Consultation on proposed navigable waters to add to the Schedule of the new Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA)

From: Transport Canada

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Introduction

In February 2018, the Government of Canada introduced proposed legislation (Bill C-69) which would amend the Navigation Protection Act and rename it as the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA).

The existing Schedule to the Navigation Protection Act lists 164 navigable waters, including the 3 oceans which are defined to include navigable waters impacted by the tides up to the extent of the tidal influence.

While the Schedule of navigable waters is an important component of the navigation protection system, it is important to understand that a water does not need to be listed in the Schedule to be navigable, and that the CNWA would include protections and requirements for categories of works on all navigable waters. The purpose of the Schedule is to identify navigable waters with the greatest need for extra navigation oversight, and where project proponents must apply to Transport Canada for approval.

The proposed CNWA would establish new criteria and a better process for adding navigable waters to the Schedule of the Act.

In advance of a new process taking effect, Transport Canada committed to considering for inclusion in the Schedule of the Act those navigable waters of greatest importance to Canadians and Indigenous peoples, including eligible Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers.

In support of this commitment, Transport Canada:

  • assessed the Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers using the factors listed in the proposed CNWA
  • proposes to add 25 Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers to the Schedule of the Act following the Royal Assent of the CNWA

Objective

The purpose of this consultation is to seek comment on Transport Canada’s proposal to add 25 Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers to the Schedule of the Act, should it pass into law.

Assessment of Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers

Under the proposed CNWA, as amended by the Senate, the Minister of Transport would make a decision on which navigable waters require extra navigation oversight by being added to the Schedule, after considering the following factors:

  1. whether the navigable water is on a nautical chart issued officially by or on the authority of the Canadian Hydrographic Service;
  2. the physical characteristics of the navigable water;
  3. whether the navigable water connects to other navigable waters and, if so, how it connects to them;
  4. the safety of navigation in the navigable water;
  5. the past or current navigation in the navigable water;
  6. whether there are Indigenous peoples of Canada who navigate or have navigated the navigable water in order to exercise rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; and
  7. the cumulative impact of works on navigation in the navigable water.

Transport Canada assessed which Heritage and longest wild and free-flowing rivers warrant the extra navigation oversight associated with being listed in the Schedule of the Act.

Heritage Rivers

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) includes 42 rivers across the country recognized for their importance to Canadians and Indigenous peoples due to their natural, cultural and recreational values.

Of the 42 Heritage rivers, fifteen are already listed in the Schedule of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The remaining 27 were assessed by Transport Canada, of which a total of 21 are recommended to be added to the Schedule.

Transport Canada proposes to add the following Heritage Rivers to the Schedule:

  • Alsek River (Yukon), Arctic Red River (NWT), Bloodvein River (MB), Boundary waters/Voyageur Waterway (ON), Churchill River (SK/MB), Clearwater River (AB/SK), Coppermine River (Nunavut), Hayes River (MB), Kazan River (Nunavut), Main River (NL), Margaree River (NS), Mattawa River (ON), Restigouche River (NB), Saskatchewan River (SK/MB), Seal River (MB), Soper River (Nunavut), South Nahanni River (NWT), St. Croix River (NB), Tatshenshini River (Yukon), Thames River (ON), and Thelon River (Nunavut).

These navigable waters are recommended to be added to the Schedule due to their:

  • physical characteristics (e.g., depth, width, portion of the year during which the river is navigable) that are similar to navigable waters already listed in the Schedule, and for example, support medium to large scale recreational navigation
  • connections with other navigable waters, including Scheduled waters, creating significant aqueous highways
  • high level of evidence of past and current use for recreational and commercial navigation
  • historical and/or current usage of the waters for Indigenous peoples to exercise rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982

The six remaining Heritage Rivers (Kicking Horse River, Cowichan River, Bay du Nord River, Shelburne River, Missinaibi River, and Bonnet Plume River) are not recommended to be added to the Schedule due to limited evidence of current navigation, limited access to the rivers to support navigation, and physical characteristics that generally only support navigation by small craft.

Note: the existing entry for the Saint John River (NB) in the Schedule of the NPA is proposed to be modified to cover the full length of the river designated by CHRS: from the Canada–U.S. border to the Atlantic Ocean.

Longest wild and free-flowing rivers

Wild and free-flowing rivers are recognized for being close to their natural state, and for not being impeded by development such as dams. We assessed the 10 longest wild and free-flowing rivers in Canada - two of which are also Heritage rivers (Kazan River, and Thelon River) - against the seven CNWA factors.

None of the 10 longest wild and free-flowing rivers are listed in the Schedule of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). Of the 10 rivers assessed, 6 are recommended to be added to the Schedule.

Transport Canada proposes to add the following longest wild and free-flowing rivers to the Schedule:

  • Thelon River (NWT, Nunavut), Liard River (Yukon, BC, NWT), Anderson River (NWT), Dubawnt River (NWT, Nunavut), Horton River (NWT), Kazan River (Nunavut).

