Navigation Protection Act

The Navigation Protection Act (NPA) is the result of the 2012 amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA)—one of Canada’s oldest pieces of legislation.

Legislative amendments to the NWPA were introduced in Parliament on October 18, 2012, as part of Bill C-45, and received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012.

After the passage of the amendments, Transport Canada modified the renamed Navigation Protection Program to provide for a smooth transition to the administration and enforcement of the NPA.

The NPA came into force on April 1, 2014.

What’s new in the NPA

Highlights of new provisions in the NPA include:

  • changing the name to better reflect the Act’s intent;
  • adding a schedule to the Act that lists those navigable waters for which regulatory approval is required for works that risk a substantial interference with navigation; and
  • offering owners of works in non-scheduled navigable waters the opportunity of opt-in, rendering these works subject to the Act.

For more details, go to: FAQs

The List of Scheduled Waters

The introduction of the List of Scheduled Waters (also referred to as the schedule) is one of the most significant changes in the 2012 amendments. The NPP refers to “scheduled” and “non-scheduled” navigable waters to indicate waterways that are or are not listed on the schedule to the Act.

The List of Scheduled Waters includes the busiest waterways in Canada. These are navigable waters that support busy commercial or recreation-related navigation. They are accessible by ports and marinas, and are often close to heavily populated areas.

Selecting the waterways for inclusion on the schedule to the Act was done through an analysis which researched Canada’s waterways according to a number of factors, using recognized data sources. Historical importance and local knowledge were also considered.

View the List of Scheduled Waters

Whether or not a waterway is included on the schedule affects the obligations and options available to owners of works, and how submissions to the NPP are managed. In addition, there are a number of transitional provisions that took effect when the NPA came into force. 

For guidance, go to: Apply to the NPP

The public right of navigation—the right to use navigable waters as a highway—continues to be protected in Canada by Common Law, whether the waterway is listed on the schedule to the Act or not.