Mandate and summary of legislation
This information from the Minister’s transition binder was current as of November 2019. We don’t update this page as it is part of the historical record.
Though Environment Canada (later renamed Environment and Climate Change Canada – ECCC) was created in 1971, some ECCC branches and Portfolio organizations are much older; the Canadian Wildlife Service was founded in 1947, the Water Survey of Canada in 1908, and the Meteorological Service of Canada in 1871. The first national parks service in the world, which ultimately became Parks Canada Agency, was created in May 1911. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was created in 1994 and was renamed the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) on August 28, 2019, with the coming into force of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA).
Within the environment Portfolio, Environment and Climate Change Canada is the primary department responsible for some 30 Acts. These Acts and associated regulations provide the department with its mandate and allow it to carry out its programs.
Under the Department of the Environment Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change extend to matters such as:
- the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality, and the coordination of the relevant policies and programs of the Government of Canada
- renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna
Beyond those authorities conferred under the Department of the Environment Act, the Minister exercises additional authorities provided under other acts and regulations including (but not limited to) the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and several pieces of legislation relating to the protection of biodiversity and water (e.g., the Species at Risk Act).
The Impact Assessment Agency (IAAC), as part of the environment Portfolio, is responsible for providing high-quality impact assessments and coordinating Crown Indigenous consultation related to the regulatory review of major projects. Under the Impact Assessment Act, IAAC is responsible for assessing the positive and negative environmental, economic, social, and health impacts of potential major projects. The impact assessment process applies to ‘designated projects’, which are either designated by the Physical Activities Regulations, also known as the Project List, or by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
The final organization in the environment Portfolio, Parks Canada Agency (PCA) mandate is to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations through the establishment and management of Canada’s system of national parks and national marine conservation areas. Parks Canada Agency is the steward of 47 national parks, one national urban park, four national marine conservation areas and 171 national historic sites, including nine heritage canals, and is also responsible for administering, in whole or in part, 12 of Canada’s 19 World Heritage sites. It also protects approximately 450 000 km2 of Canada’s terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems. It is the federal administrator of over 90% of all Crown lands and the second largest federal asset holder.
As environmental issues, notably climate change, continue to gain in significance, so does the complexity of addressing them. Working with stakeholders and partners in all orders of government domestically as well as internationally is essential to achieving lasting outcomes. Within the Government of Canada, the Portfolio works with key partners including, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Energy Regulator, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Portfolio organizations also maintain close relationships and engage in formal collaborative mechanisms with counterparts in provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Partnerships and engagement with Indigenous peoples are also essential: in recognizing their contributions to our natural heritage and their special relationship with the land; in managing protected areas; and in considering the impacts of project decisions on their traditional lands. Finally, international partnerships (e.g., the Commission on Environmental Cooperation) and organizations (e.g., the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) are key to achieving domestic and global environmental objectives.
The Portfolio has a significant workforce: ECCC has 7,162 employeesFootnote 1 ; Parks Canada Agency roughly 5400, and IAAC roughly 450. The majority of their workforce are located outside the National Capital Region, with each organization maintaining a regional presence in offices, weather stations, as well as parks and historic sites across the country. ECCC’s total budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is $1.82B, PCA’s is $1.65B, and IAAC’s is $74M.
The mandates of the department and agencies as well as the main elements of the Acts for which the Minister has responsibility are described in more detail in the next section of this note. The lead department or agency administrating the Act on behalf of the Minister is indicated in square brackets following the name of the Act.
Mandates of Department and Agencies
Department of the Environment Act, 1971 [ECCC]
The Department of the Environment Act, and other major pieces of legislation, in addition to providing for the establishment of the Department itself, confers certain powers, duties and functions on the Minister, which extend to and include matters relating to:
- the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality
- renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna
- the enforcement of any rules and regulations made by the International Joint Commission relating to boundary waters, and questions arising between the United States and Canada related to the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment
- the co-ordination of the policies and programs of the Government respecting the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada [IAAC]
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is responsible for providing high-quality impact assessments and coordinating Crown Indigenous consultation related to the review of major projects under federal jurisdiction. The Impact Assessment Act (IAA)recently came into force on August 28, 2019, creating IAAC and also expanding IAAC’s mandate and responsibilities to be the organization solely responsible for impact assessments and act as the Crown coordinator for Indigenous consultation of major projects. Under the Impact Assessment Act, IAAC is responsible for assessing the positive and negative environmental, economic, social, and health impacts of potential major projects.
