Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and ResourcesENERGY, MINES AND RESOURCES (EMR)ASSESSMENT – REGULATORY GUIDE:A guide to explain how EMR’s regulatory regime works with theassessment process under the Yukon Environmental andSocio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA)

CONTENTSIntroduction. 1How to Use this Guide. 2Frequently Asked Questions. 3General Questions . 3Resource Sector Specific Questions . 9Regulatory – Assessment Processes . 13Agriculture . 14Grazing Lease and Assessment Process . 14Land Application and Assessment Process . 16Forestry . 18Timber Permitting and Assessment Process. 18Lands . 20Land Disposition and Assessment Process . 20Land Use Permitting and Assessment Process . 22Minerals . 24Class 2 Notification and Assessment Process . 24Class 3 or 4 Mining Land Use Permitting and Assessment Process . 26Oil and Gas . 28Licensing and Assessment Process . 28Contacts. 30Key YESAA References . 32

NOTICEThis guide presents information about the YESAA assessment process and EMR’sregulatory processes in a plain language format for the purpose of public education andassistance. For a full understanding of the legal requirements of the assessment andregulatory processes for individual projects, please consult the Yukon Environmental andSocio-economic Assessment Act, its regulations and rules as well as relevant legislationwhich pertains to the activity to be undertaken.

INTRODUCTIONAnyone wishing to undertake an activity or a project which uses or affects land, water or other naturalresources in the Yukon is likely to require a government permit or license and, in many cases, anenvironmental and socio-economic effects assessment of the activity. The requirement for permits orlicenses is part of the regulatory regime and is the responsibility of government. The requirement foran environmental and socio-economic effects assessment is part of the development assessmentprocess which is undertaken by assessors independent of government.The majority of these permits or licenses are issued by the Yukon government, particularly theDepartment of Energy, Mines and Resources. Some permits or licenses are issued by the federalgovernment and self-governing First Nations, depending on the location and nature of the activity orproject. Although the regulatory and development assessment regimes are somewhat integrated, theyare distinct processes.Development Assessment in the YukonYESAA stands for the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, new federallegislation which is now fully in effect in the Yukon. YESAA creates a new development assessmentprocess for the Yukon. It has replaced the Yukon Environmental Assessment Act and the CanadianEnvironmental Assessment Act.The new legislation provides for a single environmental and socio-economic assessment processfor projects under federal, territorial or First Nation jurisdiction. This assessment is part of the overallreview and approval process that will apply to development activities such as mining, oil and gasexploration, agriculture, timber cutting and road building.The AssessorsAssessments formerly undertaken by the Yukon government are now conducted by the arms-lengthYukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) or one of its six DesignatedOffices located throughout the Yukon. These YESAA assessors must conduct their assessments withinspecific time lines. As part of the assessment, they seek input from government and First Nationsand provide opportunities for the public to provide comments on proposed projects. The assessmentprocess basically consists of identifying the environmental and socio-economic effects of a projectand appropriate mitigation before providing a recommendation to the Decision Body (government)on whether a project should proceed. The YESAB has an on-line public registry that is accessibleto anyone who has access to a computer with a connection to the internet. This registry contains allinformation related to YESAA assessments. To access the registry, visit: A completehard copy document registry is also maintained in Whitehorse and is accessible to the public.Government’s roleOnce the Yukon government reviews the recommendations from the assessor, it will then decidewhether to accept, reject or vary the assessment recommendation and state this decision in a DecisionDocument. The Yukon government continues to be the decision maker and to be responsible forregulating and enforcing permits and licenses for development projects which fall under its legislatedauthority.1

