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Canadian Navigable Waters Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-22)

Act current to 2022-09-11 and last amended on 2019-10-04. Previous Versions

Canadian Navigable Waters Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. N-22

An Act respecting the protection of navigation in Canadian navigable waters

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Canadian Navigable Waters Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.

designated work

designated work[Repealed, 2019, c. 28, s. 47]

ferry cable

ferry cable[Repealed, 2012, c. 31, s. 317]

Indigenous knowledge

Indigenous knowledge means the Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. (connaissances autochtones)

Indigenous peoples of Canada

Indigenous peoples of Canada has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. (peuples autochtones du Canada)

major work

major work means any work designated under paragraph 28(2)(b). (ouvrage majeur)

Minister

Minister means the Minister of Transport. (ministre)

minor water

minor water[Repealed, 2019, c. 28, s. 47]

minor work

minor work means any work designated under paragraph 28(2)(a). (ouvrage secondaire)

navigable water

navigable water means a body of water, including a canal or any other body of water created or altered as a result of the construction of any work, that is used or where there is a reasonable likelihood that it will be used by vessels, in full or in part, for any part of the year as a means of transport or travel for commercial or recreational purposes, or as a means of transport or travel for Indigenous peoples of Canada exercising rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and

  • (a) there is public access, by land or by water;

  • (b) there is no such public access but there are two or more riparian owners; or

  • (c) Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province is the only riparian owner. (eaux navigables)

obstruction

obstruction means any thing, including a vessel that is left anchored, moored or adrift or a wreck, that obstructs or impedes navigation or renders it more difficult or dangerous, but does not include a thing of natural origin unless a person causes the thing of natural origin to obstruct or impede navigation or to render it more difficult or dangerous. (obstacle)

owner

owner, in relation to a work, means the actual or reputed owner of the work or that owner’s agent or mandatary. It includes a person who is in possession or claiming ownership of the work and a person who is authorizing or otherwise responsible for the construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal, decommissioning, repair, maintenance, operation, use or safety of the work. It also includes a person who proposes to construct or place a work. (propriétaire)

person in charge

person in charge, with respect to an obstruction, includes the owner of the obstruction and, in the case of a vessel, or part of one, that is an obstruction, the registered owner or other owner at the time the obstruction was occasioned, as well as the managing owner, master and any subsequent purchaser. (responsable)

Tribunal

Tribunal means the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada established by subsection 2(1) of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act. (Tribunal)

vessel

vessel includes any description of ship, boat or floating craft designed, used or capable of being used for navigation, without regard to method or lack of propulsion, including everything forming part of its machinery, tackle, equipment, cargo, stores or ballast. (bâtiment)

work

work includes

  • (a) any structure, device or other thing, whether temporary or permanent, that is made by humans, including a structure, device or other thing used for the repair or maintenance of another work; and

  • (b) any dumping of fill in any navigable water, or any excavation or dredging of materials from the bed of any navigable water. (ouvrage)

Marginal note:For greater certainty — navigable water

 For greater certainty, the definition navigable water in section 2 does not include artificial irrigation channels or drainage ditches.

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

  • 2009, c. 2, s. 318

Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Marginal note:Rights of Indigenous peoples of Canada

 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act is to be construed as abrogating or derogating from the protection provided for the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Marginal note:Duty of Decision Maker

 When making a decision under this Act, the Minister must consider any adverse effects that the decision may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Works

Prohibition

Marginal note:Works

 Except in accordance with this Act, it is prohibited to construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission a work in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water.

Minor Works in any Navigable Water

Marginal note:Minor works

  •  (1) An owner of a minor work may construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission the minor work in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water in accordance with the requirements under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Repair, maintenance, operation and use

    (2) The owner must repair, maintain, operate and use the minor work in accordance with the requirements under this Act.

Major Works in any Navigable Water and Works in Navigable Waters Listed in Schedule

Marginal note:Notice

 An owner who proposes to construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission one of the following works may do so if the work, or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning, would not interfere with navigation and the owner, before beginning the construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning, deposits any information specified by the Minister in any place specified by the Minister and publishes a notice in any manner, and including any information, specified by the Minister:

  • (a) a major work in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water; or

  • (b) a work — other than a minor work — in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water that is listed in the schedule.