The recommendation to add these navigable waters to the Schedule is based on their:

  • physical characteristics of the navigable water that support medium to large scale navigation
  • connections with other navigable waters, including Scheduled navigable waters, which create significant aqueous highways
  • evidence of past and current recreational and commercial navigation
  • historical and/or current usage of the waters for Indigenous peoples of to exercise rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982

Four of the longest wild and free-flowing rivers (Stikine River, Taltson River, Ekwan River, and Birch River) are not recommend to be added due to limited access to the river, limited evidence of current navigation, and physical characteristics that generally only support navigation by small craft.

Share your views

Do you agree with the proposal to add these 25 navigable waters to the Schedule? Please share your views by contacting us at NPPHQ-PPNAC@tc.gc.ca by July 19, 2019.

We thank groups that have requested the addition of other navigable waters to the Schedule, and invite them to submit their completed applications through the formal application process when launched in early 2020.

Table 1: Heritage rivers already listed in the Schedule of the Navigation Protection Act

Name Entry in Schedule of Navigation Protection Act (NPA)
Thirty Mile (Yukon river) Captured by the Arctic Ocean entry in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 1, item 1), which includes all waters from the outer limit of the territorial sea up to the higher high water mean tide water level and includes all connecting waters up to an elevation intersecting with that level.
Fraser River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 4).
Athabasca River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 13).
North and South Saskatchewan Rivers Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, items 14 and 15).
Red River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 17).
St. Marys River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 20).
Detroit River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 21).
French River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 23).
Grand River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 26).
Humber River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 29).
Rideau River Captured by the Rideau Canal entry in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 49).
Ottawa River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 52).
Saint John River Listed in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 2, item 60).
Hillsborough Captured by the Atlantic Ocean entry in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 1, item 97), which includes all waters from the outer limit of the territorial sea up to the higher high water mean tide water level and includes all connecting waters up to an elevation intersecting with that level.
Three Rivers (the Cardigan, Brudenell and Montague / Valleyfield rivers) Captured by the Atlantic Ocean entry in the Schedule of the NPA (Part 1, item 97), which includes all waters from the outer limit of the territorial sea up to the higher high water mean tide water level and includes all connecting waters up to an elevation intersecting with that level.

Table 2: Proposed 25 navigable waters to add to the Schedule

Name Approximate Downstream Point Approximate Upstream Point Description Province/s
Alsek River 59°26′03″ N,
137°58′19″ W
60°39′03″ N,
137°48′25″ W
From the confluence of the Dezadeash River and the Kaskawulsh River to the Canada–U.S. border Yukon, British Columbia
Tatshenshini River 59°28′24″ N,
137°44′21″ W
59°51′42″ N,
136°39′21″ W
From Goat Creek to the Alsek River Yukon
Arctic Red River 67°25′35″ N,
133°45′40″ W
64°31′20″ N,
131°32′18″ W
From Backbone Range, Mackenzie Mountains, to the Mackenzie River Northwest Territories
Anderson river 69°40′35″ N,
128°58′11″ W
66°57′20″ N,
124°34′23″ W
From Lac des Bois to the Arctic Ocean Northwest Territories
Horton River 70°13′24″ N,
127°32′45″ W
67°48′40″ N,
120°34′26″ W
From the Haldane River to the Amundsen Gulf Northwest Territories
South Nahanni River 61°03′03″ N,
123°20′30″ W
62°59′01″ N,
129°37′23″ W
From Mount Christie to the Liard River Northwest Territories
Liard River 61°50′55″ N,
121°18′35″ W
61°14′12″ N,
131°37′39″ W
From Mount Lewis to the Mackenzie River Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories
Coppermine River 67°49′09″ N,
115°04′30″ W
64°51′17″ N,
110°25′41″ W
From Lac de Gras to the Coronation Gulf Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Clearwater River 56°44′51″ N,
111°23′03″ W
57°43′14″ N,
109°22′30″ W
From Broach Lake to the Athabasca River Alberta, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan River 53°27′43″ N,
105°04′08″ W
53°11′08″ N,
99°15′24″ W
From the confluence of the North Saskatchewan River and the South Saskatchewan River to Lake Winnipeg Saskatchewan
Dubawnt River 63°33′49″ N,
100°42′29″ W
64°30′35″ N,
100°05′40″ W
From Dubawnt Lake to the Thelon River Nunavut
Bloodvein River 51°47′25″ N,
96°43′02″ W
51°11′58″ N,
94°22′51″ W
From Red Lake to Lake Winnipeg Manitoba, Ontario
Kazan River 64°02′26″ N,
95°28′49″ W
61°15′06″ N,
100°58′00″ W
From Ennadai Lake to Baker Lake Nunavut
Seal River 59°04′22″ N,
94°47′44″ W
58°49′44″ N,
97°35′39″ W
From Shethanei Lake to Hudson Bay Manitoba
Churchill River 58°47′23″ N,
94°12′22″ W
55°49′03″ N,
108°22′44″ W
From Churchill Lake to Hudson Bay Saskatchewan, Manitoba
Hayes River 57°00′16″ N,
92°08′10″ W
55°12′03″ N,
94°18′57″ W
From Knee Lake to Hudson Bay Manitoba
Thelon River 63°23′06″ N,
90°42′37″ W
62°20′37″ N,
105°57′16″ W
From Whitefish Lake to Hudson Bay Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Boundary Waters /
Voyageur Waterway
47°59′50″ N,
89°34′37″ W
48°21′39″ N,
92°03′54″ W
Boundary waters between Canada and U.S. from Lake Superior to Lac La Croix. Refer to Table 3 for list of waters included. Ontario
Thames River 42°19′09″ N,
82°27′15″ W
43°17′01″ N,
80°46′14″ W
From the Town of Tavistock to Lake St. Clair Ontario
Mattawa River 46°18′48″ N,
79°15′55″ W
46°19′11″ N,
78°42′27″ W
From the Ottawa River to Trout Lake Ontario
Soper River 62°54′25″ N,
69°50′41″ W
63°32′39″ N,
69°32′43″ W
From the highlands of the Meta Incognita Peninsula to Soper Lake Nunavut
Restigouche River 47°59′28″ N,
66°46′10″ W
47°39′52″ N,
67°29′28″ W
From confluence of the Little Main Restigouche River and the Kedgwick River to the Gulf of St. Lawrence New Brunswick
St. Croix River 45°09′54″ N,
67°10′47″ W
45°34'09" N,
67°25'38" W
From the Chiputneticook Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean New Brunswick
Margaree River 46°26′33″ N,
61°06′46″ W
46°20′08″ N,
61°05′33″ W
From the Margaree River fork to the Atlantic Ocean Nova Scotia
Main River 49°45′52″ N,
56°54′34″ W
49°58′47″ N,
57°23′37″ W
From the Long Range Mountains to White Bay Newfoundland and Labrador

