Government of New Brunswick

Opportunities for Public and First Nations Involvement during a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Under New Brunswick’s Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation, reviews of proposed projects start when the proponent submits a registration document. Most conclude a few months later when the Minister issues a Certificate of Determination (CoD) allowing the project to proceed subject to conditions. This process is referred to as a determination review. It involves a Technical Review Committee (TRC) of subject matter experts from the provincial, federal and local governments. They ask questions and provide comments to the proponent and recommend conditions for inclusion in the CoD.  During the review, the proponent engages with the public and First Nations and submits the results to the EIA Branch of the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG).

Less often, some projects follow a different review path. If the Minister suspects project impacts may be significant or decides that more study is needed to further assess these impacts, then proponents must follow a comprehensive EIA review process. Comprehensive EIAs offer added opportunities for members of the public and First Nations to give their input.

The numbers below illustrate the five opportunities for public and First Nations involvement during a Comprehensive EIA.

The Province has a constitutional obligation to consult with First Nations if an action or decision has the potential to adversely impact Aboriginal and treaty rights. The Duty to Consult with First Nations and the EIA are two separate and distinct processes that complement one another and occur in parallel. For more information, visit the Duty to Consult with First Nations webpage.

First Nations may choose to provide input through both the EIA and the Duty to Consult process, if applicable.
  • Government subject matter experts prepare draft EIA study guidelines.
  • EIA Branch publicly releases the draft EIA guidelines for review and input.
  • EIA Branch considers input received and prepares the final EIA guidelines.

Members of the public and First Nations have the opportunity to provide input to the creation of the EIA guidelines. These project-specific guidelines respond to the scope of the proposed project and its location, by describing the topics and issues that must be addressed by the proponent during the EIA Study.

  • Proponent prepares draft terms of reference for the EIA study in response to the final EIA guidelines and engages public and First Nations on the draft terms of reference.
  • Government subject matter experts review the results of the engagement and the draft terms of reference, and request revisions as required.
  • EIA Branch approves the final terms of reference.

There is an opportunity for the public and First Nations to engage directly with the proponent by reviewing and commenting on the proponent’s draft terms of reference. This is the proponent’s proposed “road map” for the EIA study, describing how they intend to examine the topics and issues raised in the guidelines.

  • Proponent conducts the EIA study according to the approved final terms of reference.
  • Proponent prepares a draft EIA report
  • Government subject matter experts review the draft EIA report and request revisions as required.
  • EIA Branch publicly releases the complete final EIA report, a report summary, and a statement describing the results of the review by subject matter experts.

Once the EIA study has been completed and the proponent has submitted the report to the department, the department will release the full report and a summary, along with a statement describing the results of the review of the report by the Technical Review Committee.  Members of the public and First Nations can now review this material and prepare to participate in public meetings led by an independent panel of experts (below).

  • Independent review panel leads engagement and prepares the summary report and recommendations for government. 

Those wishing to provide further comment can participate by speaking at public meetings held by the independent review panel, and can also make written submissions to the panel.

  • Minister reviews the panel’s recommendations, recommendations from the EIA Branch and the outcome of the Duty to Consult process.
  • Decision by Government 

Up to 15 days after the date of the last public meeting held by the panel, additional written comments may be submitted to the department. At the end of the 15-day period, a summary of public participation is prepared by DELG based on the written briefs submitted to the Minister, transcripts of public meetings, and any additional comments received following the final public meeting. This summary is released publicly, and copies are sent to every identified person who participated in the public meeting(s). At the same time, the full package of EIA documentation, including the public participation summary, and information regarding the outcome of the Duty to Consult process, if applicable is forwarded to the Minister for final consideration and decision by Government.



  • Past Comprehensive EIAs and related documents are also available for review in the archives section of the Projects Under Comprehensive Review web page.