Jamie Simpson
Juniper Law

Jamie Simpson:
Thank you for your May 27, 2021 letter in which you requested, on behalf of various persons and organizations, a regional assessment under the Impact Assessment Act (the IAA) of the infilling of water lots in an area of Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Under the IAA, a regional assessment of the effects of existing or future physical activities in a region may be conducted. Upon receipt of your request, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) undertook a detailed review, taking into account considerations laid out in applicable guidelines related to regional assessment requests, to inform my decision.

Following careful consideration and analysis of your request, I have decided not to conduct a regional assessment of the infilling of water lots in this area of Halifax Harbour, for the reasons described below.

While public interest in these activities and their potential environmental, health, social, and economic effects are acknowledged, I am of the view that a regional assessment is not an appropriate means to address either these issues or the perceived "jurisdictional gap" referenced in your regional assessment request. Infilling activities are not designated projects under the IAA and its regulations, and are therefore not subject to federal impact assessment requirements. Such a regional assessment is, therefore, unlikely to inform future federal impact assessments.

In addition, while I recognize that the nature and location of such infilling and associated jurisdictional considerations have created a unique situation regarding the regulation of these activities, a regional assessment is to inform project-level impact assessments and is not intended to address issues with federal, provincial, or municipal laws or policies. Rather, I encourage you to continue to communicate and work with other applicable government departments and agencies regarding your concerns.

To help facilitate this, I have asked Agency officials to coordinate discussions involving applicable federal, provincial, and municipal agencies as well as non-governmental organizations to discuss these issues further, and to explore potential means of addressing them through other existing or potential regulatory and planning processes.

Documentation related to this regional assessment request, including the original request and my response to it, are posted on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry at: https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/81671.

Thank you again for taking the time to prepare and submit this regional assessment request.


The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P. (il/lui/he/him)

Document Reference Number: 2

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