The transition to the new Fisheries Act provisions provides an opportunity to S. 35(2) authorization holders to amend, or cancel where no longer required, an existing authorization. On November 25, 2013, significant amendments to the Fisheries Act came into force. These amendments include a shift from the prohibition against causing the “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat” to a prohibition against “serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support that fishery” (s. 35). For a full review see our ALERT dated November 26, 2013.

Key changes include:

  • Existing authorizations for impacts to fish and fish habitat issued under the former Act (sections 32 and 35(2)) are now subject to Transitional Provisions under the new Act.
  • Authorizations issued under the former Act will remain valid, meaning an existing authorization holder is authorized for “serious harm to fish” under the new Act; however, an authorization holder may request a review of an existing authorization by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to confirm whether it could be amended or is no longer required.
  • Requests for a review of an existing authorization must be filed by February 24, 2014.
  • Supporting documentation should accompany the request for a review, including specific detail as to which aspects of the authorization should or could be amended. The requirement for that supporting documentation effectively means preparing an application for amendment or cancelation of an existing authorization must get underway now to be ready to submit by the deadline.
  • A determination on the review application will be made on or before June 23, 2014.

BLG’s Environmental Focus Group would be pleased to assist you if you have questions on the transition process.


Emma Blanchard


Droit de l'environnement