Phase 4 – Decision-Making

The purpose of the Decision-making phase is to determine whether the adverse effects of the project, and adverse direct or incidental effects (resulting from federal decisions) indicated in the report are, in light of criteria used for decision-making and the extent to which those effects are significant, in the public interest. The public interest determination is made by the Minister or Governor in Council (GIC). The determination is informed by the Impact Assessment Report developed during the Impact Assessment phase (Module 4) and the public interest factors outlined in the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). It includes an assessment of impact assessment factors, examining positive and adverse effects of the project on environmental, health, social and economic conditions. This assessment includes examining impacts on Indigenous groups and impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

For an impact assessment by the Agency, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada makes the public interest determination unless referred to the GIC. The GIC will always make the public interest determination for impact assessments conducted by Review Panel. The Minister issues the Decision Statement which includes the public interest determination, the reasons for the decision, and the conditions with which the proponent must comply.

When the Minister makes the public interest determination, the decision-making process can be summarized as:

Select each item below for more information.

Key Steps and Timelines

Public Interest Determination by Minister

1 2
30 Days
Minister’s Decision Statement

When the public interest determination is referred to the GIC for consideration, the decision-making process can be summarized as:

Select each item below for more information.

Public interest determination referred to GIC for consideration

1 2 3
90 Days
Minister’s Decision Statement

Note: The Minister can refer the public interest determination to GIC at their discretion for assessments conducted by the Agency.

Glossary: Governor in Council (GIC), Impact Assessment Factors