Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment ACT (YESAA)
An assessment under YESAA is required when a project activity is listed in the regulations and requires a permit or authorization, a transfer of land, or utilizes federal funding (Do you require an assessment?). The assessment process is initiated when an individual or organization submits a project proposal to YESAB. Once the proposal is received, YESAB ensures that the proposal contains the information necessary to commence an assessment.
Assessors consider the potential environmental and socio-economic effects of proposed activities by gathering and analyzing relevant information from various sources (federal, territorial and First Nation governments, experts in the field, and the public) and by conducting research to allow for a complete and thorough assessment.
Once the appropriate information has been collected and considered, the assessor recommends whether the project should proceed, proceed with terms and conditions or not proceed. Alternatively, a Designated Office may refer a project under evaluation to an Executive Committee screening or the Executive Committee may refer a project under screening to a review by a panel of the Board.
When an assessment is complete, the recommendation is sent to the relevant Decision Body(s), which can be federal, territorial and/or First Nation governments. The Decision Body(s) will then decide whether to accept, reject or vary the recommendation of YESAB and issue a Decision Document. These documents are placed on the YESAB Online Registry and available to the public.
Chapter 12 of the Yukon First Nations Final Agreements called for the establishment by federal legislation of an assessment process that would apply to all lands within Yukon: federal, territorial, First Nation and private. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) was given Parliamentary Royal Assent on May 13, 2003. The federal legislation outlines the assessment process for Yukon.
The Assessable Activities, Exceptions and Executive Committee Projects Regulations contain two schedules which set out the activities that are and are not subject to assessment under YESAA. The third schedule sets out whether a project should be submitted for an Executive Committee screening.
The Decision Body Time Periods and Consultation Regulations outline the time periods and consultation process among Decision Bodies.
Click here to read about conformity check processes under YESAA
Pursuant to its authority under YESAA, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has made the Rules for Evaluations Conducted by Designated Offices and the Rules for Screenings Conducted by the Executive Committee. These Rules provide the framework for conducting assessments.
Key features of YESAA:
- A single assessment process that will apply throughout Yukon, to all projects, and to the federal, territorial and First Nation governments.
- A neutral process done at arm’s length from governments.
- A high level of transparency – decisions and actions will include written reasons and will be made available on the public registry.
- Broader consideration of socio-economic factors.
- Guaranteed opportunities for public participation.
- Guaranteed opportunities for First Nation participation.
- Traditional and local knowledge considered during assessments.
- Increased certainty regarding information requirements, as well as mandatory timelines for both assessment and decision-making stages.