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Bulk Transmission Canada Biological Resource Assessment Overview (12)

Information current as of 2019
In Canada, a bulk transmission developer may need to comply with federal, territorial and/or provincial requirements if the proposed project may have an impact on biological resources including protected flora and fauna as well as impacts on their habitat.

Vegetation and topsoil removal during project construction, including the development of associated access roads, parking areas, and substations, can lead to loss of wildlife habitat, reduction in plant diversity, potential for increased erosion and the potential for the introduction of invasive or noxious weeds. Indirect impacts to vegetation could increase deposition of dust, spread of invasive or noxious weeds, and the increased potential of wildfires. In addition, adverse impacts to wildlife could occur during construction from:

  • Erosion and runoff;
  • Fugitive dust;
  • Noise;
  • Introduction and spread of invasive vegetation;
  • Modification, fragmentation, and reduction of habitat;
  • Exposure to contaminants; and
  • Interference with behavior activities.

Wildlife is most affected by habitat reduction within the project site, access roads, canals, and transmission rights-of-way. Wildlife within surrounding habitats might also be affected if the construction activity (and associated noise) disturbs normal behaviors, such as feeding and reproduction.

Typically, developers in Canada must consider: species listed under the federal Canada – Species at Risk Act, S.C. 2002, c. 29, or designated as “candidates” for federal listing; migratory birds protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act; and any protected habitat. These species are protected because they offer rare qualities or adaptations that complete the native ecosystem.

Territorial/provincial level protections may be even more stringent, protecting species and habitat not protected under federal law. It is critical to consult with area experts early in order to determine whether a conflict with protected biological resources can be avoided by choosing an alternative site for development. It may also be helpful to determine a time of year for development that does not conflict with wildlife.

Canada Biological Resource Assessment Overview Process

12.1 to 12.2 – Are there Migratory Birds Present in the Project Area?

In Canada, a bulk transmission developer may need an authorization or permit from the Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as local government, to identify and mitigate any activities associated with a project that may disturb, harm or kill migratory birds, nests or eggs. For more information, see:

Canada Migratory Bird Convention Act Compliance:

12.3 to 12.4 – Are There Any Protected Species Present in the Project Area?

In Canada, a bulk transmission developer may need a Species at Risk Act Permit from either Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and/or Environment and Climate Change Canada for projects that may "kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a wildlife species that is listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species." S.C. 2002, c. 29, ss. 32(1), 73(1). For more information see:

Species at Risk Act Permit:

12.5 to 12.7 – Does the Project Require Other Provincial or Territorial Approval?

A bulk transmission developer may need to obtain a number of provincial or territorial level approvals regarding biological resources and their habitat. The developer should contact the provincial or territorial government entity with jurisdiction to determine what approvals may be needed for the proposed transmission project.

Currently, the RAPID Toolkit does not have provincial or territorial specific information regarding biological resource protection approvals for bulk transmission projects.