Director’s Message

Facing north toward the midnight sun at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.

Environmental assessment helps shape the world around us. From natural resources development to transportation, municipal infrastructure, and public policy – environmental assessment plays a key role in supporting good planning and informed decision-making. It provides us with an understanding of how our development choices will change our environment.

As Director of UBC’s Centre for Environmental Assessment Research (CEAR) it has been remarkable to see how environmental assessment (EA) has been evolving in Canada, and roles that researchers have played in advancing EA practice. At UBC we have created a unique research centre focused on the different needs of EA. Our work is often centred on the Canadian experience, but we have also developed strong ties to international researchers, which allow us to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, and communicate the challenges and innovations of EA in Canada.

The activities at CEAR reflect the multi-faceted and integrative nature of EA. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan we have developed projects in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut that support agencies and help build an understanding of the unique approaches and lessons from EA in Canada’s north and Arctic. We have worked with the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute to write guides to EA best practices in mining, and to gender-based assessment. Our researchers are also working with Indigenous governments in British Columbia to advance the practice of cumulative effects assessment, support land use data management, and help advance Indigenous led environmental assessment.

Effective EA requires more than a strong technical foundation. It also requires the ability to cooperate and work within interdisciplinary settings. The practice of EA increasingly involves creativity, broad-mindedness and a readiness to adapt to new and different forms of knowledge, changing social and economic conditions, and rapid shifts in technology. We are working to support these needs.

Please take a moment explore our website to learn more about our people, their research, and the services available at CEAR.

With best regards,

Kevin Hanna PhD, CEAR Director