The Impact Assessment Act repealed and replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). It includes transitional provisions for projects that began under previous legislation.
Under the Impact Assessment Act:
- Impact assessments are carried out on designated projects. These projects can either be designated by the Physical Activities Regulations or they can be designated by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change under s. 9.
- The Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations enable the new impact assessment system to function and enhance clarity, transparency and predictability in the process.
IAAC is in the early stages of implementing the Impact Assessment Act, which has involved: the development of regulations; new policy and guidance; the negotiation of agreements with other jurisdictions; memoranda of understanding with federal authorities; development of a new public registry; and the hiring of new employees.
Currently, 63 projects are being reviewed pursuant to federal legislation (as of September 10, 2019). Of these 63 projects, 44 are ongoing environmental assessments by IAAC, six are ongoing active review panels, eight are approved and ongoing substitution projects, one is undergoing a regional assessment, and four projects are being reviewed under the Impact Assessment Act (planning phase).
Parks Canada Agency [PCA]
The Parks Canada Agency Act establishes Parks Canada Agency as a separate Agency reporting to the Minister of ECCC. Parks Canada Agency has a broad mandate to ensure that Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and other heritage areas are protected and preserved for present and future generations. Heritage areas include heritage railway stations, heritage lighthouses, federal heritage buildings, historic places in Canada, federal archaeology and Canadian heritage rivers. Parks Canada Agency must ensure that there are long-term plans in place for establishing systems of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Parks Canada Agency is also responsible for negotiating, and recommending to the Minister, the establishment of these areas and sites.
The Act grants broad powers to Parks Canada Agency in dealing with human resources and financial matters in addition to providing broad powers for contracting and the acquisition and disposition of property.
High activity acts for which the Minister is primarily responsible
Canada National Parks Act, 2000 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act dedicates national parks to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment and provides that parks are to be maintained and used so as to leave them unimpaired for future generations. The Act provides that the Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of national parks and, in particular, states that the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks. There is a requirement to table in Parliament management plans for national parks within five years of their establishment and to review them every ten years. The Act confers authority to make regulations relating to a wide range of issues governing the management of national parks, including:
- protection of natural resources
- recreational activities such as camping and fishing
- leasing and licences of occupation
- fire management
- control of trades, businesses and other activities
- aircraft access
- maintenance and administration of public works
- maintenance and administration of road, highways, bridges and other improvements
- exercise of traditional renewable resource harvesting activities
There are currently 28 regulations under the Act.
Impact Assessment Act, 2019 [IAAC]
The Impact Assessment Act replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and also creates the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC).
The Act sets out a process for assessing the environmental, health, social and economic effects of designated projects with a view to preventing certain adverse effects and fostering sustainability. Designated projects are identified in the Physical Activities Regulations, known as the Project List, or through an order of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
During the planning phase, the IAAC determines if a designated project requires an impact assessment. If so, the assessment is planned with the proponent, federal authorities, other jurisdictions, Indigenous groups and the public.
IAAC or an independent review panel established by the Minister conducts the impact assessment. Federal authorities provide expert or specialist information. The process includes opportunities for meaningful public participation, partnerships with Indigenous groups and participant funding. An Internet-accessible registry provides convenient public access to information.
Mechanisms for co-operation with other jurisdictions, including Indigenous jurisdictions, are available. These mechanisms include cooperative assessments, joint review panels and substitution of the process. Review panels are required for designated projects regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, and the Atlantic Offshore Accord Acts. Collaboration between IAAC and lifecycle regulators begins during the early planning stage to draw upon their expert capacity and ensure that safety and other key regulatory factors are considered as part of a single, integrated assessment.
A report on the impact assessment informs decisions by either the Minister or the Governor in Council on whether adverse effects within federal jurisdiction or those resulting from federal decisions, are likely to be caused by a designated project are in the public interest. This decision must take into account other effects set out in the report, the extent to which the designated project contributes to sustainability, the extent of any adverse effects, the implementation of mitigation measures, effects on Indigenous Peoples and rights, and the Government of Canada’s environmental obligations.
The Minister will issue to the proponent a decision statement that sets out the public interest decision, whether made by the Minister or the Governor in Council. The Minister may set enforceable conditions related to matters within federal jurisdiction, including mitigation measures to be implemented by the proponent. The Act provides compliance and enforcement powers.
Time limits apply to the planning phase, impact assessment and decision-making phases:
- the planning phase must be completed within 180 days
- impact assessments conducted by IAAC must be completed within 300 days
- impact assessments conducted by a review panel must be completed within 600 days, however, if a review panel is assessing a project that would be regulated by a lifecycle regulator, the time limit is 300 days, with the ability to set this time limit up to 600 days
- the Minister will have 30 days to issue a decision statement for impact assessments conducted by IAAC and 90 days for review panels, or when the public interest decision is referred to the Governor in Council
The Act enables regional assessments of existing or potential future activities in a region and strategic assessments of policies, plans, programs or issues relevant to designated project assessments. Requirements for an assessment of environmental effects are set out for non-designated projects on federal lands and outside Canada that require a federal decision. Designated projects for which there is a relevant regional assessment may be exempted through regulations from the application of the Act.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) [ECCC, Health Canada]
This Act, the purposes of which are to protect the environment and human health and to contribute to sustainable development through pollution prevention, confers certain powers, duties and functions on both the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Health. This Act touches on many facets of environmental protection, conferring authority to make, and enforce, regulations or issue notices relating to:
- pollution prevention planning
- toxic substances
- animate products of biotechnology
- nutrients, ocean disposal, fuels, vehicle and engine emissions, international air and water pollution, and the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes
- environmental emergencies
- government operations, and federal and indigenous land
There are currently 57 regulations under the Act. Most regulations that have been made under CEPA to date are for vehicle and engine emissions, the chemical content of fuels, or substances that are on the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Act. Toxic substances in CEPA are those substances that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity; constitute or may constitute a danger to the environment on which life depends; or constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. Some CEPA regulations establish limits on the release of toxic substances or emissions. Others, such as those for ocean disposal and the import and export of hazardous waste, specify the requirements for the permitting regimes established under the Act.
The Act also allows the Minister to develop non-regulatory tools to manage environmental risks, including codes of practice, guidelines, and requirements to prepare pollution prevention plans and environmental emergency plans. CEPA’s enforcement regime allows for the use of various tools to enforce the Act and its regulations. The Minister is also responsible for preparing an annual report to Parliament on the administration of CEPA.
Fisheries Act Pollution Prevention Provisions, 1985 [ECCC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada]
Most of the Fisheries Act is administered by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. By Order in Council, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has been designated as responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act’s pollution prevention provisions, other than for aquaculture, pest management and aquatic invasive species. The pollution prevention provisions prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish unless authorized by Governor in Council regulations. There are six such regulations currently in place, including regulations addressing effluent from metal and diamond mining, wastewater systems, and pulp and paper mills.
In 2012, the Act was amended to allow the Minister to make regulations authorizing deposits under certain conditions; that is, where deposits are of lower risk and already well-controlled by a federal or provincial instrument. To date, one ministerial regulation has been made establishing conditions for research activities in the Experimental Lakes Area in Northern Ontario.
The implementation of these provisions, and of the regulations made under them, are important elements of the Minister’s overall responsibilities for environmental protection.
Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, 2018 (GGPPA) [ECCC, Finance Canada]
This Act establishes the legal framework for the federal carbon pricing system – the “backstop.” The key purpose of the Act is to help reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that a carbon price applies broadly throughout Canada and increases over time. The carbon pricing system created by this Act has two complementary components:
- a charge on fossil fuels that will generally be paid by fuel producers or distributors – also known as the fuel charge (Part 1 of the Act, which is under the responsibility of the Minister of Finance)
- a performance-based pricing system for industrial facilities that are trade-exposed – also known as the output-based pricing system (Part 2 of the Act, which is under the responsibility of the Minister of ECCC)
The output-based pricing system complements the fuel charge. In other words, fuels used at the facilities covered by the output-based pricing system under Part 2 will not be subject to the fuel charge under Part 1. Instead, pricing will apply to a portion of a covered facility’s emissions that exceed an emissions limit.
