Apply to the NPP

This section of our website provides information for owners of works about their obligations and options under the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). This is summary information intended for general guidance.

What you should know before applying to the NPP

If you are not familiar with the terms used by the NPP, follow the links to our FAQ page:

Our Guidance Material includes information intended to assist owners of works (and their agents) in determining whether or not they need to apply to the NPP. After self-assessment, if you are still not sure about whether or not you need to apply, contact the NPP

Major projects

Owners in the industry or government sectors who are planning major projects that are likely to have significant impacts on navigable waters are encouraged to contact the NPP early in the planning stages of their project. Examples of major projects include natural resource extraction and large infrastructure such as dams.

Proponents of major resource projects should also review the information available on Natural Resources Canada's Major Projects Management Office website.

Preparing a Notice to the Minister

Applying to the NPP involves preparing a "Notice to the Minister". The NPA requires that a Notice to the Minister be submitted by any owner who proposes to construct, place, alter, repair, rebuild, remove or decommission a work in a waterway on the List of Scheduled Waters, unless the work meets the criteria set out in the Minor Works Order.

Notice to the Minister is also required for works in non-scheduled navigable waters where owners of authorized works have either received an approval via an Opt-in Request or not exercised their option to opt out of the NPA regime. 

The requirement to submit a Notice applies even if the work has already begun or has been completed.

A Notice to the Minister refers to all of the owner's submission requirements, including the NPP Notice of Works form and other relevant information required for the review of the work (for example, documentation relating to Aboriginal consultation and environmental review).

To assist owners in preparing their Notice to the Minister, the NPP creates application forms and guidance documents.

Go to: Forms and Guidance Documents 

What happens after you submit a Notice to the Minister

The NPP has a process in place for managing submissions:

Screening: When the NPP receives a Notice to the Minister, the Notice is first screened to make sure that the work is subject to the NPA, all required information has been provided, and it is not a designated work.

  • 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.

Assessment: Following the initial screening, the Notice to the Minister is assigned to an NPP Officer and the work is assessed for likelihood of interference with navigation.  Sometimes other steps may be required, such as an environmental review, Aboriginal consultation, or public advertising.

Decision: Following the navigation impact assessment, the work may be issued an approval or deemed a permitted work. Approval may be denied if the impacts to navigation are unacceptable. Terms and conditions may apply to an approved work or a permitted work.

  • Approved works are works that are approved by the Minister after being assessed as likely to substantially interfere with navigation.
  • Permitted works are works that may proceed in accordance with the Act without the Minister's approval, after determination by the Minister that they are not likely to substantially interfere with navigation. These works are deemed compliant with the NPA if they meet regulatory requirements and any terms and conditions applied to the project.

Works may be monitored by the NPP for compliance.

Date modified: