This module introduced the Planning phase. The key summary points for this module are as follows:

Select each heading for more information.

Planning Phase Focus

The prime focus of the Planning phase within the impact assessment process is to:

  • Better project design and greater clarity for project proponents and all participants.
  • Engage early with the public and Indigenous groups on relevant views and knowledge and identify issues important to communities.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration/cooperation.
  • Determine if an impact assessment is required.
  • Develop planning tools to guide the process, including the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines.
Planning Phase Questions

There are two key questions that must be answered during the Planning phase:

  • Does the Initial Project Description meet the requirements of the Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations?
  • Is an impact assessment required?

Once the Agency accepts the Initial Project Description and posts the notice on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry:

  • The 180-day time limit for the Planning phase starts.
  • The Agency may extend the 180-day Planning phase by up to 90 days at the request of another jurisdiction to enable cooperation with that jurisdiction.
  • The Notice of Commencement is posted on the Registry by the end of 180 days.

The factors that will be considered in the impact assessment are defined in the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and tailored to a specific designated project using the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines. The scope of each factor to be considered under subsection 22(1) of the IAA (except those under paragraphs g, m, n, o, p, q, r) is determined by the Agency.


The participants involved in the Planning phase include:

  • Proponent
  • Agency
  • Indigenous groups
  • Other jurisdictions
  • Federal authorities
  • Public
Purpose of Deliverables

During the Planning phase, there are two key purposes of the deliverables:

  • Deliverables that support the Agency’s determination of whether an impact assessment is required
  • Deliverables provided to the proponent with the Notice of Commencement to increase clarity of Impact Statement requirements and effectiveness of the overall impact assessment process
Posting on the Registry

Once the Agency has finalized the Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the four plans, it will post a Notice of Commencement on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry. The Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the four plans will also be posted on the Registry. The four plans are:

  • Cooperation Plan
  • Public Partnership Plan
  • Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan
  • Permitting Plan