The Minister has the ability to recommend to Cabinet that a project become subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) depending on the nature of the project or the level of public interest.
Anyone may submit a designation request asking that a project go through an environmental assessment (EA) process which should include specific reasons. The ministry assesses the merits of the request and may make a recommendation to the Minister. A proposed designating regulation is then posted on the Environmental Registry for a minimum of 30 to 45 days for public consultation.
Proponents may choose to voluntarily comply with the requirements of the EAA through an agreement with the ministry, and go through the EA process (e.g. submit an EA and terms of reference). This is usually done when the proponent feels that the nature of the project and the level of public interest warrant an EA.