Also on August 14, 2010, notice was published in Part I of the Canada Gazette of the proposed Establishing Timelines for Comprehensive Studies Regulations (“the proposed Regulations”) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (“the Act”).

The proposed Regulations are intended to complement the recent amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (as previously reported in the August 25, 2010 edition of the Environment@Gowlings, available here) that now require that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“the Agency”) assume responsibility for the conduct of all comprehensive studies, except for those projects regulated by the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The proposed Regulations will set mandatory timelines on the Agency for its role in conducting comprehensive studies, including an initial 90-day period in order to determine whether a comprehensive study should be started and a 365-day period within which to complete a comprehensive study once it has been determined that a comprehensive study should be undertaken. Significantly, the 365-day period can be suspended either upon the request for the project proponent, or where the proponent is required to collect any information necessary to complete the requirements of the terms of the reference for the comprehensive study. The regulations also establish a mandatory annual reporting requirement for the Agency whereby the Agency would be required to publish a report on its performance vis-à-vis the proposed Regulations on its website.

The 30-day comment period for the proposed Regulations expired on September 13, 2010. The Canada Gazette Notice and the proposed Regulations can be viewed in their entirety here.