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDEThis guide was prepared by the Yukon government’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources(EMR) to assist proponents and the public in understanding how EMR’s processes for regulating theuse of natural resources in the Yukon relate to the development assessment process under YESAA.It is not meant to be an exhaustive account of all steps in the process but it provides a simplifiedoverview of how the regulatory processes for land based activities in the agriculture, forestry, lands,minerals and oil and gas sectors are integrated with the YESAA process.The first part consists of “Frequently Asked Questions,” starting with general and ending with resourcesector specific questions. The second part outlines the overall regulatory and assessment steps(indicated both in a list and on a flowchart) for each of EMR’s regulated sectors (agriculture, forestry,lands, minerals and oil and gas).In simple terms, the regulatory process is led by the regulator and generally begins with an applicationphase where the proponent applies for a permit or license to undertake a regulated activity. Theregulator then reviews the application to see whether it is complete and meets certain regulatoryrequirements. The regulatory phase ends with the regulator either issuing the proponent a permit orlicense or rejecting the proponent’s application. Steps on the left side of the flowcharts are part of theregulatory process.The development assessment process is undertaken by the YESAA assessors. The assessmentprocess begins with an application phase where the proponent applies for an assessment of aproposed activity or project. The assessor, with input from government and the public, undertakesan assessment of the project and issues an assessment report which includes a recommendationon whether the project should proceed and if so, with certain terms and conditions. The assessmentphase ends with the Decision Body (government) deciding whether to accept, reject or vary theassessor’s recommendation. Steps on the right side of the flowcharts denote the assessment process.Although these two processes are subject to different legislation and are administered by separatebodies, they are combined in this document to provide the reader with an overall sense of how aproject would proceed from beginning to end.To determine your regulatory requirements, please talk with your government regulator beforesubmitting your project proposal to the YESAA assessor. For all assessment-related questions,contact the YESAB or the Designated Office near you. Refer to pages 30-31 for contactinformation. Key YESAA references are also provided at the end of the document.2

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSGENERAL QUESTIONSNew Assessment Process1.What’s changed now that YESAA is in effect? Assessments are undertaken by independent entities (YESAB and its Designated Offices)rather than government agencies.The activities which were subject to environmental assessment before and a few additionalactivities are subject to assessment under YESAA.Assessments under YESAA address socioeconomic as well as environmental effects.Assessments under YESAA provide for the guaranteed participation of First Nations.YESAA provides a single assessment process that applies to the entire Yukon and to allgovernments, regardless of their jurisdiction.YESAA provides for timelines for various stages of the assessment process, including thedecision stage.Some projects will take longer to assess than before whereas others will take less time.Assessments will be more transparent and will include written reasons for actions anddecisions.The majority of assessments will be undertaken in six Designated Offices located in Dawson,Haines Junction, Mayo, Teslin, Watson Lake and Whitehorse.An online registry is the main tool used to disseminate information and receive input on projectassessments.The type of activities which require an assessment are listed in a single regulation (the“Assessable Activities, Exceptions and Executive Committee Projects Regulations”) ratherthan three regulations, which was the case under each the federal Canadian EnvironmentalAssessment Act and the territorial Environmental Assessment Act.Activities Requiring Assessment2.Does my proposed activity require an assessment?That depends on whether the activity you are proposing is included and not exempt under YESAAand its “Assessable Activities Regulation”.Yukon government’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR) can help youdetermine whether your proposed project requires an assessment under YESAA.3.Who determines whether my proposed activity requires an assessment?The government which has authority over your proposed activity will determine whether theactivity requires an assessment.Contact EMR to see whether your activity is subject to assessment.3

4.Do I need an assessment each time I apply for a permit for my project?Not necessarily. If your activity already had a YESAA assessment and all you need is an additionalpermit or license, then you do not require another assessment.Contact EMR to see whether an assessment is required before your permit can be issued.Entry point5.Where do I go first?You should go to EMR first to fill out a permit or license application. Staff will discuss yourapplication with you and let you know if you need to apply for an assessment under YESAA. If anassessment is required, you will then need to apply to the appropriate YESAA assessor. Refer tothe section below (Assessment Application Process) for more information.Assessment Application Process6.Is there a separate YESAA assessment application form?Yes, for the majority of projects, i.e. for projects assessed by a Designated Office, the applicationform is called “Form 1”. You can view, download and fill out Form 1 online at,contact the YESAB office or any of EMR’s branches to get a copy.There is a different application format for larger projects which are assessed by the ExecutiveCommittee of the YESAB. Proponents of such projects can contact the YESAB in Whitehorse formore information on the assessment process, information requirements, and application processfor such projects.7.How do I get help to fill out the application form?To help you fill out the application form, contact the assessment staff directly at the YESAB ora local Designated Office and refer to the “Proponents Guide to Project Proposal Submission.”This guide is available at the YESAB office or any Designated Office or online at EMR submit my assessment application?No, you have to submit your YESAA application form to the appropriate YESAA assessor: thiswould be the local Designated Office for most projects. The YESAA assessor can assist you incompleting the form.9.Is there a fee to go through the development assessment process?No.4

