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From the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to the Montreal Port Authority re: Non-Conformity of the Environmental Impact Statement

Agence canadienne d'évaluation environnementale
901-1550, ave d'Estimauville
Québec (Québec) G1J 0C1

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
901-1550 d'Estimauville Avenue
Quebec, QC G1J 0C1

Québec city, November 17, 2017

BY EMAIL

Claude Deschambault
Montreal Port Authority
2100 Pierre-Dupuy Avenue, Wing 1
Montréal, QC H3C 3R5

SUBJECT: Environmental Impact Statement for the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project – non-compliance with the guidelines and missing information

Dear Mr. Deschambault:

On October 12, 2017, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) received the environmental impact statement (impact statement) for the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project (the project) prepared by the Montréal Port Authority.

After conducting a review of the compliance of the EIS with the guidelines for the preparation of the project EIS (guidelines), the Agency, in collaboration with the environmental assessment technical committee, determined that the EIS was incomplete and did not meet certain requirements set out in the guidelines. Certain information is essential in order to begin the technical analysis of the EIS. The information and clarifications requested in the following pages as well as all of the missing documents identified in this letter must be provided. The EIS, including the mitigation measures and residual effects, must be adjusted based on the new information you will provide. Justification must be presented if no information is provided for one or more of the elements requested in this letter.

Below is a list of the sections of the Agency's guidelines in connection with which further information is required in order for the EIS analysis to begin. It is recommended that you refer to the description of the sections in the guidelines for details concerning the information requested.

The examples provided in this request for information are not exhaustive and are provided for guidance purposes only. All relevant information that would address the elements noted in this request must be provided.

Missing documents

The following documents referred to in the impact statement must be provided:

QUALITAS INC. 2010. Geotechnical Study - Container Transfer Terminals at Contrecoeur Site - Contrecoeur, Quebec, 22 p. and annexes. (G10144-rap-2)

LVM, 2012. Environmental and Geotechnical Characterization of Soils and Groundwater - Contrecoeur Container Terminal Future, Final Report to the Montreal Port Authority. 43 p. and annexes. (024-P-00005154-0-01-004-HG-R-0100-00)

Missing information in connection with Part 1 of the guidelines – Background

Section 4.5 Summary of the Environmental Impact Statement

  • The impact study summaries in French and in English will have to be corrected by considering the elements provided in response to this request for information, where relevant.

Missing information in connection with Part 2 of the guidelines – content of the environmental impact statement

Section 2.2 Alternatives to the Project

On November 9, 2017, the Agency received an email from the Montréal Port Authority in which it states that variant 1 concerning the crossing of route 132 by a railway bridge is no longer an option being considered.

This information must be supported by a detailed analysis of variant 1 that allows this decision to be properly understood. In this context, the proponent must review the variants analysis regarding the development of road lanes and railway for variants 1 and 2:

  • By explaining the criteria determining technical, economic and environmental feasibility of variants 1 and 2.
  • By assessing the environmental effects as defined in section 5 of the CEAA for variants 1 and 2.
  • By showing that the following criteria have been taken into consideration in the analysis of variants 1 and 2:
    • show how project encroachment has been minimized in both the aquatic and terrestrial environments;
    • how habitat destruction in aquatic or wetland environments is avoided, or minimized, and, as a last resort, compensated for;
    • how the management of soils and sediments in terrestrial environments, outside of federal land, will take into account Quebec's Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Sites Policy,[1] and on federal land, the Canadian Soil Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Environmental and Human Health.[2]

Section 3.1 Project components

As mentioned in section 2.2, the impact statement must describe variants 1 and 2 regarding the development of the road lanes and railway by presenting all of the activities, development, construction and equipment planned during the various project phases, as well as for the temporary, permanent and associated development, facilities and infrastructure.

Section 3.2 Project activities

In the event that variant 1 is still an option being considered, the following elements must also be documented:

As mentioned in section 2.2, the impact statement must describe variants 1 and 2 regarding the development of road lanes and railway by presenting all of the activities, development, construction and equipment planned during the various project phases, as well as for the temporary, permanent and associated development, facilities and infrastructure.

Section 5 First Nations Engagement and Concerns

The impact statement must:

  • Describe the specific suggestions of the Mohawks of Kahnawake and Kanesatake, the Abénakis of Odanak and Wôlinak, and the Huron-Wendat to mitigate potential negative impacts of changes to the environment on First Nations or on established or potential aboriginal and treaty rights;
  • Present the comments of the Mohawks of Kahnawake and Kanesatake, the Abénakis of Odanak and Wôlinak, and the Huron-Wendat regarding the effectiveness of mitigation or accommodation measures.

