How does ABA differ from the cumulative effects projects undertaken by the Provincial Environmental Assessment Office?

They are not exclusive but they do meet different needs on different scales.

The Environmental Assessment Office ensures proposed major projects meet provincial environmental, economic and social goals, and the interests and concerns of B.C.’s families, businesses, communities and First Nations are considered in each assessment. The Environmental Assessment Office evaluates proposed projects that are reviewable under the Environmental Assessment Act for potential adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects and verifies and enforces compliance with the conditions of environmental assessment certificates. The projects subject to review are generally those with a higher potential for adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage or health effects.

The ABA framework was developed to be an ongoing component of permitting decisions within the Commission; it had to be implementable so that the concerns about cumulative effects could be more readily addressed. Adjustments in current permitting/authorization processes, additional data and new GIS (Geographic Information System) tools were required, and the stakeholder consultation critical to implementation success was needed.

ABA is designed to be adaptable so that when changes to legislation/policy are introduced, or existing values/objectives are modified, the Commission can easily introduce the changes to a system that is operating, and understood, accepted and supported by all involved. New additional environmental / cultural considerations can be added to the analysis when they are identified and provided sufficient spatial data exists and can be incorporated.