The Government of Canada is making amendments to important federal legislation governing the protection of, and right of access to, Canada's waterways.
The Budget Implementation Act, an omnibus bill tabled February 6, 2009 proposes to radically change the law that protects the navigability of Canada's rivers and streams. The amendments are intended to limit applicability of the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) and, hasten the approval process for projects that might interfere with navigation.
Proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act seek to withdraw federal protection for thousands of lakes, rivers or streams across the country, meaning new projects such as bridges or dams could take place on those waterways without an environmental assessment or public notification.
"The NWPA and navigation rights are integral part of Canada's environmental protection regime. If you take away the protection of navigation rights, you will impact the natural environment on Canadian waterways," said Will Amos of Ecojustice. "This is not a wise thing to do, even in tough economic times."
View David Suzuki Foundation Take Action page on NWPA
View February 9, 2009 Ecojustice Memorandum on NWPA (PDF)
View Lake Ontario Waterkeepers NWPA Research (PDF)
View Lake Ontario Waterkeepers comparison of old and new NWPA legislation (PDF)
View Facebook advocacy group, I Speak For Rivers
Sources: David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice