Fish Habitat Protection

About the Review

A clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. We have a responsibility to steward our resources with care, and we are committed to improving the tools we use to protect the environment and ensure the sustainability of Canada's fisheries.

The Fisheries Act gives the government authority to manage Canadian fisheries and to protect the habitat that supports them.

On November 13, 2015, the Prime Minister mandated the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to review the previous Government’s changes to the Fisheries Act, restore lost protections, and incorporate modern safeguards.

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with the Minister of Transport, asked Parliament's Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to examine recent changes to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act and to hear from Canadians.

Let’s Talk Fish Habitat

Canadians are invited to share their views on program and policy options for a revised Fisheries Act. Have your say until August 28, 2017.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is seeking further advice on how to restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards through legislative, policy and program changes. Join the conversation and share your views on potential modern safeguards to better protect fish and fish habitat.

This review is part of the 2012 review of changes to the Fisheries Act. Last fall we asked Canadian to share their views on how we can best protect fish and fish habitat in Canada.

Parliamentary Committee

As an independent and public forum, a parliamentary committee can hear from witnesses including experts. All Canadians were welcomed to submit briefs or ask to appear as witnesses. The parliamentary committee released their report in early 2017.

The Government of Canada provided its response to the parliamentary committee’s report in June 2017.

Other ways we are engaging Canadians

Provinces and Territories

  • We are working with our provincial and territorial partners through the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM).

Indigenous groups

No relationship is more important to our Government and to Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples. Reconciliation must guide partnerships with Indigenous peoples, recognizing and respecting their rights and interests, their deep connections to traditional lands and territories and their desire to participate as partners in the economic development of their territories.

Indigenous peoples have expressed appreciation that the Government of Canada is working towards fulfilling its commitment to review the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act and for having had the opportunity to meet with regional Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials. However, concerns have been expressed about the engagement process, including its short timelines and delays in funding, which has limited meaningful participation in the review. Going forward, Fisheries and Oceans Canada commits to engaging with Indigenous peoples in a way that respects the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

Key dates and activities

  • Fall 2016
    • Canadians shared their views at letstalkfishhabitat.ca
    • Parliamentary committee began its review
    • Participant funding was provided to Indigenous groups
    • Engagement continued with provinces and territories
  • Early 2017
    • Parliamentary committee submitted its report and recommendations to Parliament
  • Summer 2017
    • The Government of Canada formally responded to the Parliamentary committee’s report.
    • The Government of Canada is seeking further advice on potential modern safeguards to better protect fish and fish habitat at letstalkfishhabitat.ca.

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  • @DFO_MPO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

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