The Assessment10. Who conducts the YESAA assessment?In most cases, the assessment will be undertaken and completed by staff in the DesignatedOffice responsible for conducting assessments in the district where your proposed project islocated. There are six Designated Offices located throughout the Yukon. For major projects, theassessment will be undertaken by the YESAB in Whitehorse.11. How do I keep track of projects that are being assessed?The YESAB Online Registry is the main tool used by proponents, First Nations, Decision Bodies,regulators and members of the public to participate in the assessment process. It is also designedso that the public can become aware of new assessments and track project proposals throughthe assessment process. It is accessible via the YESAB website at If I have an interest in the assessment, how do I submit my comments?Written submissions are the primary way to provide comments and views to an assessment.Written submissions can be posted to the YESAB Online Registry or delivered by hand, mail,fax or electronic communication to the appropriate Designated Office or the YESAB office inWhitehorse.Depending on the nature of the project, its potential for significant environmental and socioeconomic effects, and/or public interest, the YESAB or its Designated Offices may conductpublic meetings or hearings to provide an opportunity for interested persons to participate to aneven greater extent in the assessment. Opportunities such as these would be in addition to theopportunities to participate in assessments which are available (i.e. telephone, written, in personsubmission of views or information on a project).13. What is meant by conducting a socio-economic effects assessment of my project?Socio-economic effects assessment is an assessment that looks at the potential effects that aproposed activity may have on the economy, health, culture, traditions and lifestyles of Yukonersand on heritage resources. It then considers measures that could be used to eliminate or reduceany identified negative effects on people and communities. The YESAB is finalizing a guidebookfor assessors and proponents on socio-economic effects assessments. The Guide to DesignatedOffice Evaluations and Form 1 also provides information in this regard.14. Can I find out what people are saying about my project?Yes. You can sign onto the YESAB Online Registry or access the hard copy document registryand view all input which has been submitted during the assessment of your project.Questions on the assessment process should be directed to the YESAB or the appropriateDesignated Office.5

Regulatory Process15. When can I apply for my permit?For most permits issued by EMR, you should apply for your permit or license before applying foran assessment under YESAA.16. Do I still have to pay a fee for my permit?Yes, fees for regulatory permits and licenses remain the same.17. What happens to the regulatory process during the assessment?Most of the regulatory processes within EMR can and will happen concurrently with theassessment process, as long as no permit or license is issued before the assessment iscompleted and the Yukon government has issued its Decision Document for the project.18. How will the Yukon Water Board process work with YESAA?The Water Board will continue to perform its regulatory role and process as per the Waters Act.Assessments will be done by the appropriate YESAA assessor. The Water Board cannot issuea water license until a Decision Document for a project has been issued. However, componentsof the licensing process may be initiated prior to a Decision Document being issued. The Yukongovernment is working collaboratively with the Yukon Water Board and the YESAB to improve thecoordination and streamlining of the YESAA and water licensing processes.19. When do I get my license or permit?Once the Yukon government determines in its Decision Document, that the project may proceed,the permit or license may be issued shortly thereafter.Questions on the regulatory process should be directed to the relevant government regulator.Timelines20. How long will a YESAA assessment take?For projects assessed by a Designated Office, timelines will generally be up to 42 days (or less)and not greater than 103 days; this is followed by up to 30 days for a government decision.For projects assessed by the Executive Committee of the YESAB, timelines would generally be upto a year (or less) and not greater than 2.3 years (858 days), plus up to 60 days for a governmentdecision.Timelines may be extended by the assessor under certain circumstances.For more specific information on assessment timelines, refer to the YESAA website( and follow the links to the Rules. Process flowcharts are available there tooutline the assessment process steps and timelines.6

