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Canadian Canoe Routes

Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!
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Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 22nd, 2019, 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

If you ever wondered why you should be part of a organized group recognized by the Governments.
This is just one reason.
I also thank any of the members here who patiently read the numerous posts I have put up on this subject over the years and made comments on the posts and sent in their own comments.

So 11 years of battling for paddle rights in Canada came to fruition yesterday June 21, 2019.

Omni Bus Bill C-69 received Royal Assent!
The part that concerns all us paddle craft people is now known as -
Canadian Navigable Waters Act ... g#enH13951

Many of you would be much more familiar with the environmental assessments that have been in the news recently in relation to this bill.
But for those of us from all outdoor groups across the country that made numerous submissions over the years, we have a reason to celebrate!

No it is not perfect, but the changes make a huge difference in what is recognized what can be paddled and by what.

There are many paddle issues that still need addressing and many paddle issues that are still open to interpretation, but this is a great start!

Through most of these years the members of the Wilderness Canoe Association and their Board have let me represent them and the interests of them and all paddle craft in this serious issue to our rights of accessing rivers and I thank them for giving me this great opportunity.

The achievement to get these changes to be given Royal Assent to this act is truly inspiring and I was only one of many of a great team. This team covered virtually every outdoor group, all had the same goal and even though we all represented our own interests, we were all surprising on the same page as to what changes we were looking for.

During this Canada week, go for a paddle!
I ask you to do this as a tribute to the thousands of people who worked countless hours to bring all paddlers to this point!

Jeff McColl
Conservation Chair
Wilderness Canoe Association.

Author:  open_side_up [ June 22nd, 2019, 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Thanks for your efforts on our behalf Jeff! :thumbup: :thumbup:

Author:  Dave_k [ June 23rd, 2019, 6:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Ditto OSU's comment. As a new member of WCA I wasn't aware an official involvement by WCA in promoting paddlers rights. I had only seen your post in this forum discussing paddlers issues.

I read the link you provided and others than listing transport for recreational purposes in 47 (3), interfering with navigation 7 (1) and public access (somewhere in there) the language is general making it more challenging (than I'm up for tackling on a Sunday morning read) to appreciate more concrete examples of how it would affect paddlers and improve their rights. Is there some previous posts or article that articulates this?


Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 23rd, 2019, 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

So where would you start, With my interaction with the Credit river lawsuit in the 80's?
There are more than a ton of posts here that can be found.
Links to the old law in 2012 can also be found.
Re-writing that many years of posts is not going to happen.
Facebook version is that it is a new more better defined tool that Outdoor groups can use.
It is the first time in Canadian history that recreational navigation is now recognized which is a major jump.
Being new here is a chance to become involved.
There are many different issues that involve paddling access, protection, preservation that need passionate informed people behind them.
As I reported in one of my annual reports to the AGM of WCA that the definitions of what was navigable under the rules that became law in 2012 were as clear as mud.
All it takes is a little time, and persistance.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 23rd, 2019, 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

These were submitted and on the record.
Typos and grammer mistakes included.

WCA’s First submission to C-68!At15DzCqc9gwiWHyw6mTGuoWsq9K

Response to changes before heading to Senate.!At15DzCqc9gwjEnS_AXlbKxMrJZA

This is as easy as it gets for finding the history of this.

Author:  frozentripper [ June 23rd, 2019, 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Good work Jeff... it'll be interesting to see how interpretation works out with obstructions on "minor" works, those that are judged (?) to interfere "slightly" with navigation. If I've read the amendments right, a public posting/consultation and an application to the government will be all that's necessary for a proponent to get the work done. I'd expect farmers and ranchers to have something to say about this with the thousands of fences that must be crossing waterways. Also existing dams and proposed construction of dams for hydroelectricity which is part of any green energy strategy. If a proposed dam is judged to be a minor obstruction, approval could go ahead with minimal public notification after application.

The newly revised wording of the NPA doesn't seem to be in place yet online, and I don't remember what it stated on Ministers being able to grant exemptions to obstructions. Will spend more time reading later.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 23rd, 2019, 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

The thing about new projects is with the wording here is that we may be able to negotiate a much more reasonable portage route around the built "obstruction"
There was talk in Toronto about this yesterday with developments in and around Toronto Harbour. I know of two other groups with issues a mentioned they should watch for this getting Royal Assent as the wording is much more favourable to them now.

Author:  Gerald Guay [ June 24th, 2019, 4:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Merci beaucoup Jeff.


Author:  GHOSLO [ June 24th, 2019, 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Yah !
Well done.

Author:  frozentripper [ June 27th, 2019, 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

The amendments to the NPA are in the bottom quarter of this page: ... 5056bc7996

Reading through some sections most relevant to canoe routes, it's evident that most routes will not be considered to be navigable waters in the Schedule of about 160 lakes and rivers listed for hard protection. Instead, most canoe routes will be considered "minor waters".

There will be considerable judgement required by the Minister, and the MOT, when it comes to minor works on minor waters (major works will require close oversight). Here's what the previous NPA defined, lots of latitude in the Minister's power to affect development approvals (any development and water can be considered minor if the Minister wants it so):

Minister’s power

(2) The Minister may make an order

(a) designating any works as minor works;

(b) designating, as minor waters, any of the navigable waters, in whole or in part, that are listed in the schedule;

This has been amended to:

Replaced with...

(4) Paragraphs 28(2)‍(a) to (d) of the Act are replaced by the following:

(a) designating any works that are likely to slightly interfere with navigation as minor works;

(b) designating any works that are likely to substantially interfere with navigation as major works; and

(c) respecting the construction, placement, alteration, rebuilding, removal, decommissioning, repair, maintenance, operation, use or safety of works in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable waters.

What does "slightly" actually mean... a lot depends on the judgment and political leanings of the Minister.

Here's what can be now done with minor works (those not needing hard review) on minor waters (those not in the list in the Schedule of ~160 navigable lakes and rivers), post-amendment:

Works in Navigable Waters not Listed in Schedule

Application or notice

10 (1) If an owner proposes to construct, place, alter, rebuild, remove or decommission a work — other than a major work or a minor work — in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water that is not listed in the schedule, he or she must either

(a) make an application for an approval to the Minister, in the form and manner, and containing the information, specified by the Minister; or

(b) deposit any information specified by the Minister in any place specified by the Minister and publish a notice in any manner, and including any information, specified by the Minister.

So the need to provide public notice isn't a hard requirement... if the obstruction is judged to only "slightly" interfere with navigation, it will be judged as a minor work on a minor water and an application to MOT and an approval on paper may all be that's required. The development might go ahead without the public being aware since no public notice is required.

Another thing... I couldn't find any reference to Environmental Assessments being triggered as they were in the past, with the old NWPA... so the government's promise to "restore lost protections" doesn't seem to be there at the moment. Maybe there's more coming but this all seems pretty loose and subjective, depending on the political and economic leanings of whatever Minister and government in power.

Anyway, interpretation and execution on the ground are what counts... it remains to be seen just how effective the new act actually is when protecting the public right to navigation.

PS............ and the new amendments still haven't been worked into the online wording of the NPA... still there in the old form.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 27th, 2019, 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Yeah still waiting to see a copy of the final wording.
One thing that all outdoor people agreed and mentioned during the varous hearings and submissions was the protection of the watersheds should be under the Environmental laws as the "hard protection" the way it is written now really is no protection at all and can be dismissed by a Minister with no advance notice.
Inclusion of what a vessel is and how it is powered and whether it is recreational is a first.
Not all great but a major plus considereding the definitions harper had put in.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ July 3rd, 2019, 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

They sent me a link today with the official wording as passed.
They left the wording intact on the Navigable Waters act which is good.
I can understand why people might be upset with no mention of protected waters, but as stated before there were so many water sheds left off the original list that all the outdoor groups thought it was best that protection be left under the environmental laws.
Which in the future they will leave the Navigation laws relatively unscathed.
The simple straight forward explanation on what is navigable and what is a vessel is a major bonus which should enable us to have a seat at the table when they have major projects.
A good example of that would be the White River flowing into Pukaskwa where paddling interests were completely ignored. What can be done this late in the game now will have to be seen.
We will just have to see how this will play out when we have our first issue that we need to be involved with. ... yal-assent

Author:  Paddle Power [ July 3rd, 2019, 7:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bill C-69 gets Royal assent!

Many thanks for all the hard work.

I’d be honoured to paddle this week as requested.

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