Manitoba's Strategic Advantages: Environment Assessment and Licensing

The Environment Act outlines an environmental assessment and licensing process for those developments that may have potential for significant environmental effects. All development with significant environmental impact requires a site-specific assessment and approval prior to construction or operation.

The assessment process is flexible enough to accommodate variety; it streamlines the application process for simpler, more familiar developments, yet allows for broader scrutiny in larger or unprecedented developments.

Manitoba Regulation 164/88 - Classes of Development Regulation, lists by type those developments that require environmental assessment and a license prior to construction. Listed developments are required to file a proposal with Manitoba Conservation for a license.

The environmental assessment and licensing process is outlined in the steps below. For additional detail, please refer to the Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch’s documents

Environmental assessment and licensing process

1. File a Proposal (Mandatory)

All listed developments require the filing of a proposal in accordance with Manitoba Regulation 163/88 - Licensing Procedures Regulation. To assist clients, the requirements of the regulation have been incorporated into a one-page proposal form.

2. Screening (Mandatory)

The Proposal is reviewed, or screened, by the public and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to assess the need for:

  • more information
  • a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or
  • a public hearing.

3. Further Information (Discretionary)

If the screening in Step 2 so indicates, the applicant may be required to provide further information. To avoid delays in the process, it is important that initial proposals be as comprehensive as possible when filed.

Depending on the level of detail required, the additional information may be obtained through direct questions to the client or by requirement for a full Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed development. The additional information is also screened through the public and by the TAC.

4. Public Hearings (Discretionary)

The Environment Act provides authority for the Minister to call public hearings to consider proposals filed under the Act. Hearings are not mandatory under the Act, but may be called where a development proposal is of general interest to a large number of Manitobans. Hearings are conducted by the Clean Environment Commission, which provides advice and recommendations to the Minister.

The final decision on the development proposal rests with Manitoba Conservation.

5. Licensing Decision (Mandatory)

At the conclusion of the assessment process, the department makes a decision to either issue or refuse a license.

The environmental assessment and licensing process is intended to be as time efficient as possible. Timelines for approval vary by project, due to differences in potential environmental impact, the discretionary steps in the process, and the client’s ability to prepare the required information.

Generally, if the proposal information is acceptable to the public, the TAC, and the department at the conclusion of Step 2, then a licensing decision can be made within 2 to 4 months of date of receipt of the proposal. Any requirement for additional information will require additional time.

Early contact with the department, as well as continued contact throughout the review process, will ensure that the review process is managed effectively and efficiently and that delays in the process are minimized.

In an effort to minimize duplication, delay and confusion, Manitoba has entered into an agreement with Canada respecting environmental assessment. Under the agreement, Manitoba and Canada agree to co-operate and co-ordinate respective their respective assessment processes in order to promote an effective and consistent environmental assessment process in Manitoba. Early consultation with Manitoba Conservation will help determine whether both federal and provincial environmental approvals are required.

For further information, please contact:

Manitoba Sustainable Development
Tel: 204-945-6784

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