On June 29, 2012, the Fisheries Act was amended. Policy and regulations are now being developed to support the new fisheries protection provisions of the Act (which are not yet in force). The existing guidance and policies continue to apply. For more information, see Changes to the Fisheries Act.
On April 2nd, 2013 the Habitat Management Program's name was changed to the Fisheries Protection Program.
Contact information for regional offices of the Fisheries Protection Program has been updated.
Further updates to the Fisheries Protection Program Working Near Water website will be made over the coming months.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) came into force in 1995 and was subsequently amended by Bill C-9 . CEAA is the legal basis for the federal environmental assessment process and sets out the responsibilities and procedures for carrying out the environmental assessments of projects which involve federal government decision-making authorities. An environmental assessment is, in respect of a project, an assessment of the environmental effects of a project that is conducted in accordance with CEAA and its regulations.
CEAA has the following purposes:
With respect to a project, an environmental assessment under CEAA is required before a federal authority takes an action, such as: being the proponent; providing funding; providing land; or issuing an approval, identified on the Law List Regulations . These actions are referred to as ''triggers''.
CEAA defines a ''project'' as either an undertaking in relation to a physical work or a physical activity identified on the Inclusion List Regulations . A federal authority which exercises a ''trigger'' in the context of a ''project'' becomes a Responsible Authority. A Responsible Authority must ensure that an environmental assessment of a proposed project is conducted and that a conclusion on the significance of adverse environmental effects is reached and considered as part of the decision making process prior to the action occurring.
The Habitat Management Program (HMP) normally becomes involved in the environmental assessment process through a regulatory trigger. For example, the HMP will conduct environmental assessment when there is a need for an authorization under those sections of the Fisheries Act that trigger an environmental assessment, that is, those listed in the Law List Regulations. The most common CEAA regulatory trigger for the HMP is subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act.
The most common environmental assessment type is the screening. It is used mainly for projects of limited scale although the screening may vary in time, length and depth of analysis, depending on the circumstances of the project. For more complex projects that have the potential to cause adverse environmental effects on various valued environmental components and for which public concerns are likely, the environmental assessment may be realized through a Comprehensive Study. These projects are described in the Comprehensive Study List Regulations . Thirdly, a Review Panel may be created to review and assess, in an impartial and objective manner, a project with likely significant adverse environmental effects and significant public concerns. Finally, mediation is a voluntary process of negotiation in which an independent and impartial mediator helps interested parties resolve their issues.
For more information on the CEAA and/or the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency which administers CEAA click here .