Discharge Under Fisheries Act Clarified?

The current pollution prevention provisions in Canada’s Fisheries Act include a general prohibition on polluting water frequented by fish.  What this has meant is that even well managed activities; including those activities that are protective of water frequented by fish and in compliance with provincial regulations may still not be in compliance with the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act.  The result is the exact thing industry despises…uncertainty.

So, on February 14, 2014, the Regulations Establishing Conditions for the Exercise of the Minister’s Regulation-Making Power under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act (the “Enabling Regulations”) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I (the comment period ended March 17, 2014).  The resulting Enabling Regulations would establish conditions under which the Minister of the Environment may authorize deposits of deleterious substances in waters frequented by fish by way of ministerial regulations.

However, before this authority can be exercised, the Governor in Council (GIC) must make regulations that set forth conditions on the use of this new authority.

Hopefully, these proposed changes will reduce inefficiencies, overlapping regulations, and reduce risk by clarifying conditions for discharge.

To read more, see the Canada Gazette.

If you have questions about an environmental issue, please contact Christopher Parė, P. Geo, (cpare@dragun.com) at 519-979-7300.


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