Authorizing works

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The primary purpose of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) is to balance the public right to navigate with the need to construct works (e.g., bridges and dams). There are three main parts to the Act, the first deals with authorizing works.

What information does Transport Canada require to evaluate an application for a work?

The minimum information requirements include:

  • Map indicating the exact location of the work
  • Legal site description and work position (in latitude and longitude)
  • Top and side plan view drawings complete with all relevant dimensions
  • Side profile view drawings complete with all relevant dimensions
  • Project description (detailing the project)
  • Construction methodology (outlining how the work will be undertaken)
  • Anticipated start and end dates

Works that require authorization under the Navigation Protection Act

A purpose of the NPA is to regulate works on navigable waters in Canada that may interfere with navigation. Any owner wanting to construct, place, alter, repair, rebuild, remove or decommission a work on a Scheduled Water must submit a Notice of Works.

A work, for purposes of the NPA, is anything manmade that is in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water in Canada. Examples of typical works are: bridges, aerial cables, dams and markings for aquaculture sites. A work can also include the dumping of fill or the excavation of materials from the bed of any navigable water.

Review and Authorization of Works

Review and Authorization of Works Chart
Long Descriptions
  • Notice received for Proposed Work on a Scheduled waterway
    • Approved Work
      • Section 6 applies - Terms and Conditions may be imposed and subject to monitoring and enforcement
    • Permitted Work
      • Section 9 applies - Terms and Conditions may be imposed and subject to monitoring and enforcement
    • Designated Work
      • Minor Works Order applies - Project may proceed without Notice under the NPA

Approved works are works that are approved by the Minister of Transport after being assessed as likely to substantially interfere with navigation. For the purposes of the NPA, likely to substantially interfere with navigation means that the work will, for example, significantly change the way vessels pass down a navigable waterway, or may make passage dangerous to the public. When a work is assessed as substantially interfering with navigation, section 6 of the NPA applies.

Permitted works are works that may proceed without the Minister of Transport’s approval, after determination by the Minister that they do not substantially interfere with navigation. For the purposes of the NPA, not likely to substantially interfere with navigation means that the work will, for example, not change a vessel’s passage in a significant way or make it more dangerous to navigate the waterway. When a work is assessed as not substantially interfering with navigation, section 9 of the NPA applies. These works are deemed compliant with the NPA, if they meet regulatory requirements and any terms and conditions applied to the project.

Designated works are works that may proceed without Notice under the NPA, as long as they comply with the requirements of the Minor Works Order.

Transport Canada’s Navigation Protection Program reviews works to evaluate and minimize potential impacts to navigation through its decisions and compliance activities.

Key differences between the NPA and the former Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA)

Under the NPA, the List of Scheduled Waters removes the need to first determine the navigability of a waterway. New authorizations are only necessary for works on Scheduled waters.

Under the NPA, the owner is no longer automatically required to advertise information on their project, although they may be required by the Minister of Transport to do so.

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