What is Impact Assessment?
An impact assessment is a tool used to identify, predict, and evaluate the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a proposed project, allowing for informed decision-making when new development projects are proposed. In the EMR, all projects requiring Government permits or authorizations—including academic, tourism, and development projects—are assessed by the EMRIRB to determine whether they should be allowed to proceed, and if so, under what terms and conditions.
EMRIRB assessments consider the potential eco-systemic impacts (e.g., on the land, air, water, fish, and wildlife) and socio-economic impacts (e.g., on the health and well-being of people and communities) of proposed projects to determine their impact potential. The purpose of this process is to identify ways to reduce negative impacts and shape projects to benefit the communities of the EMR.
The EMRIRB's assessment process is made up of three stages. During a screening, the EMRIRB has 45 days to gather written feedback and decide whether a project requires a full review. At the review stage, it gathers extensive written and oral input from all interested parties, the public, and the proponent, culminating in a formal hearing and a recommendation as to whether the project should proceed. Finally, approved projects are monitored until completion.
Introduction to the EMRIRB
For more information regarding our duties and functions, please view our guide.
The purpose of the screening process is to determine if a proposed project has the potential to cause sufficient damage to the EMR to warrant a formal review, or whether the project should be allowed to proceed and receive its required permits, licenses, and approvals without further assessment. EMRIRB screenings can last up to 45 days and include a 21-day public comment period.
As per section 18.4.2 of the EMRLCA, the EMRIRB will generally determine a review is required when:
- The project may have significant adverse effects on the ecosystem, wildlife habitat or Cree harvesting activities
- The project may have significant adverse socio-economic effects
- The project will cause significant public concern
- The project involves technological innovations for which the effects are unknown
If it is determined that a proposed project has the potential to adversely impact the EMR, the project is recommended for a review.
Project proposal submission and screening process
For more information regarding project screening, please view our guide.
After screening or reviewing a project proposal, the EMRIRB issues a public report to the Minister and the proponent containing its assessment of the project and its determination as to whether the project should proceed, along with any terms and conditions. The Minister reviews the EMRIRB’s determination and either accepts, rejects, or varies the terms and conditions, providing written reasons for each decision and making them public. If, following a review, the Minister accepts the EMRIRB's determination that a project should proceed, the EMRIRB issues a project certificate, including any terms and conditions accepted or varied by the Minister.
Terms and conditions contained in an EMRIRB Project Certificate, a Screening Decision Report, or an approval issued by the Nunavut Water Board may provide for the establishment of a monitoring program for a project, which may specify responsibilities for the proponent, the EMRIRB, and Government agencies. Monitoring is an important tool for checking the accuracy of predictions made during an impact assessment and for determining the effectiveness of measures taken to mitigate any potential adverse effects. Every approved project in the EMR is monitored in some form.
For more information regarding EMRIRB monitoring programs, please view our guide.