21. Who can ask for an extension of the assessment timelines?Anyone participating in the assessment process may ask for more time, but the decision toextend an assessment timeline is made by the assessor. The timelines for government to make itsdecision cannot be extended.22. Why would the assessor extend the assessment timelines?Assessment timelines might be extended if the assessment or project is complex, informationis missing, there is significant public interest or if government or the public needs more time toprovide input.23. What happens to regulatory timelines under YESAA?EMR’s two regulatory timelines (under Land Use Regulations and Mining Land Use Regulations)remain unchanged. Refer to questions under “Minerals” (on page 10-11) for more information onrecent amendments to Mining Land Use Regulations.24. How long is the process from the time I submit my regulatory application to when I receive mypermit/license?That entire process would be the total of the assessment timelines listed above plus the timerequired to draw up and issue the permit or license (this will vary depending on the permitor license applied for). For some projects, the overall timing will be longer than it was beforeYESAA; for other projects, the timing will be shorter. Proponents are encouraged to plan aheadand submit their applications early to ensure that their project can be approved in time to allowthem to undertake their project in the desired timeframe, particularly for proposals with seasonalconstraints.Questions on assessment timelines should be directed to the YESAB or the appropriateDesignated Office.Assessment Decision Making25. Who is the Decision Body?The Decision Body is the government with responsibility for the project either as a regulator, landauthority, a funder or the proponent. A Decision Body can be the Yukon government, a federalgovernment agency or a First Nation government and will vary for each project, depending onthe required authorizations and location of the project. The Decision Body is responsible forresponding to the assessor’s recommendation by issuing a Decision Document.26. What is a delegated Decision Body?Under YESAA, the Yukon government acts as a single Decision Body. This will be achievedthrough an internal well coordinated process involving all Yukon government departments. TheDecision Body responsibility has been delegated to specific departments and branches within theYukon government, depending on the type of project.7

27. How does the Yukon government decide who has the responsibility to make the decision on theproject?In general, the department or branch with the overall authority for the principal project is given thisresponsibility. For EMR, this means that agriculture projects will be delegated to the AgricultureBranch, forestry projects to the Forest Resources Branch, mineral projects to the MineralResources Branch and oil and gas projects to the Oil and Gas Management Branch.Questions on the decision phase of the assessment process should be directed to theappropriate Decision Body.Assessment – Regulatory Integration28. How are the assessment and regulatory processes being integrated: are they integrated orsequential?The assessment and regulatory processes are integrated to the extent possible. The Yukongovernment cannot issue an authorization for a project until it has issued a Decision Document.However, in EMR, the regulatory process is usually initiated prior to the assessment process andcontinues while the assessment is being conducted. Once the proponent contacts the regulatorand fills out the required regulatory application, he/she may proceed to the assessment process.Once the assessment is completed and government has issued a Decision Document, therequired permits can usually be issued shortly thereafter. EMR’s goal is to issue permits withindays rather than utilizing the full timelines provided in regulations. This overall integration isillustrated in the overall process flowcharts on pages 13-29 showing the regulatory steps on theleft and the assessment steps on the right.8

RESOURCE SECTOR SPECIFIC QUESTIONSAgriculture1.What types of agriculture projects are subject to assessment? Applications for acquiring agricultural land (building structures, clearing land)Irrigation projectsSome grazing leases: those which involve activities listed on the YESAA “Assessable ActivitiesRegulation” (e.g. building a fence or some other large structure or building an access road)Contact the Agriculture Branch to find out if your particular agricultural activity is subject toassessment under YESAA.2.What happens to LARC?Refer to “Lands” section below.Forestry1.What type of forestry projects are subject to assessment? Cutting trees or removing fallen or cut trees at a volume of more than 1000 cubic metersAny activity which requires a Yukon government Land Use Permit (e.g. medium to largecamps, off road use of heavy equipment, road building, etc.)Burning forest debris that has been mechanically piled, during fire seasonContact the Forest Management Branch to find out if your particular forestry activity issubject to assessment under YESAA.2.What do I have to do and who do I have to talk to in order to get a timber permit?The first thing you should do is contact EMR’s Forest Management Branch to find out what itsrequirements are. Branch staff will determine your regulatory requirements and whether yourproposed activity requires an assessment under YESAA. The branch will explain the various stepsin the process and provide you with the application forms you will need to obtain a timber permitand a YESAA assessment, if one is required.Lands1.What type of “lands” projects will require a YESAA assessment? Any activity which requires a Yukon government Land Use Permit (most activities onYukon land)Building a roadBuilding a structure for the purpose of recreation (commercial or public), touristaccommodation, telecommunications, trapping or game outfitting which require some form ofland dispositionMost industrial activities which would require some form of land disposition (e.g. an explosivesfactory, a smelter, a sawmill, a food or beverage processing facility of a certain size).Contact the Lands Branch to find out if your lands application is subject to assessmentunder YESAA.9

