Navigation Protection Program

From Transport Canada

The Navigation Protection Program (NPP) administers and enforces the Navigation Protection Act.

The NPP is responsible for determining whether a boat meets the definition of an abandoned and/or wrecked boat. Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program (ABP) provides funding for the removal of abandoned and/or wrecked boats posing a hazard in Canadian waters. To be eligible for funding to remove a boat through the ABP, applicants must first get authorization from the NPP to take possession of it.

To find out whether a boat meets the criteria and apply for permission to remove and dispose of the boat, contact an NPP regional office.

Review of the Navigation Protection Act

On June 20, 2016, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced a review of changes to the Navigation Protection Act, which will include taking time to seek and consider the views of Canadians.

This review is one part of a broader strategy to review environmental and regulatory processes that apply to resource development and infrastructure investment projects.

About the Navigation Protection Program

The NPP reviews and authorizes “works” in navigable waters.

A “work” is any structure, device or thing — temporary or permanent — made by humans that is in, on, over, under, though or across any navigable water. “Works” also include the dumping of fill or excavation of materials from the bed of any navigable water.

In authorizing works, we:

  • evaluate impacts to navigation
  • minimize risks to navigation through our decisions and compliance activities

The works, and other provisions, are organized into different regimes:

  • Works – our main activity, described above
  • Obstructions – management of obstructions in scheduled navigable waters
  • Depositing/throwing and dewatering activities – enforcing prohibitions against depositing or throwing material (such as mine tailings) into navigable waters, and dewatering of navigable waters

The first two regimes are focused primarily on Canada’s busiest waterways, which are listed on the Schedule to the Navigation Protection Act. The prohibitions apply to all navigable waters in Canada.

The NPP also has responsibilities under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. We conduct reviews and render decisions under navigation-related authorities, including the Receiver of Wreck Program and Private Buoy Regulations.

How we serve Canadians

NPP staff work closely with our clients — usually the owners of works — and our other partners, including the Transport Canada Aboriginal Consultation Unit and Environmental Management, throughout the process of managing submissions to the NPP that fall within our areas of responsibility.

Our regional managers and officers are directly involved in activities and operations that can impact navigation, and are often the first point of contact for our clients. Headquarters personnel provide national coordination and expertise. Together we serve clients that include:

  • Canada’s industrial sectors
  • all levels of government
  • stakeholders in the tourism and recreation sector
  • private property owners
  • the general public

Although our initial client is usually the applicant who seeks an answer as to whether and how they may proceed with a work, NPP review and approval of a work is done in the service of public interests that go beyond the applicant’s requirements. Considerations may include:

  • safety of navigation
  • access to waterways
  • recreational and traditional use of navigable waters
  • environmental impacts of the work

Contact the Navigation Protection Program

Contact an NPP regional office.

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