As a tool for the implementation of sustainable development, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) involves reviewing policy, plan and program proposals to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies. Strategic Environmental Assessment should contribute to the development of policies, plans and programs by integrating environmental considerations on an equal basis with economic or social analysis.
The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals requires departments to conduct a SEA of a policy, plan or program proposal to identify potential environmental impacts and propose mitigation measures in those instances when:
The first step in the SEA process is to complete an initial checklist to determine if the proposal may affect the environment in some way. If it is determined that there is potential for important environmental effects, the second step is to conduct a preliminary scan to determine if the outcome of the proposal is likely to have significant positive or negative environmental effects. If the scan determines that there are no significant environmental implications, the decision is documented and the SEA process is then complete.
A more detailed analysis is conducted if significant environmental implications are expected, or if a high level of uncertainty or risk is associated with the outcome of the proposal.
For more information on SEA please visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) website.
As of January 1, 2004, the Cabinet Directive requires departments to prepare a public statement of environmental effects when a detailed analysis SEA has been conducted. This will assure stakeholders and the public that environmental factors have been appropriately considered when decisions are made.
For public statements prepared for regulatory amendments:
For information with regard to SEA and Recovery Strategies prepared under the Species at Risk Act (SARA):