Environmental Integration Process – Screening Tool
Please note: this page was updated in April, 2016.
Environmental screening is required for all of Global Affairs Canada’s international development assistance initiatives. This screening tool is to be used by the Department's development staff and partners to determine the depth of environmental analysis that is required for an initiative. The categories are based on the initiative's potential environmental opportunities and risks, taking into account the sector, context, and scale. For partners, this tool is intended to serve as a guide; the final category determination is made by Global Affairs Canada.
User notes: The category definitions are used to screen the initiative (the examples are provided for illustrative purposes only). Categories C and D are used to screen out initiatives that are exempt from further environmental analysis. If an initiative's details change in the future, further analysis may be required and/or the category may be modified.
Category A — High Environmental Risk
Initiatives involving sectors and activities with potentially high environmental risk.
Category A initiatives require in-depth environmental analysis.
Note: The Project Officer at Global Affairs Canada is required to consult with a departmental Environment Specialist on category A initiatives.
Examples of category A initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Construction, abandonment, or decommissioning of large-scale infrastructure
- Large buildings (e.g. universities, hospitals, industrial facilities)
- Housing developments
- Transportation infrastructure (e.g. roads, railways, airports, ports, bridges)
- Large-scale water resources management
- Water supply or management systems (e.g. reservoirs, irrigation, dams, drainage, flood control)
- Wastewater treatment plants
- Sewage systems
- Watershed / river basin management
- Large-scale changes in land use (e.g. non-food crops, deforestation, clearing of vegetation, land-use planning)
- Large-scale waste management systems (e.g. domestic, biomedical, electronic, industrial)
- Large-scale industrial or manufacturing activities
- Large-scale food production (e.g. agriculture, livestock/animal husbandry, agro-industries, food processing, fisheries, aqua- or mariculture)
- Medium- or large-scale energy production, supply or transmission (e.g. wind or solar farm, dams, power plant, bioenergy)
- Extractive sector activities (e.g. mining, oil, gas, quarries)
- Medium- or large-scale procurement, use, storage, or disposal of hazardous or toxic substances (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers, petrochemicals)
- Medium- or large-scale population relocation or resettlement
- Activities that could have negative effects on environmentally sensitive or protected areas
- Areas containing vulnerable natural features (e.g. coral reefs, mangrove forests, tropical forests)
- Ecosystems containing plant or animal species at risk, or critical biodiversity or habitat
- National parks, areas protected by law or regulation (international, national or municipal laws, regulations or conventions).
Category B — Low or Moderate Environmental Risk or Any Environmental Opportunity
Initiatives involving sectors and activities with potential low to moderate environmental risk or any environmental opportunity. Category B represents the majority of Global Affairs Canada-funded international development assistance initiatives.
Category B initiatives require environmental analysis, the depth of which is commensurate with the initiative's environmental significance.
Note: The Project Officer at Global Affairs Canada is required to consult with a departmental Environment Specialist on category B initiatives.
Examples of Category B initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Construction, repurposing, operation, expansion, abandonment, or decommissioning of small- or medium-scale infrastructure
- School houses
- Storage facilities
- Small- or medium-scale water resources management
- Small- or medium-scale changes in land use
- Small- or medium-scale food production (e.g. agriculture, livestock/animal husbandry, agro-industries, food processing, fisheries, aqua- or mariculture)
- Small- or medium-scale forestry (e.g. nurseries, harvesting, reforestation)
- Small-scale energy production
- Economic development (e.g. micro, small, and medium enterprises development; microfinance; trade; investment)
- Small- or medium-scale waste management (e.g. domestic, biomedical, electronic)
- Small-scale procurement, use, storage, or disposal of hazardous or toxic substances (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers, petrochemicals)
- Capacity building, training, extension services related to environment, natural resources, or infrastructure
- Humanitarian assistance after initial emergency period (e.g. in response to a protracted humanitarian crisis, reconstruction and rehabilitation during recovery phase, disaster prevention and preparedness) (unless in category C)
- Small-scale population relocation or resettlement
- Governance or human rights related to environment, natural resources, infrastructure, economic development
- Education (unless in category C)
- Public engagement or awareness-raising.
Category C — Negligible Environmental Risk or Opportunity
Initiatives involving sectors and activities with negligible environmental risk or opportunity. Category C applies only to initiatives that focus solely on the following specific sectors or activities, are not related to sectors or activities identified in category A or B, and include no physical works or physical activities related to physical worksFootnote 1:
- Governance (e.g. election observation, anti-corruption)
- Human rights
- Child protection
- Basic skills for employment (e.g. literacy, numeracy, financial literacy, communication skills)
- Social safety nets (e.g. cash transfers or fee waivers for healthcare, education, or meeting basic needs)
- Provision of non-food items for humanitarian assistance (e.g. blankets, household kits)
- Conferences, meetings, seminars, and temporary exhibitions
- Appointments to boards, committees and councils
- Information management systems.
Category C initiatives may proceed without further environmental analysis.
Note: Global Affairs Canada is not required to consult with its environment specialists on category C initiatives listed above. However the Department may determine that category C applies to initiatives other than those listed, based on a preliminary environmental analysis by its environment specialists.
Category D — Emergency
Initiatives carried out in response to an emergencyFootnote 2.
Emergency is defined according to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, where "carrying out the initiative without delay is in the interest of preventing damage to property or the environment, or is in the interest of public health and safety."
Category D initiatives may proceed without further environmental analysis, although international best practices are recommended (e.g. Rapid Environmental Assessment, Sphere Minimum Standards for Humanitarian Response).
Initiatives undertaken after the initial emergency period (e.g. in response to a protracted humanitarian crisis, reconstruction and rehabilitation during the recovery phase, or disaster prevention and preparedness) are not considered category D and do require environmental analysis.
Note: The Project Officer at Global Affairs Canada is required to seek confirmation by a departmental Environment Specialist on category D initiatives. Further consultation with an Environment Specialist on the project is optional.
Examples of Category D initiatives pertain, but are not limited, to humanitarian assistance in immediate response to:
- A rapid onset emergency such as a natural disaster (e.g. catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, flooding)
- An emergency conflict situation
- The sudden deterioration of a complex emergency.
- Footnote 1
Physical work is defined as anything that has been or will be constructed (human-made) and has a fixed location. Examples include a bridge, building, pipeline or aquaculture pond. Natural water bodies, airplanes and ships at sea are not physical works.
Physical activity is defined as an activity in the life cycle of a physical work and includes construction, expansion, operation, decommissioning and abandonment.
- Footnote 2
For Global Affairs Canada staff applying the Cabinet Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment to policy, plan and program proposals, emergency is defined as “proposals prepared in response to a clear and immediate emergency where time is insufficient to undertake a strategic environmental assessment” (ministers are responsible for determining the existence of an emergency).
- Date Modified: