How to Save the Yukon with Environmental Impact Assessments

The Earth is facing a lot of environmental problems due to global warming and the exploitation of our planet has gone up at an alarming rate over the last few decades. Yukon’s average temperature has increased by two degrees Celsius and the winter temperature has increased by four degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This phenomenon itself has increased the importance of environmental services and this is where environmental impact assessments come into the picture.

Arctic Backhoe Services Ltd is an excavation contractor & environmental services provider based in Whitehorse and Yukon. We specialize in:

In this blog, we discuss saving the Yukon with Environmental Impact Assessments


What Is an Environmental Impact Assessment?

It is a process for predicting the environmental and socio-economic effects of proposed initiatives before they are carried out. An environmental assessment:

  • Recognizes possible adverse environmental effects
  • Suggests methods to reduce adverse environmental effects
  • Predicts whether there will be notable adverse effects on the environment, after the methods are applied
  • Includes a follow-up program for verifying the precision of effectiveness of the applied methods and the environmental assessment

Environmental impact assessments in the Yukon are conducted by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA). It is administered by an independent body called the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board.


The board conducts independent and neutral assessments of development projects that are proposed. Input is gathered from public and technical experts with recommendations made to the government. Once a decision document is released from the government’s side after accepting the board’s recommendations, the proponent can proceed.


The Government of Yukon is a single decision body under YESAA through a coordinated process that involves all government departments. The responsibility of the decision will be assigned to specific government departments as per the project type. Agriculture projects will be assigned to the agriculture branch of the government while forestry projects will be moved to the forest resources branch.


Factors Considered During an Environmental Impact Assessment

The following factors are taken into consideration:

  • Environmental effects, including the ones caused by accidents 
  • Public comments
  • Purpose of the project
  • Mitigation measures 
  • Follow-up program requirements
  • Alternative means of executing the designated project


Projects That Need Environmental Impact Assessments

There is no direct answer to this. Sometimes, a complete environmental impact assessment will be needed for certain projects while for others only a part of it will need assessment. The projects that usually require an assessment include:

  • Industrial projects
  • Chemical manufacturing plants
  • Metal processing plants
  • Power plants
  • Natural gas projects
  • Mine and coal projects
  • Quarries and sand and gravel pits
  • Waste management plants
  • Energy projects including power plants, transmission lines, substations, and related power generation projects
  • Water management projects
  • Dams
  • Wastewater facilities
  • Food processing facilities
  • Transportation projects including but not limited to highways, marine ports, or dredging
  • Projects located in or near wetlands
  • Projects on which groundwater extraction is being planned

What Are the Benefits of Environmental Impact Assessments?


It offers numerous advantages to the residents of Yukon. By considering the environmental effects and the measures taken to reduce it, environmental impact assessments can help in better decision making and result in benefits like:


  • Minimization or avoidance of severe environmental effects
  • Opportunity for the public to participate
  • High protection of human health
  • Lower risks of environmental disasters
  • Lower project costs 
  • Less chance of delay in projects
  • High government accountability
  • Informed decisions that enable the responsible use of natural resources

Let Us Help


Arctic Backhoe Services Ltd is a family-run business operated since 1981. We have worked with various clients including homeowners, developers and business owners. As a fully insured and licensed excavation company, we provide our residential and commercial clients with the safest service possible.

For information on why you have to get rid of contaminated soil in Yukon, read our blog post - Why You Need to Remove Contaminated Soil in the Yukon.

Call us to learn more about our environmental services.

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