Project and environment review applicant

Impact Assessment Act and the Project and Environmental Review process

The Impact Assessment Act came into effect on August 28, 2019. To meet the requirements under the act, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has revised the Project and Environmental Review process for Category A and B project permits.

The Act includes a requirement that the port authority post information, in both official languages, about certain project types on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry website for 30 calendar days. To meet that requirement, the port authority plans to review all of those project types through our Category B, C, or D review processes.

Some project types that were formerly reviewed through the Category A process now follow the Category B process. For example, new pile installation projects, removal of small in-water infrastructure such as piles or docks, and maintenance dredging at docks, wharfs, and berths. This requirement means that the port authority will post information about Category B projects, which require a determination under the Act, to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry website and this information will also be posted on the port authority’s website.

With the Impact Assessment Act the government has also released a Ministerial Order  that designates classes of projects that have insignificant adverse effects and do not require a determination under the Act. The port authority has revised the project types that are excluded from the Project and Environmental Review process and that follow the Category A and B review process to better align with the requirements of the Act. There are several project types in the Works and Activities Exclusion List and some projects have been moved from Category B to Category A reviews.

Please refer to the Works and Activities Exclusion List and PER Categories document for this additional information.

Category A reviews

The federal government has established a list of project types with only insignificant adverse environmental effects which enables the port authority to continue to review Category A projects. These Category A projects will not need to be posted to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry. Through our Category A review the port authority accounts for any local considerations and to ensure projects meet the conditions listed in the Ministerial Order. For example, the port authority will review geotechnical and environmental drilling programs as Category A projects to confirm that drilling locations are within an existing lease or license area, avoid the navigation channel, avoid municipal infrastructure, and do not impact archeological resources or species at risk.

There is now the ability for applicants to ‘bundle’ Category A applications together.

Updated Documents

The following is a list of documents that have been updated to reflect the changes listed above. Please visit our guidelines page for the latest versions of these documents:

  • Category A permit bundling
  • Project and Environmental Review application guide
  • Project and Environmental Review categories
  • Works and activities exclusion list
  • Public engagement guidelines

If you have questions about these updates to the Project and Environmental Review process, please contact the port authority by email or call 604.665.9047.

If you are a potential applicant and want to learn more about our Project and Environmental Review process, please review:

Project categories

Reviews of proposed projects under the PER process are broadly separated into four project categories: A, B, C and D. The lettered categories range in complexity with Category A being the least complex and D being the most complex. For full details of the project categories, please consult the guidelines.

Review process

There are three main phases and generally six process steps in  the port authority’s Project and Environmental Review process. Applicable process steps will differ by project category:

Project Category A
Project Category B
Process Category C
Project Category D

For full details of the review process steps, please consult the PER Application Guide.

Project Permit application

Before submitting an application, it is recommended to review the PER application guide, project categories list, works and activities exclusion list, and guiding principles documents available on the guidelines page.

A preliminary project review is required for Category C or D projects. Applicants may also request a preliminary review of a Category B project. Preliminary reviews are not required for Category A projects. Submit a request for a preliminary project review or a project permit application through our online portal. If you have any questions about either process, please call us at 604.665.9047 or email us.

Amendments and extensions

Proposed changes to a project’s design or scope, including changes to construction methods, permit conditions, practices reviewed as part of the Project and Environmental Review and permit validity dates, must be submitted to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority for consideration. Learn more about amendments and extensions.

Amendments and extensions may also require an environmental determination under the Canadian Impact Assessment Act, which includes a requirement to post a notice to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry website for a 30 calendar day public comment period.


Depending on the category of review, the applicant may be required to submit an application fee, documentation deposit and incur other expenses as part of the Project and Environmental Review process, including costs associated with technical reports and studies, and undertaking consultation activities and reporting. Learn more about fees.

Status of Project Permit applications

Review the current Project Permits that are in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Project and Environmental Review Process, and information on Project Permits recently issued. Learn more about the status of Project Permit applications.