The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced the introduction of amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The Act governs the construction of bridges and other obstructions that might interfere with the safe navigation of marine traffic.

To allow for important infrastructure to be built on waterways, the Act requires that every project on a waterway in Canada receive the approval of the federal government, which creates significant delays and unnecessary red tape for cities and communities across Canada.

The proposed amendments will:

• clearly list the major waterways for which regulatory approval is required prior to the placement or construction of a work;

• allow proponents of works in unlisted waters to seek approval of their proposed work prior to commencement of actual work, to give them additional legal certainty;

• expand the list of low risk works (like minor repairs on bridges) that can be pre-approved because they pose very little or no risk to safe navigation; and

• change the name of this law to the Navigation Protection Act to reflect its historic intent.

Under the amended Act, small municipal projects and small recreational docks, with minor or no impact on navigation, could proceed without the need for volumes of information to be processed and approved.