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.

Provincial governments

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:

For projects in Nova Scotia, contact:

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.

National Energy Board

The Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program and the National Energy Board have an agreement called 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 National Energy Board is responsible for:

  • regulatory reviews and approvals
  • environmental protection related to interprovincial and international pipelines and power lines under federal jurisdiction

For more information related to applications and filing, consult the National Energy Board 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.

If your project could negatively affect aquatic species at risk, please submit a request for review form. Send completed forms to your regional office.

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:

  • frogs
  • seabirds
  • freshwater
    • turtles
    • reptiles
    • plants

3. For marine protected area

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. Compliance with standards and codes of practice

If the scope of your project falls within the standards and codes of practice you’ll need to submit a notification form (PDF, 50 KB) (but not a request for project review). Send completed form to your regional office.

This information will be used to monitor the quality and effectiveness of the guidance being provided and improve it over time.

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