The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project underwent a federal environmental assessment, beginning in 2013. In 2016, an independent review panel was appointed by the minister of environment and climate change to lead the assessment, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. During the environmental assessment, we conducted four rounds of public engagement, consulted with Indigenous groups, and participated in meetings with regulators, government, stakeholders.
The review phase of the environmental assessment concluded in August 2019 with the closing of the public record following a six-week public hearing. The independent review panel evaluated what they heard and the information received throughout the environmental assessment process to develop its Federal Review Panel Report. This was submitted to the minister of environment and climate change in March 2020.
In August 2020, the government requested we provide further information, through an information request. As a result, the federal timeline for decision-making was paused, and will resume once the information provided satisfies the request.
After more than a year of additional technical work, consultation with 46 Indigenous groups, and engagement with federal agencies, we recently submitted our response to the information request. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) is holding a public comment period to seek feedback from the public, Indigenous groups, regulators, and other stakeholders on our response and the draft conditions (requirements that the port authority must comply with should the project proceed). We are hopeful that a decision on the project can be made as quickly as possible to make sure the project is built in time to support Canadian importers and exporters who rely on the Port of Vancouver to get their goods to and from foreign markets
The project requires additional regulatory permits and authorizations and a final investment decision from the port authority before it can proceed. Work to obtain regulatory permits on authorizations is ongoing and taking place in parallel with the environmental assessment process.
As part of the environmental assessment, we conducted a series of reports and studies to better understand existing conditions at Roberts Bank. Additionally, technical advisory groups were established to gather expert advice on the Roberts Bank ecosystem. Details on these, as well as the environmental impact statement, can be found below.
Environmental assessment timeline
Project description review (2013)
- September 2013: Project Description submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA; now the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada or 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 (EIS) (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 Addendumand 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 (2018-2019)
- May 2018: Independent review panel announced
- May 2016–February 2019: Sufficiency information requests submitted
- December 2018: Public comment period on sufficiency of information
- May–June 2019: Public hearing held in Delta, B.C.
- August 2019: Public record for the environmental assessment closes, independent review panel begins work on panel report
2020 and beyond
- March 2020: Federal Review Panel Report for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project submitted by the independent review panel to the minister of environment and climate change
- August 2020: Minister of environment and climate change requests additional information on the project
- Summer 2020–Spring 2021:
- Port authority undertakes work to respond to the information request issued by the minister of environment and climate change
- Fieldwork and environmental studies are conducted to further inform the response to the minister’s information request
- Winter 2020–Spring 2021:
- Impact Assessment Agency of Canada develops draft conditions
- Crown consultation with Indigenous groups about the review panel report and draft conditions led by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
- Port authority consults with Indigenous groups and agencies on the draft information request response
- Spring–Summer 2021:
- Port authority continues consultation and incorporates feedback from Indigenous groups and agencies into information request response and submits response to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
- Summer–Winter 2021:
- Port authority submits response to the federal government’s August 2020 information request
- Public comment period on draft conditions and information request response takes place
- Impact Assessment Agency of Canada revises conditions based on the feedback received during the public comment period
- Minister of environment and climate change issues decision statement, with final conditions, for the project. If approved, the port authority must follow the final conditions provided by the minister.
Technical data reports
In 2012, we initiated field, desktop (i.e. literature review), and modelling studies to inform our understanding of existing conditions at Roberts Bank. Building on available information, these studies were designed to address known gaps in data, and issues and interests of Indigenous groups, stakeholders, and the public. The studies also provided baseline information to assess project-related effects as part of the environmental assessment. Learn more about the Technical Data Reports.
Technical advisory groups
In 2012 and 2013, we established four technical advisory groups, comprised of local and international scientific and technical experts with specialized knowledge from regulatory agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and consulting firms. The purpose of the groups was to improve the relevance, quality, rigour and completeness of studies and information submitted as part of the environmental impact statement.
Each group provided expert advice regarding one of four key environmental components in the Roberts Bank ecosystem, including:
- Biofilm and shorebirds
- Coast geomorphology
- Productive capacity
- Southern resident killer whales
Experts reviewed existing information and field study work plans, identified priority information needs and appropriate methods of impact assessment, and made recommendations to the port authority. Terms of reference were established for the technical advisory groups, and input received from group participants is summarized in several individual reports.
Environmental assessment documents
In March 2015, we filed an environmental impact statement for the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. An environmental impact statement is a report that provides information about a project and summarizes potential impacts and benefits of a project on the environment. It is a useful tool to describe possible methods of avoiding, reducing, and/or mitigating potential environmental impacts.
The statement summarizes the results of 77 studies undertaken over four years, with contributions from more than 100 professional scientists and more than 35,000 hours of field work. This work informed our assessment of potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects, and includes proposed mitigation measures to reduce, avoid, or offset these potential effects. The environmental impact statement also describes the monitoring and follow-up program that would be undertaken to ensure mitigation measures are effective.
In response to updated guidelines provided by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in April 2015, we submitted the marine shipping addendum, which assessed the potential effects resulting from marine shipping outside the port authority’s jurisdiction associated with the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project and within Canada’s territorial sea.
Since the submission of the environmental impact statement, we have conducted additional studies based on feedback and engagement with Indigenous groups, local communities, environmental groups, and government agencies. We have submitted over 3,000 pages of additional information, and developed a table of commitments which details the 82 project commitments the port authority will implement should the project proceed, along with any additional conditions imposed by the minister of environment and climate change. The independent review panel reviewed all of this information as part of its assessment in order to develop its Federal Review Panel Report for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.
For more information on the federal environmental assessment process and to read the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Environmental Impact Statement, visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website (registry reference number 80054). Printed copies of the documents are available for reference at the following locations:
- Port of Vancouver Delta Community Office (5225A Ladner Trunk Rd, Delta)
- Ladner Pioneer Library (4683 51 St, Delta)
- George Mackie Library (8440 112 St, Delta)
- Tsawwassen Library (1321 56 Street, Delta)
For more information regarding the provincial environmental assessment process, visit the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office website.