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Environmental assessments

Environmental assessments (EA) of trade negotiations are an important decision-making tool for promoting sustainable development. Environmental assessments of trade negotiations contribute to more open decision-making within the federal government by engaging representatives from other levels of government, the public, the private sector and non-governmental organizations in this process. Environmental assessments also improve overall policy coherence at the national level by assisting decision-makers to understand environmental implications of trade policy.

Environmental Assessments of trade negotiations conducted to date can be found in the List of Environmental Assessments.

Framework for environmental assessments

Consistent with the Government of Canada's strong commitment to sustainable development, the 1999 Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (Directive) outlines ministers’ expectations for strategic environmental assessment of policy, plan and program proposals. In accordance with the Cabinet Directive, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada developed the Framework for Conducting Environmental Assessments of Trade Negotiations (Framework) in 2001, which established the process and analytical requirements for conducting assessments and systematically identify and evaluate the potential environmental impacts of an initiative. The 2001 Framework was revised in 2020 and has now been superseded by the Environmental Assessments of Trade Agreements: Process and Revised Framework. The revised Framework was developed following consultation across the department and government, Provincial and Territorial governments (PTs), Indigenous peoples, the Environmental Assessment Advisory Group (EAAG), as well as domestic and international experts. Changes to the revised EA Framework include ensuring that the new Framework is consistent with 2010 Cabinet Directive, Canada’s inclusive approach to trade, and supports progress on Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030.

Key objectives:

  • to assist Canadian negotiators to integrate environmental considerations into the negotiating process by providing information on the environmental impacts of the proposed trade agreement; and
  • to address public concerns by documenting how environmental factors are being considered in the course of trade negotiations.

Consultations with Canadians

Environmental protection is a core Canadian value and priority and all Canadians are welcome to provide input in the development of Canada's environmental policy and trade agenda. Public input will continue to be sought by the Government when undertaking environmental assessments of trade negotiations and official notices calling for public input will be announced in the Canada Gazette and/or Global Affairs Canada's Consultations page.

Canadians are invited to submit their comments. If you have questions about the environmental assessment process, contact us.

For further information on the Revised EA Framework, please contact:
The Trade Agreements Secretariat (TCT)
Global Affairs Canada
111 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2
or by e-mail at:

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