouver Island locations in B.C.
- August 2019: public record for the environmental assessment closes, independent review panel begins work on panel report
- March 2020: Federal Review Panel Report for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project submitted to the minister of environment and climate change by the independent review panel
Information request (2020 to 2022)
- August 2020: minister of environment and climate change requests additional information on the project
- Summer 2020 to Summer 2021:
- Port authority undertakes work to respond to the information request, including further fieldwork, environmental studies, and consultation with Indigenous groups and agencies on our response
- IAAC develops draft conditions and undertakes crown consultation with Indigenous groups on the review panel report and draft conditions
- September 2021: port authority submits response to information request
- December 2021 to March 2022: IAAC holds public comment period on port authority’s response to the information request and on the draft conditions
Federal government’s decision (2023)
- January 2023: federal minister of environment and climate change determined that the port authority provided sufficient information in our information request response to support government decision making
- April 2023: Government of Canada approves Roberts Bank Terminal 2, with the minister of environment and climate change issuing a positive decision statement and final conditions
Provincial government’s decision (2023)
- Spring 2023: B.C. Environmental Assessment Office holds a public comment period on draft assessment materials
Environmental assessment documents
All the information we submitted during the federal environmental assessment is available on IAAC’s public registry for the project. This online registry includes over 4,700 documents such as technical and scientific studies; environmental reports; public comments; submissions by federal, provincial, and regional regulators; the port authority’s responses to information requests; and presentations and transcripts from the public hearing.
For information and supporting documents related to the provincial environmental assessment process, visit the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office’s public registry for the project.
Additional permits and approvals
Before construction can begin, Roberts Bank Terminal 2 requires additional regulatory permits and approvals, such as a Project and Environmental Review process and a Species at Risk Act compliant Fisheries Act Authorization. As part of our Species at Risk Act compliant Fisheries Act Authorization application that will be submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we will further detail our plan to create more than 86 hectares of offsetting habitat in collaboration with Indigenous groups. The final offsetting plan will focus on supporting key species including Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon and Dungeness crab, through habitat types such as intertidal marsh and eelgrass. Many of the offsetting projects in this plan were selected based on Indigenous priorities. For example, the Tilbury Island Peninsula Enhancement Project is a priority offsetting project for Musqueam and Tsawwassen that involves improving and increasing marsh habitat to provide a variety of ecological benefits.
Timely issuance of these permits and approvals—as well as collaborative relationships with regulatory agencies, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders to support them—are critical to the program’s schedule and success.