Plans announced for process to modernize Canada’s federal freshwater laws.

On June 20th, the federal government detailed plans for reviewing and modernizing Canada’s environmental laws, including a specific focus on restoring “lost protections and introduce modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.” The announced review is part of what will be parallel but coordinated processes where Parliament’s Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans and Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will review these two critical pieces of legislation, which were overhauled by the previous government. These committees are to report back to Parliament with their recommendations no later than January 2017. The federal government will also be reviewing changes made to the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act through more elaborate, expert panel processes.

These reviews are one of the largest opportunities we have had to ensure that Canada’s freshwater rules will protect the health of our waters.  

More details on how people and organizations can engage in the Fisheries Act andNavigation Protect Act review processes are expected in the coming week.

A public comment period on the Draft Terms of Reference for the expert panels that will study the National Energy Board and Environmental Assessment processes is open until July 20, 2016.

Individuals and organizations are also encouraged to share their views on improving Canada’s Environmental and Regulatory Processes (which includes the opportunity to comment on environmental assessment, fisheries protection, navigable waters, public engagement and indigenous people’s consultation) via this online questionnaire before August 31, 2016.