Table 3: Waters included in proposed Boundary Waters / Voyageur Waterway

The CHRS River Boundary Waters / Voyageur Waterway is comprised of a series of river channels and lakes that form an aqueous highway from Lake Superior to Lac La Croix. The following rivers and lakes are included in the Boundary Waters / Voyageur Waterway.

Name Approximate Location (Lakes) Approximate Downstream Point (Rivers) Approximate Upstream Point (Rivers)
South Fowl Lake 48°03’17N,
89°59’29W
   
North Fowl Lake 48°05’06N,
90°01’05W
   
Moose Lake 48°06’16N,
90°04’43W
   
Mountain Lake 48°06’32N,
90°11’59W
   
Watap Lake 48°06’24N,
90°18’23W
   
Rove Lake 48°05’45N,
91°21’41W
   
Rose Lake 48°06°31N,
90°25’14W
   
Rat Lake 48°06’00N,
90°29’58W
   
South Lake 48°06’01N,
90°32’06W
   
North Lake 48°07’27N,
90°31’13W
   
Little North Lake 48°07'25N,
90°34’34W
   
Little Gun Flint Lake 48°07’04N,
90°35’59W
   
Gunflint Lake 48°06’12N,
90°41’00W
   
Magnetic Lake 48°06’18N,
90°45’29W
   
Clove Lake 48°08’16N,
90°47’47W
   
Granite Lake 48°08’55N,
90°46’37W
   
Gneiss Lake 48°10’54N,
90°48’09W
   
Maraboeuf Lake 48°11’50N,
90°50’00W
   
Saganaga Lake 48°15’42N,
90°52’47W
   
Swamp Lake 48°11’30N,
91°02’20W
   
Ottertrack Lake 48°10’15N,
91°06’08W
   
Knife Lake 48°05’20N,
91°14’58W
   
Seed Lake 48°04’34N,
91°18’59W
   
Melon Lake 48°04’12N,
91°19’49W
   
Carp Lake 48°05’15N,
91°19’42W
   
Birch Lake 48°03’30N,
91°24’05W
   
Sucker Lake 48°02’59N,
91°26’04W
   
Basswood Lake 48°06’43N,
91°32’42W
   
Crooked Lake 48°13’02N,
91°48’32W
   
Iron Lake 48°14’20N,
91°57’07W
   
Bottle Lake 48°15’18N,
91°57’55W
   
Lac La Croix 48°22’02N,
92°05’58W
   
Pigeon River   47°57’562N,
89°34’12W
48°06’41N,
90°08’52W
Arrow River   48°05’43N,
90°21’09W
48°06’10N,
90°23’54W
Pine River   48°07’00N,
90°46’10W
48°08’09N,
90°47’43W
Granite River   48°02’32N,
90°47’30W
48°13’52N,
90°50’21W
Basswood River   48°06’19N,
91°38’52W
48°09’30N,
91°42’18W

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