Public participation is the most effective way the NIRB can become aware of the values affected by a proposed project. Effective participation allows for an open and balanced process that strengthens the quality of an impact assessment and informs decision-making, resulting in better decisions and better projects. In screening a project proposal to determine whether it requires a full environmental review, the NIRB must also determine whether a project will cause significant public concern; this is determined, in part, by the feedback received during the screening process.
The NIRB considers the potential ecosystemic impacts (e.g. land, air, water, fish and wildlife) and potential socio-economic impacts (e.g. health and well-being of people and communities) of proposed projects to determine whether a project has the potential to significantly adversely affect the environment. In order for your comments to be most useful to the NIRB, you will need to outline all the ecosystemic and socio-economic values you deem important and explain how these values may be affected by a proposed project.
How are comments considered in an assessment?
Any information shared by interested persons and the public will be given full and fair consideration in an assessment conducted by the NIRB. This means it will be added to, and compared with, all other views and information received during the assessment. The NIRB uses a variety of tools in considering the relevance, weight and significance of information provided. Information collected during an assessment can influence where the assessment is focused and the outcome of the determination and associated recommendations issued at the conclusion of the assessment.
In addition to the opportunity to submit written comments to the NIRB for consideration, throughout NIRB Reviews and ongoing Monitoring Programs there are many opportunities for in-person participation through public meetings, information sessions, community roundtables, workshops and public hearings. The NIRB regularly hosts such events in communities that are potentially-affected by a proposed project and encourages the public to attend and participate. All NIRB meetings are advertised well in advance and provide for simultaneous interpretation to ensure everyone can be heard and understood.