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Navigable Waters Act Update

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On November 7, 2012 Transport Canada’s Committee Working Group for Navigable Waters Protection presented a 1 hour hearing.  Graham Ketcheson, Executive Director and Jay Morrson, Chair of Environment committee for Paddle Canada were both at this meeting among many other stakeholder groups including Canadian Safe Boating Council and Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. 

The new act proposes to only protect less than 1% of all our waterways, from development that affects navigation boats including canoe or kayak or SUP. 

“We’re losing our tools to protect fresh water and our federal government is really getting rid of their responsibility to protect our waterways,” argues Meredith Brown, the Ottawa Riverkeeper, a watchdog group that monitors water quality in the Ottawa River and its tributaries.

Budget and staffing reasons were the main argument presented in making this huge change. Transport Canada assures that all waterways are still protected, however under Common Law.

“Essentially, they [the Government of Canada] are reducing the regulatory burden on businesses and putting that regulatory burden on you and I, the public, to now look out for own river and our own interests,” says Brown. But, she adds, under the proposed changes a project can only be challenged after it has been built, so any damage to a waterway will have already been done.

Please read more on this topic by following the media article links below.  Get informed and get involved by contacting your local federal MP with your thoughts & comments on this topic.

  1. Maclean’s – The Drivable Roadways Protection Act, A Fable – by David Newland
  2. Globe & Mail – Your Dock Goes On the Docket – by Wil Amos
  3. News – Navigable Waters Commitee Hearings – by Max Paris
  4. News – Waterways Changes in Budge Bill Seen as Eroding Protections – by Margo McDiarmid
    (includes the document which lists the few protected lakes and rivers.)
  5. – Navigable Waters Protection Act Under Attack Again – by Damien Gillis
  6. Vancouver Sun – Feds Remove Water Protection from Historic Law – by Mike De Souza
  7. Ottawa’s Ecojustice – Breaking Down Yet Another Attack on Canada’s Environmental Laws – by Wil Amos
  8. – Changes to NPA Impacts 1st Nations Treaty Rights and Paves the Way for More Pipelines – by Emma Lui