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.
DFO has legal responsibilities under the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the Oceans Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) to ensure that Canadian fisheries waters and resources are protected and managed for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Fisheries Act provides the legal framework for regulating impacts on fish and fish habitat associated with works, undertakings, operations and activities occurring in or around fresh and marine waters throughout Canada.
There are five habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act (sections 20-42) that cover a wide range of powers, authorities and duties to regulate impacts to fish and fish habitat in relation to:
The Habitat Management Program (HMP) conducts its activities according to the Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat (Habitat Policy) to maximize or increase the social and economic benefits derived by Canadians from productive fish habitats and the fisheries resources they support. Further, HMP maintains a suite of Standard Operating Policies for a transparent, predictable and coherent approach to regulatory review of activities and approval of impacts to fish and fish habitat across Canada.
*Environment Canada is responsible for administering this subsection.