Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) Practitioners’ Guide

Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) Practitioners’ Guide


Cumulative Effects Assessment Working Group for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Type(s) of Tool

GuidelinesOperationalize sustainability principles, less specific than Benchmarks or Rating Systems.


Tools applicable to all sectors

Lifecycle Phase(s)

Strategic PlanningPublic authorities identify the needs and long-term vision for infrastructure development., Project PlanningGeneral strategy for a project’s delivery is developed.

Open Source


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The Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) Practitioners’ Guide aims to support practitioners of CEAs in their work and submission processes to regulatory bodies. The tool gives practitioners an overview of current understanding about the CEA practice, suggests practical approaches to complete CEAS based on statutory requirements and best practice and provides case studies. Furthermore, the Guide defines key terms and an exemplary assessment framework and recommends good practices in for data collection and cases of lacking data, among other useful orientations.

Tool Outcome

This guide provides practitioners with:
– An overview and clarification of current understanding about the practice of CEA;
– Suggestions on practical approaches to complete CEAs that meet statutory requirements and best professional practice;
– Case studies of approaches used by project proponents for their CEAs.

The Guide may also be useful to regulatory bodies and review panels in recognizing what constitutes acceptable and reasonable practice regarding CEAs and in developing appropriate Terms of Reference for the assessments.

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