Section 6.3.4 Other valued components that may be affected as a result of a federal decision or due to effects on federal lands, another province or outside Canada

Human environment (including First Nations referred to in section 6.3.4)

  • Describe the effects of the Project on resources (fish, wildlife, birds, plants or other natural resources) used for recreational or commercial purposes (for example, hunting, fishing, trapping);
  • Describe the effects of the Project on human health associated with air quality, potential contamination of food resources in the area, exposure to light and noise, and drinking water quality.
  • Describe the effects of the Project on the visual environment and the effects that changes to the aesthetic quality of the landscape might have on businesses that rely on the area's aesthetic and recreational attractions.

Section 6.6 Other Effects to Take into Account

Section 6.6.2 Effects of Potential Accidents and Malfunctions

The impact statement must:

  • Identify and describe the risks of potential accidents and malfunctions associated with all phases of the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project (construction, operation).
  • Take into account the risks associated with marine transport within the administrative limits of the Montréal Port Authority. In particular, document the risks of hydrocarbon spills from ships and the potential environmental impact caused by them.
  • Identify and describe (using maps) all the sensitive elements and zones of the area, in particular the components listed in section 5 of the CEAA 2012 that are at risk of being affected by accidents and malfunctions, including those associated with marine transport.
  • Determine the consequences of accidents and malfunctions on these sensitive elements and zones, as well as the protective or mitigation measures to implement in order to reduce the risks or effects of accidents and malfunctions, including those associated with marine transport.
  • Modify the risk analysis further to the review of the effects of potential accidents and malfunctions associated with the project, as well as the review of sensitive elements and zones in the environment, in particular the environmental effects defined in section 5 of the CEAA 2012.
  • Provide more information on the scope of accidents, including the quantity, mechanism, rate, nature and characteristics of contaminants and other materials likely to be discharged into the environment in the event of an accident or malfunction.
  • Show how the proponent is prepared to respond to emergencies resulting from accidents and malfunctions in order to reduce the effects on the environment, in particular the environmental effects defined in section 5.

Section 6.6.3 Cumulative effects assessment

Section 7.6 of the EIS describes the methodology that the proponent used to assess the negative effects on the components for which it was determined that there would be residual effects. As mentioned in the EIS, the proponent referred to the Agency's Operational Policy Statement on cumulative effects (Assessment of Cumulative Effects Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012)).

However, the spatial scales that have been determined for each of the Valued Components (VCs) do not allow for meaningful analysis of cumulative effects on VCs. It is clearly stated in the Agency's Operational Policy Statement that the level of effort put into setting spatial boundaries must be sufficient to allow for full consideration of the environmental effects acting on a VC from all physical activities, and for the justification of the spatial boundaries in relation to each VC.

There is no lower temporal boundary presented regarding fish and fish habitat. This limit should be able to encompass the primary past activities that had an impact on fish habitat. It is important to identify the past activities that had an impact on fish habitat and not limit the analysis to the construction and activities under way and in the future. This aspect is particularly important to describe for reasons including making the shoreline more artificial, which resulted in the disappearance of grass beds of interest to the copper redhorse. In this regard, the exercise should take place over a spatial boundary larger than the property of the Port of Montréal at Contrecoeur, namely the Montréal-Sorel fluvial section.

This review on the spatial and temporal boundaries must also be done for the other components, in particular air quality, wetlands, birds and bird habitat, and special status species.

To allow for the analysis of the cumulative effects on the Valued Components, the impact statement must:

  • Identify and justify the spatial and temporal boundaries for the cumulative effect assessment for each VC selected. The boundaries for the cumulative effects assessments will generally be different for different VCs considered. These cumulative effects boundaries will also generally be larger than the boundaries for the corresponding project effects
  • Identify the sources of potential cumulative effects. Specify other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out that could cause effects on each selected VC within the boundaries defined, and whose effects would act in combination with the residual effects of the project.

Please forward the information requested by the same means as the impact statement was sent. If you would like clarifications regarding this request for information, please contact me by phone at 418-648-2561 or by email at alain.bourgeois@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

Sincerely,

<Original signed by>

Alain Bourgeois
Project Manager - Quebec

c.c. Annie Bélanger, ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Gontrand Pouliot, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Suzie Thibodeau, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Catherine Gaudet, Transport Canada
Étienne Frenette, Health Canada
John Woodward, Canadian Transportation Agency
Martin Blouin, Canadian Coast Guard
Patricia Hébert, Laurentian Pilotage Authority
Jennifer Dorr, Natural Resources Canada


[1] See the website of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques: http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/sol/inter_en.htm http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/sol/terrains/politique/

[2] See the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment website: http://ceqg-rcqe.ccme.ca/en/index.html

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