Third-Party Reviews

Independent Environmental Auditing

 

We review the technical information provided by project proponents and governments to ensure that there are no information gaps and that your questions and concerns are adequately addressed.

Why Do a Third-Party Review?

Land-use decisions should be based on the best information so that the environment and your interests are protected. Our reviews test the quality of the information and generate recommendations on your behalf.

What Do We Audit?

Proposed Development:

  • Project Applications
  • Terms of Reference
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Mitigation Measures
  • Monitoring Plans and Reports
  • Reclamation Plans and Reports
  • Approval Conditions

Government Documents:

  • Land-Use Plans
  • Environmental Reports
  • Environmental Regulation

Topics Our Reviews Cover

  • Wildlife, Vegetation, & Soils
  • Fish & Aquatic Habitat
  • Water Resources
  • Air Resources & Noise
  • Socio-economics
  • Traditional Land Use
  • Historic Resources
  • Indigenous Consultation

Who Do We Work For?

  • Indigenous Communities
  • Environmental Review Boards
  • Government & Municipalities
  • Landowners
  • Industry

Why Choose Us?

We set high standards for real engagement, integrity and sustainability that match “who” we are and “why” we do what we do. We’re very proud of that.

Featured Projects

 

MSES has completed hundreds of third-party reviews since our inception in 2001. Below is a sample of our work.

 

Review of Government Documents

Regulations

Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act (Government of Canada)​

  • Reviewed on behalf of the Gunn Métis Local #55 and Mountain Métis Nation Association (AB) – 2016​

Commercial Fishing Regulations for Utikuma Lake​

  • Reviewed on behalf of Gift Lake Métis Settlement – 2014
Land & Resource Use Plans

Expert for the Review Panel for Alberta’s Regional Plans (Alberta Land and Stewardship Act)​

  • On behalf of the Government of Alberta (AB) – ongoing since 2017​

Alberta Land Management Policy and Frameworks​

  • Reviewed on behalf of the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Cold Lake First Nations – 2015​

Review of Industry Documents

Pipelines & Transmission Lines

Review of the Energy East Pipeline Project and Eastern Mainline Pipeline Project- Trans Canada Pipelines Ltd. 

     Client: Maliseet Nation of New Brunswick (NB), Frog Lake First Nation (AB), Ontario Water Keepers (ON) 

     Year: Ongoing since 2015 

Review of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project – Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC 

     Client: Adams Lake Indian Band (BC) 

     Year: 2014 – 2016 

MSES supported the client through the regulatory application and hearing process by reviewing the project application and prepared Information Requests for submission to the proponent. Findings were presented to the community members and to community leadership. MSES also reviewed responses from the proponent, attended meetings as scientific advisors to the client during meetings with the proponent and government, and reviewed the Draft Conditions released by the National Energy Board. MSES also actively supported the client during their fundraising campaign for a Comprehensive Salmon Study which looks at the potential impacts and risks to salmon stocks in the Fraser Basin from the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project. 

Review of the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project – Northern Gateway Ltd Partnership 

     Client: Swan River First Nation (AB) and Saulteau First Nation (BC) 

     Year: 2010 – 2014 

MSES review the Application for the project, including the EIS, focusing on on how, and to what extent the proponent had addressed the concerns of the clients. MSES evaluated the potential Project-related effects on the environment and the potential impact to traditional land and resource use. Deliverables included a report identifying key information gaps in the Application materials and key recommendations for the proponent. MSES also prepared Information Requests on behalf of the client. Upon  an affirmative ruling by the Joint Review Panel (JRP) MSES was asked to conducted a review of the JRP Decision Report.

Review of the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) System Expansion Project – NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. 

     Client: Bigstone Cree Nation (BC), Swan River First Nation (AB), Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation (AB) 

     Year: 2015 – 2016 

MSES conducted a review of the project Application, with a focus on the Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment and prepared two rounds of Information Requests for submission to the regulator and proponent. The focus of the reviews was on assessing the potential impacts of the proposed Project on the clients’ traditional lands and resources. Following this MSES summarized outstanding issues/concerns that remained after two rounds of information requests regarding the proposed project. 

Review of the Peace Region Electricity Supply Transmission Line Project – BC Hydro 

     Client: McLeod Lake Indian Band (BC) 

     Year: 2016 

MSES reviewed the Terms of Reference for the environmental assessment methodology for a 230 kV transmission line project. Findings were reported from the review, and recommendations on assessment methodology, mitigation and monitoring were prepared for the proponent to consider as they prepared the assessment for the Project. 

Oil & Gas

Oil and Gas Developments in Northern Canada, 2002 to Ongoing – Overview

Upon receipt of the Environmental Impact Assessments from proponents in the Alberta Oilsands Region (for example, Shell Canada Ltd., Synenco Energy Inc., Birch Mountain Resource Ltd., Husky, Syncrude Canada Ltd., and others) the Mikisew Cree First Nation requested MSES to assemble a scientific team to review the EIAs to determine:

a) if the companies had fulfilled their environmental obligations, and

b) how the information provided in the EIAs relates to the stakeholder’s issues.