2.What happens to LARC?LARC, or the Lands Application Review Committee, no longer exists. Land applications whichrequire an assessment under YESAA will be assessed by a YESAA assessor. Stakeholders willbe able to provide their input directly to the assessment process. Land applications which arenot subject to a YESAA assessment will go through an internal EMR review process prior to adecision being made by EMR’s Lands Branch.Minerals1.What types of mining projects are subject to assessment under YESAA? Class 2, 3 and 4 mineral exploration activities (placer and quartz), as classified under theMining Land Use Regulations; Class 1 is exemptAll mines (placer and quartz)Contact your local Mining Lands District Office to find out if your mining project is subjectto assessment under YESAA.2.Will mineral staking have to be assessed?No, the staking of mineral claims is exempt from assessment under YESAA.3.How will YESAA work with Mining Land Use Class 2 notifications?The proponent will apply to the appropriate Designated Office which will assess the proposaland provide a recommendation to EMR’s Mineral Resources Branch. The branch will then issue aDecision Document on the project proposal. After receiving a copy of the Decision Document, theproponent will submit (to the appropriate Mining Lands district office) a Class 2 notification whichconforms to the contents of the Decision Document. This triggers the regulatory process and theChief of Mining Land Use will advise the proponent of the acceptance of the notification within theregulated 25 day timeline.4.How will Class 4 placer projects be dealt with?Class 4 placer activities continue to require an assessment, which is now done under YESAA.The regulatory process remains the same with an integrated application through the Yukon WaterBoard. As with other authorizations, the water license cannot be issued until after the DecisionDocument has been issued.5.What are the changes to the Mining Land Use Regulations?Under the revised regulation, Class 2 activities now require an assessment under YESAA prior tothe proponent applying to the regulator for a notification. There are also new activity thresholdsand new operating conditions which apply to all four classes of activities which make thestandards clearer.The new class criteria thresholds allow for more people in an exploration camp than before and,in some cases, allow people to move sampling equipment from one spot to another on claims.Individuals working on a mineral claim will require government approvals to build access roads.10

There are also clearer operating conditions for the removal and re-establishment of vegetativemat, erosion control, permafrost, trenching, protecting historic objects, handling solid waste, andhazardous substances, contingency plans for spills and fuel, use of vehicles, timber and brushcutting, drilling, and road, trail and off-road trail use.Contact your local Mining Lands District Office for more information on the changes to theMining Land Use Regulations.Oil and Gas1.What types of oil and gas projects are subject to assessment? exploration activities (e.g. seismic program)drilling of wellsgas processing plant and other facilitiespipelineoil refineryContact the Oil and Gas Management Branch to find out if your oil and gas project issubject to assessment under YESAA.2.At what level would these projects be assessed?Exploration, well drilling and other smaller scale projects would be assessed by the DesignatedOffice. Major projects such as large pipelines, large oil and gas processing plants would beassessed by the Executive Committee of the YESAB.3.How will YESAA work with the oil and gas rights disposition process?The issuance of oil and gas rights is not assessed under YESAA. However, most oil and gasactivities do require an assessment under YESAA.11


REGULATORY – ASSESSMENT PROCESSESList of AcronymsDBDecision BodyEMREnergy, Mines and Resources (Department of)FMBForest Management BranchLARCLands Application Review CommitteeYESAAYukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment ActYESABYukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment BoardYGYukon governmentColour CodesThe colours used in the flowcharts symbolize the following:Actions undertaken by the proponentActions undertaken by governmentActions undertaken by the YESAA assessor13

AGRICULTURE – Grazing Lease and Assessment Process1.After contacting EMR’s Agriculture Branch, the proponent fills out and submits an application fora grazing lease.2.The Agriculture Branch determines whether the activity is subject to an assessment underYESAA. If not, the application goes through EMR’s review process.3.If the activity is subject to assessment, the Agriculture Branch undertakes a technical review ofthe application for completeness, land availability and grazing capability. If the technical review isacceptable, the Agriculture Branch produces a preliminary Grazing Management Plan and refersthe proponent to apply for an assessment to the appropriate Designated Office.4.The proponent contacts the Designated Office, fills out assessment Form 1 and attaches thegrazing lease application package, including the preliminary Grazing Management Plan.5.The Designated Office conducts the assessment of the project

ENERGY, MINES AND RESOURCES (EMR) ASSESSMENT – REGULATORY GUIDE: Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources A guide to explain how EMR’s regulatory regime works with the assessment process under the Yukon E