Social Impact Assessment in the Environmental Sector: health network support guide

Taking account that the social aspects allows to measure the human consequences of intervention projects on the environment. However, in Quebec, not a lot of legal guidelines, administrative or consensual suggest how to investigate these social situations.

This guide was developed by the scientific team on the environmental assessments of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. It represents an abbreviated version of the guide published in French. The objective of this publication is to enable different actors involved in the process of impact assessment to understand the key elements and stages of the procedure for the assessment of social impacts. This guide helps to evaluate a social impact assessment, or to advise the implantation of the process so that they are robust and efficient.

The first chapter defines the concept of social impact by exploring its features and illustrating the words with concrete examples. This chapter outlines the social changes on the quality of life and social capital generated by the social impacts, as well as some factors that modulate the impacts, such as the determinants of health, social acceptability and risk perception.

Thereafter, the second chapter focuses on the definition of social impact assessment and its components. The roles and objectives of the evaluation are shown, as well as the circumstances of the assessment, data collection difficulties and the notion of citizen participation.

Finally, the third chapter presents the ten steps in the social impact assessment process, proposed by the Interorganizational Committee on Guidelines and Principles for SIA.

References and appendix are included in this tool, allowing the user to deepen their knowledge on various aspects of social impact assessment.

Emmanuelle Bouchard-Bastien
M. Env., conseillère scientifique, Direction de la santé environnementale et de la toxicologie, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Dominique Gagné
conseillère scientifique, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Geneviève Brisson
experte et chercheure d’établissement, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
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