“ORA respectfully offer our comments as prescribed in the Canada Gazette as listed above.
The proposed Regulations Establishing Conditions for Making Regulations under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act (Regulation) fundamentally alters the intent and enforceability of one of Canada’s most important federal laws. There has also been no meaningful, transparent and open process, or effort made to consult with the general public and stakeholders. As a result of the Government of Canada’s failure to consult with Canadians and those with expertise on this issue, both the Regulation and the supporting Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement are seriously flawed.
The sweeping changes to the Fisheries Act which were introduced in 2012 have weakened one of Canada’s most important and effective water and fisheries protection laws. This has provided opportunities for government to exempt industrial and resource development from federal rules.
The proposed Regulation lacks clarity and consistency, and amounts to an abdication of its federal responsibly for protecting fish, habitat and waterways in Canada. The contradictory regulatory scheme would make it impossible for any government regulator to fulfill the purpose of the Act, which is to “provide for the sustainability and ongoing productivity of commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries”….. Continue reading
Wabagishik Rapids, Vermilion River
Excerpt: “Our intention in commenting on these bulletins is to help ensure that waterpower projects developed under the LRIA are not approved until the effects on the environment and aquatic ecosystems are fully identified, understood, and effectively mitigated. It is also vital that the public has a mandated role and a voice in these processes.
It is also disturbing that the MNR is considering all responsibility for fish habitat and fish passage as out of scope, and is divesting its interests by way of these bulletins, with no clear MNR role mentioned, to the Department of Oceans and Fisheries (DFO). This is at a time when the federal government has just announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DFO and the National Energy Board (NEB) to relinquish much of its oversight of fish habitat along pipeline corridors. This news was quietly released just before Christmas, and only highlights the need for the Ontario government to look after its own interests and not rely on federal protection for any of our crown resources. Unfortunately many elements of these bulletins do the very opposite. It is even more disturbing that this deferral was carried out despite the Fish Habitat Compliance and Referral Protocols for Ontario which was approved by government and identifies and enables roles for MNR in the matters of fish habitat and fish passage.
The exercise of reviewing these technical bulletins has been very disturbing to say the least. It is as though the bulletins were written by the waterpower industry instead of MNR. This series of bulletins reflect an abdication of the MNRs responsibilities under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA).
It is ORA’s view that this government must continue to play a strong role in ensuring effective mitigation of the impacts of development to meet their strategic directions for sustainable development; and certainly that will be what Ontario taxpayers expect. It is vital that these bulletins reflect a commitment for inter-governmental cooperation, in a holistic and collaborative way, to ensure there are no gaps in fulfilling all responsibilities and commitments legislated under LRIA.”