EIA PROJECTS AND BEST PRACTICES
Here are some resources that you may find useful as you pursue your particular impact assessment interests. We hope that they will be of some value, not only to our members and friends in Ontario, but to people with similar interests in other parts of Canada, and indeed, other parts of the world.
Impact assessment is both interdisciplinary and interjurisdictional in nature. Moreover, to be relevant, it must involve all affected stakeholders, and clearly influence decisions that impact on the environment, human health, culture, and social and economic well-being. We have tried to reflect this philosophy in the resources we have provided on this webpage.
Our emphasis is based on resources that can be accessed online. We envision these as falling into three broad categories:
1. EIA Projects and Best Practices that show possible steps to the future
2. online publications related to impact assessment topics of a timely nature
3. links to access sources and databases of links; aboriginal organizations and associations; non-governmental organizations and associations; government and government-supported institutions; and academic and research institutions. These are sorted into international, national and sub-national categories. We recognize that there are inherent limitations in an effort of this type made by unpaid volunteers. Nevertheless, we hope that this webpage becomes a starting point and catalyst for a constantly evolving and improving resource for the EA community. To make this happen we will need the help of our loyal visitors to this webpage. We would particularly like to address some of the issues noted below:
We need models and success stories. These, more than all the theory and codes of good practice that may be devised, are the beacons to the future. We sincerely hope that our modest start is not indicative of a failure of impact assessment to really make a difference. Please prove it to be otherwise! The resource material tends to focus on biophysical impacts, while the field of impact assessment increasingly addresses impacts on health, culture, and social and economic well-being to an equal or even greater extent. We need more links to these diverse aspects of IA. Moreover, we require more emphasis on urban contexts for impact assessment.
Aboriginal perspectives need to be reflected in a more substantive way in impact assessment.
Impact assessment is increasingly becoming a more transparent "bottom up", stakeholder-driven process that goes directly to the core of decision-making, rather than a "top down" process, with an uncertain effect on decision-making, administered by faceless bureaucrats. We need more links to resources tapping into the "grass-roots", local initiative aspects of impact assessment. Finally, impact assessment must break out of its project-specific straight-jacket, and become a tool for affecting strategic decisions made by private and public sector organizations. This is perhaps the biggest challenge faced by the impact assessment community if it is to have any effect on the achievement of a truly sustainable future. In this regard, making "impact assessment thinking" integral to all human activity, rather than some strangely separate process, is a key to a more sustainable future. These are aspects of impact assessment where there is a great need for ideas and examples to stimulate creative new approaches.
We need to share information on resources and links that shed light on important evolutionary developments in impact assessment, in Ontario, in other parts of Canada, and throughout the world.