Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) involves reviewing policy, plan and program proposals to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies.

The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals and Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive requires departments to conduct an SEA of a policy, plan or program proposal to identify potential environmental impacts and propose mitigation measures when:

  • Ministerial or Cabinet approval is required
  • Important, positive or negative, environmental effects may result.

The first step in the SEA process is to conduct a preliminary scan in order to determine potential environmental implications of policies, plans or programs. At the same time, potential project environmental assessment requirements, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, are also identified. If the scan determines that there are no significant environmental implications, the decision is documented and the SEA process is considered complete.

If the scan determines that significant environmental implications will result, or if there is a high level of uncertainty or risk associated with the outcome, then more detailed analysis of the environmental effects is conducted through a detailed SEA. A detailed SEA is drafted by the Team Lead using Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Guide on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals - Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) with guidance from the SEA Coordinator.

Public Statements

The Guidelines for implementing the Cabinet Directive require departments to prepare a public statement of environmental effects when a detailed SEA has been conducted.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Public Statements