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September Update
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B.C. Home  September Update - Budget 2005  Overview and Core Business Areas

Environmental Assessment Office

Overview and Core Business Areas


The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is now under the statutory authority of the Minister of Environment. The Environmental Assessment Office leads reviews of proposed large-scale projects in British Columbia as required under the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act. The current Act came into force in December 2002, replacing the former Act that had been in place since 1995. The current Act provides greater flexibility and timeliness for proponents.

Environmental assessment is a process for identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating potentially significant adverse impacts of major projects. The process examines a broad range of possible effects — environmental, economic, social, health and heritage — and supports balanced decision-making. Issues or concerns identified by provincial, federal and local governments, First Nations and the public may trigger modifications or changes to a project as it moves through the environmental assessment process. Proponents also have specific accountabilities in the review process.

The core functions of the Environmental Assessment Office form the basis for fulfilling its mandated responsibilities. These core functions are delivered through two business areas: Major Project Environmental Assessments and Corporate Operations.

Core Business Areas and Structure

1. Major Project Environmental Assessments

The Environmental Assessment Office oversees and manages the province's major project environmental review process to assess environmental, economic, social and other aspects of proposed projects in the following sectors: industrial, mining, energy, water management (dams, dykes, and reservoirs), waste disposal, food processing, transportation and tourism (destination resorts).

2. Corporate Operations

Many of the Environmental Assessment Office's corporate services are shared with the Ministry of Environment. Corporate operations that are the responsibility of the Environmental Assessment Office include service planning, budgeting, expenditure control, staff development, human resources, policy and legislation, records management, and management of the electronic Project Information Centre (ePIC) and website. Resources for corporate operations are included under the Environmental Assessment Office's "Core Business."

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