The application of GGPPA is triggered by the addition of a backstop jurisdiction on Schedule 1 of the Act (i.e. provinces, territories or areas without a price on greenhouse gas pollution or with a price that does not meet the federal standard). Direct revenues made under GGPPA are returned to the jurisdiction of origin.
Species at Risk Act, 2004 (SARA) [ECCC, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada]
This Act came into force in 2004, and plays an important role in Canada’s conservation of biological diversity. Designed to work in a complementary fashion with provincial and territorial legislation on species at risk, its goals are to prevent wildlife species assessed as at risk from becoming extinct and to secure the necessary actions for their recovery. It provides various measures for the protection of species listed as at risk, their residences and critical habitat.
The Minister of ECCC has the lead responsibility for administration of the Act, but does so in cooperation with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The Minister also holds implementation responsibilities for Parks Canada Agency under SARA. As a major federal landholder, Parks Canada Agency has a major role to play under SARA with respect to the protection of species listed at risk in national parks, national marine conservation areas, national historic sites and other protected heritage areas under its jurisdiction.
The Minister of ECCC makes recommendations to the Governor in Council on whether to list a species on Schedule I, based on the assessment of the status of a candidate species by the arms-length, science-based Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Minister is also responsible for the development of recovery strategies and action plans for listed species for which the Minister is the competent authority and the enforcement of prohibitions, orders and permits. These include:
- species at risk in national parks, national historic sites or other protected heritage areas
- all migratory birds
- all other species at risk on federal lands, with the exception of aquatic species, which are under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Minister of ECCC also leads the negotiation of administrative agreements with provincial and territorial authorities and is responsible for an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Act.
Other acts for which the Minister is primarily responsible
Environmental protection acts
Manganese-based Fuel Additives Act, 1997 [ECCC]
This Act prohibits the import and inter-provincial trade for commercial purposes of controlled substances, set out in the Schedule to the Act. There are, however, currently no substances listed in the Schedule.
Antarctic Environmental Protection Act, 2003 (AEPA) [ECCC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada]
This Act and its regulations provide the legal framework for Canada to implement the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the “Madrid Protocol”), the purpose of which is to protect the Antarctic from commercial exploitation primarily of its mineral wealth. The Act, through a series of prohibitions, protects the marine environment, specially protected areas, historic sites, monuments, and native species of the Antarctic from Canadian activity. The Act also provides a permitting regime for Antarctic ventures, which the Minister is responsible for administering.
Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act, 2008 [ECCC]
This Act requires the Ministers of Health and Environment and Climate Change to add Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts to the Virtual Elimination List under CEPA. A CEPA regulation to this effect was put in place in 2009, and therefore this Act currently has no practical effect.
Canada Wildlife Act, 1985 [ECCC]
This Act allows the Minister to deal with the conservation and study of wildlife through research and investigation, cooperation with provinces and the public, coordination of policies and programs, and protection measures.
The Act also allows for the designation of National Wildlife Areas (NWAs) and Marine Wildlife Areas (MWAs). There are currently 54 NWAs, all managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada with the exception of one area, Suffield National Wildlife Area, which is managed by the Department of National Defence. To be considered for designation as a NWA, a site must contain “nationally significant” habitat for migratory birds, support wildlife or ecosystems at risk, or represent rare or unusual wildlife habitat or a bio-geographic region.
MWAs address offshore and coastal conservation issues. Several such areas are under study, and the Scott Islands archipelago off British Columbia was finalized on June 27, 2018 as the first MWA in Canada.
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) [ECCC]
This Act implements the Canada-United States Migratory Birds Convention of 1916, the purpose of which is to protect migratory birds from over-hunting and from other human actions. The Act prohibits the purchase, sale, or possession of any migratory bird, including parts, nests or eggs, unless authorized by regulation.
The Migratory Bird Regulations allow Environment and Climate Change Canada to regulate and enforce a range of human activities and their impacts on migratory birds and the Department is responsible for issuing permits to support regulations.
The Act also provides for the designation of Migratory Birds Sanctuaries (MBSs). These include a mix of public and private lands under federal, provincial or territorial jurisdiction. MBSs protect birds and their breeding grounds during the nesting and migratory seasons. There are 92 MBSs, 21 of which Environment and Climate Change Canada directly manages. ECCC is responsible for enforcement in all 92.
Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, 1992 (WAPPRIITA) [ECCC]
This Act implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) by regulating trade in wild animals and plants. Internationally, more than 30,000 species are listed under CITES. The Act forbids the import, export and interprovincial transportation of designated species unless the specimens are accompanied by the appropriate permits. The Act applies to the plant or animal, alive or dead, as well as to its parts and any derived products.
Environment and Climate Change Canada issues about 7,000 permits and inspects thousands of imports and exports of CITES-listed species under this Act each year. In some cases, provinces may engage in permitting. The Minister is responsible for preparing an annual report to Parliament.
National Wildlife Week Act, 1985 [ECCC]
This Act designates the week in which April 10 occurs as National Wildlife Week. April 10 was the birthday of Jack Miner, an early Canadian waterfowl conservationist.
Canada Water Act, 1985 [ECCC]
This Act provides the legal framework for undertaking federal/provincial/territorial programs and agreements for the conservation, development and utilization of Canada’s water resources. The Minister is the federal lead for administering Canada Water Act agreements (e.g., providing secretariats for and appointing federal members to water boards) and for conducting research and monitoring in support of these agreements. The Minister is also responsible for preparing an annual report to Parliament.
International River Improvements Act, 1985 (IRIA) [ECCC]
This Act provides authority to regulate the construction, operation and maintenance of various hydraulic structures (e.g., dams, canals) that alter the flow of water out of Canada or impact the use of a receiving water body outside Canada. The Minister is responsible for issuing IRIA licences that regulate how improvements on international rivers flowing into the United States may affect water flows, levels and uses. However, the Act prohibits the Minister from issuing licenses that would allow for the bulk removal of water from rivers flowing across the international boundary. The Minister is also responsible for preparing an annual report to Parliament.
Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921 [ECCC]
This Act provides for the establishment of the Lake of the Woods Control Board, and defines its purposes and powers. The Board is responsible for regulating specified waters in the Winnipeg River basin.
Lac Seul Conservation Act, 2003 [ECCC]
This Act provides for the implementation of the Canada-Ontario-Manitoba agreement to construct a dam creating the Lac Seul reservoir in the area of the Winnipeg River basin. This is similar to a Canada Water Act agreement, but because it predates other agreements, it is handled separately. The Minister has the same responsibilities as under the Canada Water Act, and reports activities under this Act in the Canada Water Act annual report.
Climate change act
Canada Emission Reduction Incentives Agency Act, 2005 [ECCC]
This Act establishes the Canada Emission Reduction Incentives Agency, for which the Minister has overall direction and responsibility. The Act was intended as a vehicle through which Canada could meet its international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. However, the Agency is no longer operational.
Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, 2002 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act provides for the establishment of national marine conservation areas for the purpose of protecting and conserving representative marine areas for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world. It states that these areas are to be used in a sustainable manner that meets the needs of present and future generations without compromising the function and structure of marine ecosystems. It provides for zoning to ensure ecologically sustainable use.
The Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of marine conservation areas in relation to matters not assigned to any other Minister. There is a requirement to table in Parliament a management plan for national marine conservation areas within five years of their establishment and to review them every ten years. The primary considerations in the development or modification of management plans are the principles of ecosystem management and the precautionary principle. Provisions of management plans respecting fishing, aquaculture and fisheries management, and those respecting marine navigation and marine safety are subject to the agreement of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Transport, respectively.
The Minister is required to establish a management advisory committee to advise on the management plan for each marine conservation area.
The Act confers authority to make regulations relating to a wide range of issues dealt with by the Government of Canada on the management of national marine conservation areas, including:
- the protection of marine ecosystems
- the protection of cultural, historical and archaeological resources
- the management and control of renewable resource harvesting activities
- the delimitation of zones
- the restriction or prohibition or regulation of activities in marine conservation areas
Any regulations respecting fisheries management, aquaculture, fishing or marine navigation or safety requires the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans or Transport. Regulations for this Act are still under development.
Rouge National Urban Park Act, 2015 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act establishes Canada’s first national urban park, the Rouge National Urban Park, located near Toronto, Ontario. The national urban park is the newest category of protected areas within the Parks Canada Agency family, alongside national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. The Act provides for the Park’s protection and promotes nature, culture and agriculture while respecting the urban infrastructure required of Canada’s largest metropolitan area.
The Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of the national urban park, and the administration of public lands in the park. The Minister may also enter into agreements with other levels of government and other persons for the management of the park. Authority is also granted to the Minister to lease, grant easements over and issue licences of occupation for lands in the national urban park. The Act confers on the Governor in Council authority to make regulations with respect to all aspects of the management and administration of the national urban park.
Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act, 1997 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act establishes the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park in accordance with an agreement with the Government of Quebec, and provides for the marine park’s protection while encouraging its use for educational, recreational and scientific purposes. The Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of the marine park and is required to table a management plan in Parliament and review that plan every seven years. A coordinating committee makes recommendations to the Minister and the Quebec minister on the implementation of the management plan. An additional committee exists to ensure harmonization of the activities and programs of the federal and provincial governments with respect to the marine park.
The Act confers authority to make regulations over a broad range of uses relating to the management of the marine park, including:
- the protection of ecosystems
- the protection of submerged cultural resources
- zoning characteristics
- the control of the nature and type of activities within the marine park
There is currently one regulation under the Act regulating activities within the marine park.
Historic sites acts
Historic Sites and Monuments Act, 1985 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act establishes the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) and provides for the commemoration of national historic sites, persons and events. The mandate of the HSMBC is to advise the Minister on the commemoration of nationally significant aspects of Canada’s history. Following evaluation and recommendation by the HSMBC, the Minister may declare a site, event or person to be of national historic significance, and may recommend commemoration in the form of a plaque or other suitable manner. The Act also sets out particular requirements for the composition, tenure and meetings of the HSMBC, members of which are appointed by the Governor in Council.
Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, 1988 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act provides for the designation of heritage railway stations, and requires Governor in Council approval of any alteration, demolition or transfer of ownership of a designated heritage railway station. The Act requires that eligible stations (those owned by all railway companies governed by Part III of the Canada Transportation Act) be evaluated by the HSMBC. The HSMBC then advises the Minister on whether a building merits designation as a heritage railway station and on its heritage features. The Act authorizes the Minister to designate the railway station as a heritage railway station and features of the building as heritage features for the purposes of the Act. The Act provides a clear process through which proposed changes to heritage railway stations must be reviewed and approved. The Heritage Railway Stations Regulations, made pursuant to this Act, set out the manner in which public notices and applications for authorization must be made by a railway company that plans to remove, destroy, alter, sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of a heritage railway station that it owns or is under its control.
Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, 2008 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act provides for the designation of heritage lighthouses owned by the federal government, and protects the heritage character of designated lighthouses by preventing their unauthorized alteration or disposition, and by requiring that they are maintained or altered in accordance with established conservation standards. Under the Act, the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency may designate a nominated lighthouse as a heritage lighthouse, taking into account the advice of an advisory committee and criteria established by the Minister. During a 5 year mandated process that ended May 29, 2015, the Minister designated 74 heritage lighthouses. Although the process has officially ended, the Minister can still designate heritage lighthouses at any time pursuant to the Act.
National Cemetery of Canada Act, 2009 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act gives honorary recognition to Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, Ontario, as the national cemetery of Canada.
Laurier House Act, 1952 [Parks Canada Agency]
This Act provides for the administration of the property and contents of Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada and the funds in the Mackenzie King Trust Account in accordance with the will of the late Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King. The Act gives Parks Canada Agency care, custody and control of Laurier House and its contents.
Weather Modification Information Act, 1985 [ECCC]
This Act creates an obligation on any person engaged in activities aimed at weather modification to inform the Administrator (the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Meteorological Service) of any activity or action in Canada that is designed or intended to produce changes in the weather.
Canadian Environment Week Act, 1985 [ECCC]
This Act designates the week in which June 5 occurs as Canadian Environment Week. This coincides with the United Nations’ designation of June 5 as World Environment Day.
Environmental Enforcement Act, 2010 (EEA) [ECCC, Parks Canada Agency]
The bulk of the EEA was brought in force on December 10, 2010. It created the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act and amended nine Acts administered by ECCC and Parks Canada Agency, including the CEPA, the MBCA, the AEPA, the Canada National Parks Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Parks Act. The EEA introduced new sentencing provisions, enforcement authorities, and a new fine regime consisting of different ranges of fines for different categories of offenders, higher maximum fines and mandatory minimum fines for serious environmental offences. The EEA amendments to the fine regime of the MBCA, the Canada Wildlife Act and WAPPRIITA were brought into force on June 14, 2017. The EEA is scheduled for 10-year review in 2020.
Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, 2009 (EVAMPA) [ECCC]
This Act provides the legislative framework for an administrative monetary penalties regime under the nine Acts amended by the Environmental Enforcement Act as well as the Canada Water Act and CEAA 2012. The regulations to implement the Act for legislation administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada were brought into force June 14, 2017.
Federal Sustainable Development Act, 2008 (FDSA) [ECCC]
This Act requires the Minister to develop a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy every three years, which sets out goals/targets and an implementation strategy, and identifies the responsible Ministers. Consultations on the content of the strategy are required before it is adopted by the Governor in Council and involves other departments, agencies, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Parliamentary committees and the public. Departments and Agencies must also develop and table their own sustainable development strategies that comply with and contribute to the Federal Strategy.
Amendments to the FSDA that received Royal Assent in 2019 will come into force on December 1, 2020. These include increasing the number of federal organizations covered by the Act from 26 to 97 and broadening the meaning of sustainable development beyond environmental matters to include social and economic considerations.
National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act, 2017 [ECCC]
This Act outlines a plan to develop a national strategy on disposing light bulbs containing mercury in an environmentally responsible way. The Minister must report on the implementation of the Act every 5 years. A national consultation concluded in April 2019 that will inform the development of the National Strategy.
Acts for which the Minister has a secondary role or responsibility
Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, 1985 [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ECCC]
This Act is to prevent pollution of waters in the Canadian Arctic (i.e., North of 60). ECCC helps the Departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (now Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada), Natural Resources, and Transport administer regulations dealing with waste from natural resources.
Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act, 2012 [Transport Canada, ECCC]
This Act exempts the new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor from a variety of environmental approval requirements. However, the Act creates an obligation for proponents to consult and file a plan for mitigation measures on proposed works, undertakings or activities for the purpose of construction of the bridge that would otherwise require authorizations. This includes an obligation on the proponent to consult the Minister of ECCC in instances where the SARA would have otherwise required an authorization regarding a listed wildlife species.
Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology Act, 2001 [Natural Resources Canada, ECCC]
This Act establishes the Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology, the purpose of which is to provide funding for projects that meet certain eligibility requirements related to the development of sustainable development technology. The Minister of ECCC, together and in consultation with the Ministers of Industry (now Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development) and of Natural Resources, recommends members to the board of directors that are ultimately appointed by the Governor in Council.
Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, 1985 (COGOA) [Natural Resources Canada, ECCC]
This Act governs the exploration, production, processing, and transportation of oil and gas in marine areas controlled by the federal government. They do not include areas controlled by a provincial government. The purpose of the Act is to promote safety, protection of the environment, the conservation of oil and gas resources, and joint production agreements.
Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, 1987, Canada-Nova Scotia and Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, 1988 (Accord Acts) [Natural Resources Canada, ECCC, Impact Assessment Agency Canada]
These Accord Acts govern oil and gas development and activities in Canada’s offshore. The Accord Acts implement agreements between the federal and provincial governments relating to offshore petroleum resources. The Acts mirror COGOA and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, and outline the shared management of oil and gas resources in the offshore, provide for revenue sharing, and establish the respective offshore regulatory boards.
Under these Acts, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is responsible for:
- providing science advice to inform responders’ efforts to mitigate spills
- establishing a list of spill-treating agents acceptable for use
- recommending regulations relating to spill-treating agents
- authorizing deposits of oil, oil surrogates and spill-treating agents for the purpose of field research on spill-treating agents
Canada Shipping Act, 2001 [Parks Canada Agency, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada]
This Act, primarily administered by the Minister of Transport, is the principal legislation governing safety of marine transportation and recreational boating, as well as protection of the marine environment. The Governor in Council may make regulations respecting the salvage of wreck or classes of wreck on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency.
