Request a review of your project near water: Step 3. Check if your project needs a review
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The Memorandums of Agreement outlined on this page will be updated in the future to reflect the changes to the Fisheries Act.
Check the steps outlined on this page before requesting a project review.
This step involves checking:
1. Regulatory partnerships
Before submitting your project for review, check if you need to go through provincial governments, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or the National Energy board.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have provincial review processes for projects near water. Through these review processes you’ll be informed if you need to have your project also reviewed by the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program.
For projects New Brunswick, contact:
- the Environment and Local Government (freshwater environments) to obtain a Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Permit
- the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources (marine and coastal environments)
For projects in Nova Scotia, contact:
- Nova Scotia Environment (freshwater environments) to obtain watercourse alteration approval
- Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (marine and coastal environments)
In Prince Edward Island, contact the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for a Watercourse, Wetland and Buffer Zone Activity Permit.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
The Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have a memorandum of understanding.
Through this memorandum, the commission is responsible for the preliminary review and assessment of impacts on fish and fish habitat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has authorities and final decisions of fish and fish habitat protection provisions.
Canada Energy Regulator
The Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program and the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly the National Energy Board, coordinate their efforts under the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Energy Board and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for Cooperation and Administration of the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act Related to Regulating Energy Infrastructure.
Through this agreement, the Canada Energy Regulator is responsible for:
- regulatory reviews and approvals
- environmental protection related to interprovincial and international pipelines and power lines under federal jurisdiction
Until a new agreement is reached, an Addendum to the current Memorandum of Understanding is in effect.
Through this Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Energy Board and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for Cooperation and Administration of the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act Related to Regulating Energy Infrastructure, proponents will now send projects that fall within species at risk critical habitat directly to the appropriate DFO regional triage offices, instead of to Canada Energy Regulator.
For more information related to applications and filing, consult the Canadian Energy Regulator Act applications.
2. For aquatic species at risk
Determine if there are aquatic species at risk or critical habitat in your area by checking our aquatic species at risk maps. You’ll need approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada if you want to undertake an activity that affects an aquatic species at risk in a way that is prohibited by SARA.
Please note that the decision whether to issue or not permit under the Species at Risk Act is “Crown conduct” to which the duty to consult will apply and, when appropriate to accommodate, when Aboriginal or treaty rights may potentially be adversely affected. The Species At Risk Act contains additional requirements that need to be fulfilled, including the consultation of wildlife management boards and bands under the Indian Act when the affected aquatic species at risk is found in land claim settlement areas, reserves or any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band (under subsections 73(4) and (5) of the Act). For more information on Indigenous consultation, please consult the Crown duty to consult and, when appropriate, accommodate.
An aquatic species is a fish, shellfish, crustacean, marine animal or marine plant. You’ll need to contact Environment and Climate Change Canada if your activity affects other species at risk, including:
3. For marine protected areas
Determine if the project is located in a marine protected area and if the proposed activity is allowed in the relevant governing regulations by consulting our webpage. Fisheries and Oceans Canada cannot approve an activity that is prohibited by the marine protected area Regulations. Approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be required prior to carrying out activities allowed in marine protected areas.
4. For aquatic invasive species
Before submitting your project for review, please consult the Aquatic Invasive Species website for guidance.
If your project involves the use of a pest control product or drug (deleterious substance) against an aquatic invasive species, please submit an application to the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) National Core Program (Form for authorization for the use of deleterious substances).
If the project involves works, undertakings or activities in or near water aimed at preventing, controlling or eradicating aquatic invasive species, please submit a request for review form. . Send completed forms to your regional office.
5. Measures to protect fish and fish habitat
If you can follow the measures to protect fish and fish habitat, you do not need to request a project review.
6. Waterbodies where our review isn’t required
- approved marine disposal or dumping sites
- tailings impoundment areas as listed in Schedule 2 of the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations
- artificial waterbodies that aren’t connected to a waterbody that contains fish at any time during any given year, such as:
- private ponds
- roadside drainage ditches
- quarries and aggregate pits
- irrigation ponds or channels
- stormwater management ponds
- agricultural drains and drainage ditches
- commercial ponds like golf course ponds or stocked fishing ponds
- any other waterbody that:
- doesn’t contain fish at any time during any given year
- isn’t connected to a waterbody that contains fish at any time during any given year
7. Standards and codes of practice
This information will be used to monitor the quality and effectiveness of the guidance being provided.
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