Environmental Assessments

An environmental assessment is required before any authorization can be granted. It’s one of the first steps in our application process that holds operators accountable to demonstrate how their proposed work can be done without significant adverse effects to the environment.

Did you know?

There are multiple steps in our Strategic Environmental Assessment and our Environmental Assessment processes with opportunities for engagement. For more information on engagement activity, check our Engage section.

It’s important for those operating in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area to understand our marine environment and the potential impacts that may be associated with oil and gas activity. Identifying mitigation measures that may be required to help minimize any potential impacts is critical.

We use Strategic Environmental Assessments to better understand the existing environmental setting and Environmental Assessments are required to identify and address potential environmental interactions and associated impacts. Strategic Environmental Assessments are conducted for non-project-specific activities. Environmental Assessments are conducted for project-specific activities proposed to take place in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.

Learn more about the types of environmental assessments below.

Strategic Environmental Assessments

Our evaluation of potential effects to the environment starts before any activity is proposed. We complete our evaluation through a Strategic Environmental Assessment. This is one of the first steps in our role as a lifecycle regulator.

  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment is a broad-scale study that helps us examine the larger environmental setting to ensure that we have a good understanding of the marine environment and the sensitivities. Strategic Environmental Assessments are updated regularly.
  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment helps us make informed decisions and provides a structured review process where environmental risks and benefits of proposed resource development activities can be evaluated and appropriate mitigation measures identified.
  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment is considered non-project-specific and is led by our Environment Team.
  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment does not mean that an activity can happen. An operator must apply for an Activity Authorization, and a project-specific Environmental Assessment must be submitted to assess their proposed activity as part of this application process.

You can view Strategic Environmental Assessment related documents in our Public Registry.

Project-Specific Environmental Assessments

Operators proposing to work in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area must complete a project-specific Environmental Assessment as part of their application to conduct offshore activities. The content of this Environmental Assessment must be accepted before any activity can occur.

A project-specific Environmental Assessment builds on information that is collected during the Strategic Environmental Assessment, and helps us predict how a proposed activity may impact the marine environment, in a specified area, offshore. It also sets out the necessary mitigation measures required to minimize or eliminate any potential environmental impacts before an authorization can be granted.

Depending on the activity, project-specific Environmental Assessments and/or Impact Assessments are required by us and/or the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

  • We require environmental assessments for projects considered non-designated under the Impact Assessment Act. An example of a non-designated project is a geophysical seismic survey program. You can view Environmental Assessment related documents on our Public Registry.
  • The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada requires and conducts Environmental Assessments for designated projects under the Impact Assessment Act. An example of a designated project is a petroleum development program. You can search the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry to learn more about how Environmental Assessments are conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

Public Registries

Visit our Public Registries for more information on Strategic Environmental Assessments and Environmental Assessments.

For more information, or to obtain copies of current or archived Strategic Environmental Assessments and project-specific Environmental Assessments, please contact us at info@cnsopb.ns.ca or 902-422-5588.