Search Tips

Use the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry to find information on assessments performed by the federal government.

The Registry contains web pages where you can find information about a project, and holds documents related to the assessment, as well as comments from the public and other organizations. The Registry search can help you find these records.

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The following tips can help you with your search of the registry.

Tip 1: Start with what you know

Start by searching the name of the assessment or the registry reference number, if you know it. You can always add more detail if you need to narrow your search. The results will contain anything that has one or more matches with your search term.

If you’re looking for an assessment in a specific location, add in the location. For example, port terminal vancouver.

When you’re deciding what words to search for, try to choose words that are used by the Agency because that’s how the assessments or documents will be titled. Look at this glossary for examples of words that are used in impact assessments.

If any words are misspelled, the search may not give you accurate results. Don’t worry about correct grammar, capitalization, or accents. Do make sure you spell the names of assessments, proponents, or documents correctly.

Tip 2: Refine your search

If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the first page of results, try adding more words to your search term or use filters to narrow your results and search again. If you are looking for a particular document, locate the assessment page as a first step and click on “List all records.” The search on these sub-pages only shows records related to that assessment.

Tip 3: Search active assessments

From the registry homepage, you can click “Search active assessments” on the lower left side of the screen to see all results that are currently undergoing a federal assessment.

A screen capture of the Registry home page. At the bottom from left to right are the buttons, which read “Search active assessments”, “View map”, and “Get involved”. 1: A screen capture of the Registry home page. At the bottom from left to right are the buttons, which read “Search active assessments”, “View map”, and “Get involved”.
Tip 4: View map

Another option is to browse based on a specific geographic location. An interactive mapping tool can be found by selecting view map from the Registry homepage.

A screen capture of the interactive Registry mapping tool. 2: A screen capture of the interactive Registry mapping tool.
Tip 5: Get involved

Also from the registry homepage, you can click “Get involved” on the lower right side of the screen. This page links to notices that contain information about how to get involved in an active assessment. Notices are organized by location of the assessment, either by province, territory, or outside of Canada. Different ways to participate can include comment periods, open houses and information sessions. You can also find open application periods for participant funding.

Advanced search tips


The autocomplete feature helps you search as you type by trying to finish a term or phrase. You will be able to see a short list of “suggestions” that exist in the Registry and partially match your search.

You can use the autocomplete feature to help you find an assessment or document if you are not sure exactly what the assessment name is. Begin by typing it out and scanning the suggestions. If none of the suggestions are what you’re looking for, try spelling it a different way.


If you are looking for any documents related to one assessment, go to that assessment page and click on “List all records”. Each assessment has its own page on the registry that makes it easier to find the documents and comments associated with the assessment. If you are searching for a specific document, this search method is often easier to look through as there are fewer results compared to the registry-wide search.


Search results can be sorted by “Best Match”, “Most Recent”, or “Reference Number”.

Results will display sorted by “Best Match” by default. “Best Match” looks for matches from your search term based on assessment names or their reference numbers, document titles or their reference numbers, or comment authors or their reference numbers. Adding words to your search term that are likely to appear in these fields will help you find results that are more relevant.

You can sort results using the “Most Recent” tab to find newer documents or comments. Please note the “Submitted” date refers to when a comment was submitted to the Agency. It may not reflect the date that the comment was uploaded to the Registry.

Sorting by “Reference Number” can be useful if you are looking at the records under a single assessment. Reference numbers are assigned in sequential order and higher numbers represent records most recently uploaded to the Registry.


The left hand side of the search results page (bottom of the page on mobile) shows the filters you can use on the results. For example, you can choose to view only comments, only documents, or only assessments.

You can also filter by:


By default, the search engine will compare all of the words included in your search term. For example, gold mine will look for matches that contain gold AND mine in any order, as long as both appear together.

Adding quotation marks (“ ”) on either side of your search term will perform an exact phrase search.This will only look for matches that contain all of your search words in the order you typed them. For example, a phrase search on “regional assessment” will only look for matches that contain the whole phraseregional assessment. Try adding quotation marks around your search term if your first attempt does not find the results you were expecting.

Use the following Boolean operators in your search to get the results you are looking for.

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