Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment evaluates the environmental effects of a proposed policy, plan, or program and its alternatives, and informs decision-making through a careful analysis of environmental risks and opportunities.

The Guidelines for the Implementation of the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan, and Program Proposals clearly outline the Strategic Environmental Assessment process and reporting requirements. The guidelines were recently revised to include the following:

  • A requirement for Strategic Environmental Assessment analysis to include impacts on the achievement of Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets; and,
  • A requirement for departments to report on the results of Strategic Environmental Assessments.

Transport Canada has committed to:

  • Updating its internal Strategic Environmental Assessment Policy Statement to incorporate new requirements.
    • Progress: Transport Canada’s Strategic Environmental Assessment Policy statement was revised to reflect the changes to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan, and Program Proposals in 2010. The changes to the policy statement were completed in December 2011.
       
  • Updating guidance material (templates, manuals, training material) to ensure practitioners understand these new requirements.
    • Progress: Transport Canada updated all of its internal Strategic Environmental Assessment guidance documents and tools in 2011 in order to ensure the transition to the new requirements of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy including the Strategic Environmental Assessment Manual, the Strategic Environmental Assessment Preliminary scan report template and the Strategic Environmental Assessment training course material. All the updates and changes to the guidance material were completed as of March 31, 2011. To date, training sessions with the new material have been delivered in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
       
  • Revising its internal process to link Strategic Environmental Assessment results to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets.
    • Progress: Transport Canada updated all of its internal Strategic Environmental Assessment correspondence products (instructions, templates, confirmation of reviews and notification e-mails) to include references to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets as part of the new SEA requirements as of 2010. The Strategic Environmental Assessment Internet website was also updated to reflect these changes.
       
  • Revising internal procedure for the preparation of public statements to address this new requirement.
    • Progress: Transport Canada updated its Strategic Environmental Assessment Manual as of March 2011. The updated Manual includes a section on the preparation of public statements highlighting the requirements under the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Planned reporting activities and performance measures in the Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report include:

  • Number of proposals (Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions, regulatory amendments) submitted by Transport Canada to Cabinet or Treasury Board and approved (#);
  • Number of proposals for which the Strategic Environmental Assessment process was completed (Preliminary Scans or Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment) (#);
  • Transport Canada's overall Strategic Environmental Assessment compliance (%); and,
            Progress
      # Submitted by Transport Canada to Cabinet or Treasury Board and approved
    Memorandum to Cabinet 9
    Treasury Board Submissions 13
    Regulatory Amendments 23
    Number of Proposals for which the Strategic Environmental Assessment process was completed (Preliminary Scans or Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment) 30
    Transport Canada’s overall Strategic Environmental Assessment Compliance 76%
  • Number of proposals for which a Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment was completed and how it contributed towards Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals and targets (to be developed).
    • One detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment was completed in 2011-12 for the proposal entitled “The Next Generation of Clean Transportation Initiatives”. This suite of programs and regulations responds directly to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy by addressing goals under the Addressing Climate Change and Quality theme. These include:
      • Goal 1: Climate Change – Reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to mitigate the severity and unavoidable impacts of climate change; and,
      • Goal 2: Air Pollution – Minimize the threats to air quality, so that the air Canadians breathe is clean, and help support a healthy ecosystem.
         
  • These initiatives will continue to fulfill existing Government of Canada commitments under the Clean Air Agenda to alleviate the environmental impact of the transportation sector by:
    • addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through regulation for the aviation, marine and rail modes;
    • ensuring the transportation system is safe and efficient;
    • targeting heavy-duty vehicles by promoting the adoption of technologies that improve system efficiencies;
    • specifically addressing local air emissions at marine ports; and, 
    • conducting evaluation and research into technologies, practices and measurement methodologies to better inform the development of future policies and regulations.

For more information on Transport Canada's Strategic Environmental Assessments, please visit our website, and for more information on Strategic Environmental Assessments in general, please visit 
http://www.ceaa.gc.ca/.

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