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Environmental Licensing

Manitoba Environment Act Public Registry

The Public Registry (PR) is a collection of files for developments for which a proposal under the Environment Act has been submitted. The purpose of the Public Registry is to make information concerning proposed developments available to the public. The Public Registry (PR) was established in 1988 through Section 17 of the Environment Act, which requires the Director of Environmental Assessment and Licensing to maintain the PR.

When a development proposal under the Environment Act is filed, the Director creates a client/registry file number and is required to file a notice in the local newspaper.

Note: In practice, this step to inform the public is not consistently adhered to.

As the proposal progresses through the review process, information is added to its Public Registry file.

Note: There are no requirements under the Environment Act to ensure materials are filed in the Public Registry in a timely manner. Also there are no archive requirements – so that information is available when the next related proposal or similar project starts all previous information is available. Nor is there a requirement under the Act for full transparency; only a few documents related to the assessment are required to be filed in PR files.

The Environment Act requires the following information be placed in each Public Registry file:
  • copy of the proposal submitted by the proponent
  • copy of the environmental assessment report (environmental impact statement)
  • materials indicating the status of the proposal, the licensing decision
  • copy of the environmental license (if/when issued)
  • if applicable, justification for refusing to issue an environmental license
  • if applicable, material related to the justification for not accepting the advice and recommendations of the Clean Environment Commission, if a hearing has been held

The Director of Environmental Assessment and Licensing has discretionary power to direct that other information be included in Public Registry files (Section 17, Environment Act).

In addition, Manitoba government policy is to also include the following in Public Registry files:
  • if applicable, the environmental impact statement guidelines
  • letters of public objection/concern and departmental responses
  • all Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) correspondence
  • approval summary
  • Clean Environment Commission transcript
  • Clean Environment Commission report
Source: Manitoba Conservation, Library Services – Introduction to the Public Registry

Note: Despite the above assertion that it is government policy to include all TAC correspondence with respect to development proposals in Public registry files, this policy has not been consistently implemented in recent years.

The main Public Registry is located in Winnipeg at the Conservation and Environment Library (160 – 123 Main Street). It receives all PR documents. There is also a network of over 20 Sub-Public Registries.

View Public Registry locations

Note: The Electronic Public Registry contains summary information and licenses for several files. Electronic Public Registry files are in addition to the 'paper' public registry files and are established at the discretion of the Director – usually for major development proposals or proposals likely to generate a significant amount of public interest. The Electronic Public Registry files DO NOT necessarily contain all the materials found in the paper PR file. No standards exist regarding maintaining the electronic registry so often materials are taken down after a decision. The same challenges exist for the Clean Environment Commission's online collection of records from reviews and hearings. Often these are removed from the Commission's website.

View Public Registry Files by the Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch, Manitoba Conservation

The Public Registry catalogue is searchable but contains limited information – usually only a copy of the license and summary report, unless there is an Electronic Public Registry file for the proposal in question. Search functions are limited.

Search the Public Registry Catalogue

Sources: Manitoba Conservation, Library Services – Introduction to the Public Registry, the Environment Act

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