Changes to Fisheries Act impacts local reviews

Monday, December 16, 2013   by: Kate Adams

North Bay Mattawa

News Release


On Monday, November 25, 2013, amendments to the Fisheries Act, Applications for Authorization (under Paragraph 35(2) (b) of the Fisheries Act Regulations) and Information Requirements Regulations came into force.

As a result of these amendments and other changes within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Conservation Authorities no longer provide regulatory review for works under the federal Fisheries Act and therefore the previous partnership agreements between DFO and Conservation Authorities are no longer in effect as of November 25, 2013.

The implementation of the amended Act now brings about many changes in the way Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts business.  DFO's focus is now on:

- proponent self-assessment;
- streamlining regulatory reviews; and
- greater emphasis on large-scale projects.

Conservation Ontario and DFO are working on possible Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would be consistent with the new Federal Fisheries Protection Program and would build upon a strong partnership history. 

Notwithstanding development of an MOU, Conservation Authorities may still continue to undertake advisory reviews involving fisheries and aquatic resources under the Planning Act and/or as a watershed management agency under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Conservation Authorities are still involved in administering regulations under the Conservation Authorities Act for works within regulated areas and will continue to provide quality services in this regard.

New Fisheries Act Self Assessment Process
With regard to the Federal Fisheries Act, effective November 25, 2013, proponents must ensure that their projects meet the DFO requirements under the self-assessment process. 

The following links provide further information.

Does my project need a review?

Measures to avoid harm:

Request a review or authorization:

The federal government announced its intention to amend the Fisheries Act in its Economic Action Plan 2012. 

The changes are intended to streamline administrative processes while strengthening environmental and fisheries protection.


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