On June 21st, 2019 the new Fisheries Act received royal assent and became law.
On August 28th, 2019 Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) updated their Projects Near Water website to include the new Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program, as well as their new regulatory process for compliance with the new Fisheries Act.
We have reviewed the new information. A brief summary can be found here
- A "Self-Assessment" process remains to determine if a project needs a review by DFO. However, the term "self-assessment" is no longer used and the assessment process has been updated. The new assessment process continues to include a list of waterbodies where review isn't required, which looks very similar to the previous Fisheries Act.
- There are two new interim Codes of Practice (CoP) available End-of-pipe fish screens, and routine maintenance dredging. When using the new CoPs, a Notification Form must be submitted "preferably" 10 working days before starting work. The CoPs and Notification Form are similar to previous Operational Statements and the Notification Form. Additional CoPs will be released by DFO in the near future.
- There continues to be a "Request for Review" process, with a new form available on DFO's website. The new form is similar to the previous ”Request for Review” form.
- There is a new application form and guidance material for applying for Authorization or for a Species at Risk (SARA) permit. The new information is available on DFO's website. The previous "Guide to Offsetting" does not appear to be available and the new "Guide to Offsetting" link will be released in the future.
- If you have a project that is currently under review, DFO has provided information on the review process for that application on their website.
- The previous DFO review time limits (i.e., 60 days to determine if the application is complete; 90 days to issue the Authorization) appear to be part of the new Fisheries Act.
The Dillon team is updating our assessment and decision framework, as well as our assessment reports. We can provide more details on how to use and apply this information on projects to help determine when projects require DFO review, how to assess this with greater confidence and a defensible process, and tips for using the new Codes of Practice Notification Form and Request for Review Form.
Please feel free to contact any of the authors to the right if you have any questions.