The team was asked to examine the biophysical components such as wildlife, water and air quality portions of the EIA in detail, to determine whether any information gaps exist and to make recommendations to the companies and to resource agencies on ways to fill the gaps. The approach to the EIA review and gap analysis was outlined, with emphasis on the importance of accurate and sound science, and its relevance to the stakeholder. Evaluation of the EIA included whether the information was complete, accurate, scientifically sound, appropriate, and met the goals of the EIA process. Findings from the EIA reviews were presented at public hearings or incorporated in environmental agreements.

Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project – Teck Resources Limited

     Client: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AB) and Mikisew Cree First Nation Government & Industry Relations (AB) 

     Year: Ongoing since 2017

Review of the Project Application, Update, and several rounds of Supplemental Information Requests and Responses.

Review of the Fort Hills Oil Sands Project – Suncor Energy Operating Inc. 

     Client: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AB) and Mikisew Cree First Nation Government & Industry Relations (AB) 

     Year: Ongoing since 2001 

MSES has acted as a technical scientific advisor and third-party reviewer for two First Nations regarding the open-pit oil sands mine proposed by Suncor. We have provided support and review related to the original 2001 Environmental Impact Assessment, 2007 and 2010 assessment updates, 2014 Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act renewal application, 2013 Groundwater Management Plans, 2017 Tailings Management Plan, 2017 Mine Amendment application, and several rounds of government Information Requests and proponent responses. Deliverables included the provision of technical reports and participation in client-proponent workshops. 

Review of the Mildred Lake Open-Pit Oil Sands Extension Project – Syncrude Canada Ltd. 

     Client: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AB) and Mikisew Cree First Nation (AB) 

     Year: 2015 

MSES evaluated the project Application, including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), with the goal of assisting the clients in understanding the gaps and deficiencies in the information provided and to develop information requests and recommendations that would address those gaps and deficiencies.  

Review of the Pierre River Mine Project – Shell Canada Ltd. 

     Client: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AB) 

     Year: 2013 

MSES evaluated whether the proponent’s responses to the Joint Review Panel’s Information Requests provided sufficient information to address the requests. 

May River SAGD Project – MEG Energy Corporation.

     Client: Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation (AB)

     Year: 2017 

TriStar SAGD Pilot Project – Value Creation Inc

     Client: Fort McMurray First Nation (AB)

     Year: 2016

Review of the amendment application for the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation.

Aspen Solvent-Assisted SAGD Oil Sands Project – Imperial Oil Resources 

     Client: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AB) and Mikisew Cree First Nation Government & Industry Relations (AB)

     Year: 2013-2015

Review of the 2013 Project Application, Proponent Responses, and 2015 updated application on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation IRC and Mikisew Cree First Nation GIR.

TransAlta Highvale Mine Renewals

     Client: On behalf of the Gunn Metis

     Year: Ongoing since 2016

Review of the Hangingstone Expansion Project – Japan Canada Oil Sands

     Client: Aboriginal Review Group

     Year: 2009-2018 

Renewable Energy

BC Hydro Peace Region Electricity Supply Project ​

  • Reviewed on behalf of the McLeod Lake Indian Band (BC)  – 2016​

New Brunswick Power Mactaquac Dam​

  • Reviewed on behalf of the Maliseet Nation of New Brunswick (NB) – 2016​
Mineral & Metal Mines

Review of the Sisson Mine Project – Sisson Mines Ltd. 

     Client: Maliseet Nation of New Brunswick (NB) 

     Year: Ongoing since 2012 

Since mid-2012, MSES, including our team of 15 technical experts, has been working closely with First Nations in New Brunswick to conduct third-party technical reviews of the EIA Reports, generate information requests and review responses, and review supporting documents. MSES has also provided scientific advisory support for First Nations throughout the regulatory Environmental Assessment (EA) review process, and has presented review findings at community meetings, prepared newsletters and community bulletins, and provided technical support at meetings with the proponent and regulators.   

Offshore Development

 Review of the Scotia Basin Offshore Exploration Project – BP Canada Energy Group 

     Client: ULC Tobique First Nation, Kingsclear First Nation, St. Mary’s First Nation, Woodstock First Nation, Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, Oromocto First Nation (all NB)

     Year: 2016

MSES reviewed the Environmental Impact Statement that was submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. MSES aided the clients understanding of gaps and deficiencies in the EIS and developed information requests and recommendations to address those gaps and deficiencies; MSES later reviewed the proponents responses. The reviews focused on fish and fish habitat, marine mammals, migratory birds, socio-economics, and Aboriginal traditional use. Technical reports were prepared for the client. 

Residential & Urban

Review of the Three Sisters Mountain Village Development Project 

     Client: City of Canmore (AB) 

     Year: 2012 – 2013 

MSES provided advisory services relating to the development and review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed Area Structure Plan, Land Use Zoning, and Subdivision of the Three Sisters Mountain Village Lands. The potential for impacts on wildlife movement was a particularly critical issue for landscape connectivity to the nearby Banff National Park. MSES assisted in determining the necessary baseline information for the EIS and completed a comprehensive review of technical documents. It was critical that this work was done collaboratively with the developer’s consultant, as well as local experts. MSES also presented the findings of the review in a technical report and at a public forum including a Town Council meeting. 

“Your analytical approach is the strongest tool that we ever had in addressing the volumes of technical information that industry and government expose us to… Thank you for your objective and personal support.”
– Mikisew Cree First Nation, Alberta, Canada.

207 Edgebrook Close NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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