Canada Fisheries Act Update

Fisheries and Oceans Canada/CA Partnership Agreements Update

This update has been prepared by MVCA staff to advise you of amendments to the Canada Fisheries Act and a related partnership agreement between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Conservation Authorities.

These changes will affect our technical review services as it relates to fish habitat advice provided to local municipalities, residents and businesses.

Amendments to the Canada Fisheries Act passed through the federal Parliament and received Royal Assent on June 29 and December 14, 2012. Since that time, transition arrangements remained temporarily in effect.

On November 25, 2013 federal amendments to the Canada Fisheries Act, associated Applications for Authorization (under Paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act Regulations) and Information Requirements Regulations came into force. With these changes, the existing partnership agreements between DFO and Conservation Authorities in Ontario are null and void.

The MVCA and other groups have had agreements in place with DFO to undertake prescribed reviews of development and regulatory applications related to the administration of Section 35 (habitat) of the Fisheries Act since June of 1998. As of November 25, 2013, whenever asked about Fisheries Act requirements, DFO has requested that Conservation Authority staff direct proponents and the public to the DFO website at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/index-eng.html. DFO may also be contacted directly by phone at 1-855-852-8320 or by email at fisheriesprotection@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

When proponents submit projects for review after November 25, we have been instructed to refer such applicants directly to the DFO website. The website, we are told, has all the information proponents need to self-assess their project and if required submit an application to DFO. Additional details on transition arrangements will be available in the coming weeks once provided by DFO.

DFO and Conservation Ontario are working to develop a new Memorandum of Understanding under the new Fisheries Protection Program but it is not expected that there will be any tangible action toward such an arrangement before the spring of 2014.

We have valued our relationship with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; both parties learned much during the time in which the partnership agreements were in effect. We shall continue to manage the resources of the Mississippi watershed, consistent with our mandate, using science based approaches and tools provided to us by the Ontario Conservation Authorities Act which includes the protection of aquatic resources in our watershed.

For more information, please contact:
Kelly Stiles MVCA Biologist
613-253-0006 ext. 234
kstiles@mvc.on.ca

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