Cultural Property Export and Import Act, 1985 [Parks Canada Agency, Canadian Heritage, Canadian Border Services Agency]
This Act controls the import and export of movable cultural property and helps to ensure that cultural property of outstanding significance and national importance remains in Canada. The Act establishes the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, members of which are appointed by the Governor in Council and report to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Act authorizes the Minister of Canadian Heritage to appoint expert examiners to advise the Board and the Minister of Canadian Heritage on whether cultural property that is proposed for export is of such outstanding significance to Canada’s cultural heritage that its loss to Canada would significantly diminish the national heritage. Parks Canada Agency has been designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage as an “expert examiner.”
Department of Transport Act, 1985 [Transport Canada, Parks Canada Agency]
This Act establishes the Department of Transport, and provides the regulatory authorities for the Historic Canals Regulations and the Canal Regulations. These regulations govern the management, maintenance, use and protection of the nine historic canals administered by Parks Canada Agency and provide the necessary authorities to control various land- and water-based activities as well as navigation. The nine historic canals are: St. Peter’s Canal in Nova Scotia; Saint-Ours, Chambly, Carillon, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and Lachine canals in Quebec; and Rideau and Sault Ste. Marie canals and the Trent–Severn Waterway in Ontario. The duties and functions of the Minister of Transport under the Act with respect to these historic canals were transferred to the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency when the control and management of the canals were transferred to Parks Canada Agency between 1972 and 1979. Subsection 6(4) of the Parks Canada Agency Act confirms that Parks Canada Agency is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Historic Canals Regulations.
Dominion Water Power Act, 1985 [Indigenous Services Canada, Parks Canada Agency] (some regulations repealed)
This Act and the Dominion Water Power Regulations control the development and use of water power on any federal property and applies to water powers on Parks Canada Agency lands. The Act is administered by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
Emergency Management Act, 2007 [Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness/Public Safety Canada, ECCC]
This Act came into force on August 3, 2007 and provides for a national emergency management system. The Act created the office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP). This Minister is primarily responsible for leading and coordinating emergency management in Canada. All Ministers accountable to Parliament, including the Minister of ECCC, have a duty under the Act to prepare, test and implement an emergency preparedness plan for those risks that are within or related to each individual Minister's area of responsibility.
Energy Supplies Emergency Act, 1985 [Natural Resources Canada, Health Canada, ECCC]
This Act permits conservation of energy supplies in Canada during periods of national emergency. The Energy Supplies Allocation Board must consult with the Ministers of the Environment and Climate Change and Health before making regulations relaxing air standards.
Greenhouse Gas Technology Investment Fund Act [Natural Resources Canada, ECCC] (Repealed in 2016)
The Act was under the responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources, but the Minister of ECCC had a secondary role in making recommendations for fixing the contribution rate and number of technology investment units made by eligible contributors for the purpose of research and development of technologies or processes intended at reducing or removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This Act, enacted in 2005, was repealed by virtue of the Statutes Repeal Act.
Income Tax Act, 1985 [Finance Canada, ECCC]
The Income Tax Act provides tax benefits to landowners who donate ecologically sensitive land or a partial interest in an ecologically sensitive land to a qualified recipient. In order for the donation to qualify with Canada's Ecological Gifts Program, the Minister of ECCC is given the responsibility in the Act to certify the land as ecologically sensitive, approve the recipient to receive the gift, and certify the fair market value of the donation.
Marine Liability Act, 2001 [Transport Canada, ECCC]
This Act requires the Minister of Transport to consult the Minister of ECCC in certain circumstances relating to levies imposed under the domestic Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund.
Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, 2013 [Indigenous Services Canada, ECCC]
This Act concerns the assessment of ecosystem and socio-economic impacts of projects in the Nunavut Settlement Area, as well as land-use planning in the Area. It clearly establishes the roles and authorities of Inuit, federal and territorial governments with respect to planning and project assessment in Nunavut. Although administered by Indigenous Services Canada, the Minister of ECCC has certain responsibilities related to environmental assessments in the Nunavut Settlement Area.
Resources and Technical Surveys Act, 1985 [Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ECCC]
The Minister of ECCC is responsible for technical surveys, such as meteorological surveys. The Act enables the Minister to distribute results, sell publications and conduct relevant research.
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, [Indigenous Services Canada, ECCC]
This Act was established in the Yukon Umbrella Final Agreement and outlines the process for assessing the environmental and socio-economic effects of certain activities in Yukon. While administered by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), the Minister of ECCC can provide recommendations on the selection of members of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board and has certain responsibilities with respect to assessments conducted by the Board.
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