Respected Industry Leaders, Provincial Leaders, Territorial Leaders, and Friends,
Following up on our previous correspondence, in February 2018, the government introduced proposed legislation (Bills C-68 and C-69) that would put in place better rules to protect our environment, fish and waterways, and rebuild public trust in how decisions about resource development are made. Proposed changes to the Fisheries Act in Bill C-68 would put in place new modern safeguards to help communities by better managing projects, enhancing aquatic ecosystems protection and allowing the sustainable use of our fish and fish habitat resources while protecting them for our future.
In June, the House of Commons voted to approve the report stage of Bill C-68 that was followed by Third Reading concurrence on June 20, 2018. Subsequently, the Bill was referred to the Senate for consideration that received First Reading also on June 20, 2018. The Senate is now adjourned for the summer and will reconvene in the fall to continue the review and study of the Bill. A similar process to that in the House of Commons will apply to the Senate’s consideration. The Senate may or may not propose further amendments to the Bill following its review. If you would like more details about the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act, or the status of Bill C-68, please visit the Parliament of Canada website.
While Bill C-68 is undergoing review by the Senate, DFO is proactively developing the regulations, policies, and other program instruments to be used if the Bill is passed and the Fisheries Act is amended. This development of possible tools is being undertaken through early engagement with Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, stakeholders and other Canadians. The current priority is to begin work on two regulations that are seen as important to have ready for when any changes to the Act come into force: i) updating the Applications for Authorization under Paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act Regulations (Applications for Authorization Regulations), and ii) developing new Designated Projects Regulations.
To initiate the discussion on the proposal to amend the Applications for Authorization Regulations, DFO has prepared a consultation document entitled “Consultation Paper: Approach to a Key Regulation under the Proposed Fish and Fish Habitat Provisions of the Fisheries Act. The Consultation Paper builds on the feedback received through ongoing engagement with Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, stakeholders and other Canadians, related to review the 2012-13 changes to the Fisheries Act which began in 2016 and on few of the proposed amendments in Bill C-68.
The proposed plan for consultation on the Designated Projects Regulations is to take a similar approach, with the timing of this anticipated to be fall or early winter. We will share more information with you as soon as it becomes available.
In addition to the attached consultation paper, DFO also intends to release other papers to seek further feedback on policy and regulatory instruments and concepts related to the administration of the proposed fish and fish habitat protection provisions of an amended Fisheries Act.
We invite you to provide feedback on the consultation paper through any of your preferred contacts with the department or through the generic email address: FPP-PPP.XNCR@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Thank you again for your continued cooperation and we are looking forward to working closely with you to ensure effective protection of our aquatic ecosystems.
A/Team Leader – Fisheries Act Review and Special Projects
Team Leader, Client Liaison, Partnerships, Standards and Guidelines
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada