UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

British Columbia's cumulative effects framework : implementation and contribution to decision-making Vlasschaert, Gillian


Cumulative effects assessment is the systematic evaluation of impacts to the economic, social and environmental condition in combination with other past, present and foreseeable activities on the environment. The province of British Columbia has recently begun the implementation of the Cumulative Effects Framework, a policy that will enable cumulative effects assessments at a broad, strategic scale and provide cumulative effects information to natural resource decision-makers. The objective of this research project is to understand how cumulative effects assessments affect resource management decision-making. This research uses three approaches: 1) analysis of the content of two cumulative effects assessments conducted under the BC Framework; 2) a multiple case study evaluation of ‘pilot projects’ where cumulative effects information has been used in decision-making; and 3) interviews with those who had a working relationship with the Framework and the associated assessments. The findings show that based on early pilot application, the Cumulative Effects Framework has the capacity to meet its identified objectives. Issues of effectiveness were identified in the early stage of implementation resulting from out-of-date datasets and incomplete value assessments. Implementation insights from the analysis include suggestions for maintenance and monitoring practices that can support and improve the ongoing implementation phases, to enhance the functionality and decision-making benefits provided by the Framework. The Framework and resulting cumulative effects information will ultimately only be as useful as natural resource ministries choose to make it, though there are opportunities to improve access and utility.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International