Guidelines for external proponents

Guidelines for external proponents

When an action is proposed to occur within a park or protected area, BC Parks assesses that action’s potential impacts on ecological, cultural, and recreational values. BC Parks staff conduct an assessment by following our impact assessment (IA) process. For more information, see the impact assessment process overview page.

When insufficient information is available for BC Parks staff to adequately assess potential impacts from a proposed action, the proponent needs to provide more information. This guidance is for an external proponent to use, with the support of a qualified professional (QP)1 or subject matter expert (SME)2, in preparing a supplementary information report.

Preparation of a supplementary information report

BC Parks staff will notify the proponent when more information is required before a decision can be made about a proposed action. The proponent is responsible for hiring an appropriate QP or SME. BC Parks staff can advise the proponent about whether to use a QP or SME for completing the supplementary information report.

Major actions3 will require the full suite of information identified in the contents of a supplementary information report, below. Other more ‘minor’ projects may require only select information, and BC Parks staff will provide details in their notification to the proponent. It is likely that the QP or SME will need to evaluate such items as the nature and scope of individual impacts, any combined action-specific impacts, and regional cumulative effects associated with the proposed action. The report will also need to address any specific issues that have been identified by BC Parks staff during the impact assessment review process.

The format of the supplementary information can vary from a report (see details below) to an email, depending on the scale of the proposed action and the potential impacts that could result from the proposed action. BC Parks staff will determine and provide instructions to the proponent regarding the required format.

Contents of a supplementary information report

For all major actions, the supplementary information report must include all of the following.

1. Executive Summary, no longer than three pages, to include:

  1. A brief description of the action
  2. The geographic area considered for the action
  3. A summary of alternative actions or sites considered
  4. A summary of the environmental, social (including cultural and heritage), and economic impacts that are likely to result from the action, including the significance of these impacts
  5. A summary of the mitigation plan to avoid, reduce, and offset significant impacts resulting from the proposed action during implementation and operation of the action
  6. A summary of the residual impacts of the action (in other words, impacts remaining after mitigation has been implemented) and any proposals to restore or offset residual impacts
  7. A summary of the evaluation and monitoring plan required during implementation and operation of the action
  8. A summary of the anticipated benefits of the proposed actions to park values or park management.  

2. Justification and description of the proposed action, including all components of the action that have the potential to cause an impact, the timing of these components, and, where applicable, a description of the following phases:

  1. Construction (for example, “construction of research station”) 
  2. Operation or use (for example, “use of research station for seabird research”) 
  3. Research (for example, “seabird research”) 
  4. Deactivation or remediation (for example, “removal of research station when research completed”)

3. Description of the geographic site or area proposed for the action, and the extent of the surrounding area that is expected to be affected by the action.  

4. Assessment of alternative locations, methods, and actions considered. This should clearly describe why this action is proposed in a park or protected area and justify why the current proposal is the best location.  

5. Inventory of values potentially affected (directly or indirectly) by the action. This should include environmental, social, and economic values and a description of the methods and sources used to generate the inventory of values. Relevant details such as survey timing and effort, who conducted the surveys, their qualifications, and so forth, will need to be provided.  

6. Description of impacts, including the following:

  1. All data and information necessary to identify and assess the nature and scale of the environmental, social, and economic impacts likely to be caused by the proposed action
  2. Information about the direct and indirect impacts on the protected area, the interaction of these impacts and the combined effect of all impacts resulting from the action
  3. The cumulative impacts that may result from the combination of the action with other past, present or reasonably foreseeable future projects4, or human activities in the region

7. Assessment of significance and mitigation plan for the potential impacts, including the following:  

  1. The methods and assumptions used in assessing the potential impacts of the proposed action
  2. A description of the residual impacts of the action (in other words, impacts remaining after mitigation has been implemented)
  3. A description of the mitigation measures required to avoid, reduce or offset any significant impacts resulting from the proposed action

Mitigation measures must be technically and economically feasible. A detailed mitigation plan including best management practices that will be followed may be requested.

8. Description of the evaluation and monitoring plan required during implementation and operation of the action.

Useful definitions for preparing a supplementary information report

When identifying and evaluating specific risk elements, proponents, QPs, and SMEs may find it helpful to consider the magnitude of an action’s impact on a value, the recovery time needed by an impacted value, and the vulnerability of a value.


The portion of the value or feature that may be affected by an action. Include all relevant existing developments and actions in determining the portion of the value affected. Magnitude can be:

  • Small
    Less than 1%
  • Medium
  • Large
    More than 10%

Any negative impact to species at risk (SAR) habitat or populations or to ecosystems at risk is a higher risk even if magnitude is small.

Recovery time

The period of time required for a value to recover from a disturbance caused by an action. Recovery time can be:

  • Short
    Less than one year
  • Medium 
    1–10 years
  • Long
    More than 10 years


A value’s sensitivity to being altered by an action. Consider vulnerability in conjunction with recovery time. Vulnerability can be:

  • Low
    The value is not greatly altered by the action (for example, it retains more than 90% function), with short recovery time
  • Medium
    The value is moderately resistant and resilient to the action (for example, it retains more than 60% function), with short to medium recovery time
  • High
    The value is not resistant and resilient to the action (function is lost or impaired), with medium to long recovery time (including permanent impacts with no recovery)

Report submission and review

Once the proponent has submitted the completed supplemental information report, BC Parks requires a minimum of 60 days to review the report. Additional time and information may be required depending on the complexity of the project and the quality of information provided.

1. Qualified professional (QP): An applied scientist or technologist who is registered and in good standing with an appropriate BC professional organization constituted under an Act. The QP must be acting under that association’s code of ethics and be subject to the organization’s disciplinary action. A QP could be a professional biologist, agrologist, forester, geoscientist, engineer, or technologist.

2. Subject matter expert (SME): A person with demonstrated skills, abilities, and expertise in a desired topic area. This person is equivalent to a qualified professional (QP) but may not have the professional designation.

3. Major action: An action that, in the professional judgement of the assessor, is predicted to cause significant impacts to protected area values due to any or all of the following factors: action is a large facility by BC Parks standards (for example, new campgrounds, new traffic thoroughfares); action will cover a large proportion of the protected area; action is proposed for an otherwise pristine environment; predicted impacts of the action cannot be readily mitigated; or any other significant concerns as raised by the assessor, other BC Parks staff, other ministries or the public.

4. Foreseeable future projects: Any project or action that has received approval or is at some stage of formal review under federal, provincial, or municipal jurisdiction.