Navigable waters protection update

Navigable waters protection update

Navigable waters protection update


A few months ago we posted about the Ministerial Order under the federal Navigable Waters Protection Act  (“Are Canadian Waterways Subject to Public Rights”) where we noted that this seemed to be a step away from treating all waterways equally in Alberta and Canada.  Recently Transport Canada (the responsible authority for the Act) created a Navigable Waters Protection “weblog” on the Transport Canada Website.

Transport Canada has recently (March and April 2010) identified changes that it may make to the Order before the Order is converted into regulations as follows, with drafting of the new regulation for publication in the Canada Gazette to follow:

Overview of Key Proposed Changes

Changes identified

  • Additional Minor Works,
  • Minor Changes to criteria of existing Minor Works,
  • Clarification of existing wording,
  • Analysis document available for review.

Development of a Maintenance and Repair Policy

  • Exempt common repairs with a minor impact on navigation from the approval process under the NWPA.
  • Additional Minor Works added (Mooring Buoys, Outfalls, Boat Ramps, Swim Areas),
  • Temporary Works while the waterway is frozen or dry considered to be Minor Works,
  • Significant changes to Pipeline Crossings as a minor work,
    • Pipelines regulated under the National Energy Board Act may be a Minor Work,
    • Trenchless methods permitted under more scenarios.
  • Minor Navigable Waters can be up to 5 meters wide, but works on these waters cannot prevent access.

September 2010  – Pre-publication in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette, followed by a 30-day comment period
Spring 2011 – Publication in Part 2 of the Canada Gazette.
For more information contact:
Kenneth Hahn
Project Manager:  NWPA Regulatory Development
Telephone:  (613) 998-6442
Fax:   (613) 998-0637



The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been seeking strong and effective environmental laws since it was founded in 1982. The ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information regarding natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to educate and champion for strong laws and rights so all Albertans can enjoy clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Our vision is a society where laws secure an environment that sustains current and future generations.

As a charity, the Environmental Law Centre depends on your financial support. Help us to continue to educate and champion for strong environmental laws, through tools such as our blog and all of our other resources, so that all Albertans can enjoy a healthy environment. Your support makes a difference.
Donate online today


Share this:
  • Environmental Rights: Bill C-469 moves forward | Environmental Law Center
    Posted at 19:17h, 13 November Reply

    […] period, issues of substantive environmental quality on which the ELC has commented included: the exclusion of “minor” waters and works from environmental assessment, the “incidental take” of migratory birds, and proposed Fisheries […]

  • David G. Vallillee
    Posted at 19:58h, 18 January Reply

    Presently the Right of Navigation is paramount and superior to all others on navigable waters. A public navigable river is a public aqueous highway, and all the Queen’s subjects of common right may pass over it in boats, notwithstanding the grant of the siol by the Crown, for such grant must be taken subject to the public right.

    Canada’s history and greatness I believe has occurred and exists because of our right to travel across this great country. These rights must not diminish or we will cause our spirit to diminish.

    Thank you David

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe For Latest Updates
You'll get an email whenever we publish a new post on our blog.