Marginal note:Application for approval

  •  (1) An owner who proposes to construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission one of the following works must make an application for an approval to the Minister — in the form and manner, and containing the information, specified by the Minister — if the work, or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning, may interfere with navigation:

    • (a) a major work in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water; or

    • (b) a work — other than a minor work — in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water that is listed in the schedule.

  • Marginal note:Related works

    (2) If the Minister is of the opinion that two or more works are related, the Minister may consider them to be a single work.

  • Marginal note:Additional information

    (3) For the purpose of determining whether the work or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning may interfere with navigation, the Minister may require from the owner any additional information that the Minister considers appropriate.

 [Repealed, 2012, c. 31, s. 318]

Marginal note:No interference with navigation

 If the Minister is of the opinion that a work that is the subject of an application made under subsection 5(1), or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning, would not interfere with navigation, including by changing the water level or water flow of a navigable water, he or she must inform the owner, in writing, of that opinion and no approval is required under subsection 7(6) for that work — or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning.

Marginal note:Interference with navigation

  •  (1) If the Minister is of the opinion that a work that is the subject of an application made under subsection 5(1), or its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning, may interfere with navigation, including by changing the water level or water flow of a navigable water, he or she must inform the owner, in writing, of that opinion and the owner may only construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission that work if the Minister issues an approval for the work.

  • Marginal note:Information

    (2) The owner must deposit any information specified by the Minister in any place specified by the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (3) The owner must publish a notice containing any information specified by the Minister in any manner specified by the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Comment period

    (4) The notice referred to in subsection (3) must invite interested persons to provide written comments on the owner’s proposal to the Minister within 30 days after publication of the notice or within any other period specified by the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Exemption

    (5) If the Minister is satisfied that the owner has already deposited sufficient information in a place specified by the Minister or published a sufficient notice, the Minister may exempt the owner from the application of subsection (2) or (3), as the case may be.

  • Marginal note:Approval

    (6) The Minister may issue an approval for the work, including its site and plans, if he or she considers it appropriate in the circumstances.

  • Marginal note:Assessment — factors

    (7) In determining whether to issue the approval, the Minister must consider the following:

    • (a) the characteristics of the navigable water in question;

    • (b) the safety of navigation in that navigable water;

    • (c) the current or anticipated navigation in that navigable water;

    • (d) the impact of the work on navigation, including as a result of its construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal, decommissioning, repair, maintenance, operation or use;

    • (e) the impact of the work, in combination with other works, on navigation, if the Minister is provided with, or has in his or her possession, information relating to that cumulative impact;

    • (f) any Indigenous knowledge that has been provided to the Minister;

    • (g) any comments that he or she receives from interested persons within the period provided for under subsection (4);

    • (h) the record of compliance of the owner under this Act; and

    • (i) any other information or factor that he or she considers relevant.

  • Marginal note:Additional information

    (8) For the purpose of determining whether to issue the approval, the Minister may require from the owner any additional information that the Minister considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Terms and conditions

    (9) The Minister may attach any term or condition that he or she considers appropriate to an approval including one that requires the owner to

    • (a) maintain the water level or water flow necessary for navigation purposes in a navigable water; or

    • (b) give security in the form of a letter of credit, guarantee, suretyship or indemnity bond or insurance or in any other form that is satisfactory to the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Effect of approval

    (10) An approval issued under this section in relation to a work replaces any approval previously issued in relation to that work.

  • Marginal note:Contiguous area

    (11) The Minister may, in an approval, designate an area contiguous to a work that is necessary for the safety of persons and navigation and, for the purposes of the approval, that area is considered to be part of the work.

  • Marginal note:Compliance with requirements

    (12) The owner must comply with the approval and maintain, operate and use the work in accordance with the requirements under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Approval after activity begins

    (13) The Minister may, if he or she considers that it is justified in the circumstances, approve the construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning of a work after the construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal or decommissioning begins or is completed.

 
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