Spring 2021 - REM 446 D100

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (4)

Class Number: 7228

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

    We 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2021
    12:00 PM – 12:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    REM 100 or 200 and 75 units.



Theory and practice of environmental and social impact assessment. The course will review and critically evaluate the regulatory frameworks, institutions and methods associated with impact assessment for resource and industrial development, transportation, public utilities, regional planning and public policy, using examples from British Columbia and Canada.


This course provides an introduction to the theory, principles and practice of environmental and social impact assessment (EA). EA also known as impact assessment is a systematic planning process for identifying and evaluating the potential adverse effects of an action (policies, plans, programs, projects). A key feature of impact assessment is that it occurs before major decisions are taken and commitments made. This course will review and critically evaluate the regulatory frameworks, institutions and methods associated with EA for resource and industrial development, using examples from British Columbia and Canada. This course is interdisciplinary, drawing on a variety of fields of knowledge in the natural and social sciences.

REM 446 is a mixed lecture and tutorial course where both lecture and tutorial will be delivered synchronously using Zoom.


Successful students will be able to:

  • Define environmental assessment (EA), its objectives and benefits and describe the steps and components of the EA process.
  • Describe the features of the Canadian federal and British Columbian institutions and processes for conducting EAs.
  • Explain Indigenous peoples’ role and participation in EA and the implications of the duty to consult and accommodate when decisions may infringe on Aboriginal rights and title.
  • Compare and contrast different models for decision-making in EA, including concepts of significance and public interest.
  • Critique legislated EA processes in British Columbia and Canada and discuss key challenges, deficiencies and areas for improvement using theory and literature on EA and broader public policy.
  • Apply EA principles for best practices to case studies and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of specific project applications.


  • Assignments 30%
  • Final Group Project 30%
  • Final Exam 25%
  • Participation 15%



Hanna, K.S. (Ed). 2016. Environmental Impact Assessment: Practice and Participation. Third Edition. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press
Available from SFU Bookstore: http://www.sfu.ca/bookstore/coursematerials

Additional online (electronic) reading materials including reports and journal articles will be made available on CANVAS.


Noble, B.F. 2014. Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment: A Guide in Principles and Practice. Third Edition, Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).