Minor Works Order

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In February 2018, the Government of Canada introduced proposed legislation (Bill C-69) which would enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, amend the Navigation Protection Act, and make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Bill C-69 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.

The changes proposed to the Navigation Protection Act in Bill C-69 would create a new Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA). This new Act would:

  • restore and better protect your right to move freely over Canada's waterways
  • advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • create more accessible and transparent decision-making processes

The proposed CNWA would maintain the Minor Works Order, and extend its application to minor works on all navigable waters, not only those listed on the Schedule.

What we heard

During our review of the Navigation Protection Act, we heard a range of views from Canadians and Indigenous peoples on the Minor Works Order. Some people felt the Order is a modern risk-based approach. Others suggested we should have authorizations for all works.

What is a minor work?

The Minor Works Order names the types of "minor" works that are likely to slightly interfere with navigation (for example, cottage docks). Minor works do not require an approval if the work meets the criteria and requirements found in the Order.

Currently, the Minor Works Order only applies to works on scheduled navigable waters. Under the proposed Act, the Minor Works Order would lay out the requirements that minor works would need to meet on any navigable water in Canada.

Proposed approach

We are considering updates to the Minor Works Order, which would:

  • simplify the text for existing minor works, and use illustrations to make it easier to understand
  • add new categories of minor works

Existing minor works

Minor works currently listed by the Minor Works Order must meet certain specifications to be considered minor. The classes in the Order are:

  • Erosion-protection works
  • Docks and boathouses
  • Boat ramps, slipways and launch ramps
  • Aerial cables for power or telecommunication purposes
  • Submarine cables for power and telecommunication purposes
  • Pipelines buried under the bed of navigable water and built using a trenched method
  • Pipelines and power or communication cables attached to existing works
  • Works within a boomed-off area upstream or downstream from an existing water control structure
  • Outfalls and water intakes
  • Dredging projects that do not use suction dredging that involves the use of floating or submerged pipes
  • Mooring systems to secure a vessel

Notification requirements

Certain classes of minor works (dredging, aerial cables, submarine cables, and pipelines buried under the bed of a navigable water) include a requirement to notify the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Hydrographic Service. We are considering whether to also make these notifications available on the new Public Registry that will be developed.

Potential minor works

We are considering adding the following classes of minor works to the Order:

  • Clear span bridges that do not impact the navigation clearance required for vessels to navigate
  • Culverts that are unlikely to impact navigation
  • Geophysical testing (borehole drilling)
  • Geothermal installations
  • Scientific monitoring equipment
  • Swim areas that are boomed or roped-off by a local authority (including works, such as swim rafts, in the boomed-off or roped-off area)
  • Watersports-related works that do not include jumps or docks

Share your views

We want to seek your feedback on:

  • the types of works to include in the Minor Works Order
  • your suggested changes to the existing classes of minor works
  • proposed terms and conditions for the construction of these works

Please share your views by contacting us at NPPHQ-PPNAC@tc.gc.ca by July 30, 2019.

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