Top Ten Changes to the Fisheries Act: Conservatives Open the Door to Development at the Cost of Environment, Water, Fish

This is an analysis prepared by West Coast Environmental Law and Ecojustice to summarize how the changes that the Harper government proposes will affect environmental protection in Canada.

Read the full original document at the WCEL website

Read “Why the Budget Act is bad news for fish

What Bill C-38 means for the environment

1. Changes to the Fisheries Act mean that the law may no longer protect all fish and
the waters where they live.
The new protection framework could exclude many fish and watercourses. Generally,
habitat protection will only include permanent alteration or destruction of “commercial,
recreational or aboriginal fisher(ies)” habitat and some activities will be exempt from the
law regardless of how much damage they cause. The federal government will also be
able to hand over the power to authorize destruction of fish habitat to provincial
governments or other entities, which is worrisome.

2. No maximum time limits on permits allowing impacts on species at risk.
This means that there will no longer be any guaranteed review to evaluate ongoing
impacts to endangered species. These potential ‘perpetual’ permits could continue even
where there is a drastic decline in the population of a species affected by the permitted
activity.

3. The National Energy Board (NEB) will be exempted from species at risk
protections.
The NEB will no longer have to ensure that measures have been taken to minimize
impacts on the critical habitat of at-risk species before the NEB approves a pipeline or
other major infrastructure. For example, Continue reading