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Water Today Title November 25, 2017

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The Changing of the guard
Environment and Climate Change Canada


WaterToday has been contacting federal departments over the past months to see what if anything might change under a new Liberal Goverment.

Although it is early in the game and most ministers have yet to thoroughly assess their portfolio, the answers we got to the questions we specifically addressed to Catherine McKenna, Environment and Climate Change Minister, leave us wondering... You be the judge. Our questions and the minister's answers are below.

Q1. The milestone COP21 agreement has no enforcement mechanism other than a 5-year review procedure, what specific goals does Canada hope to meet and how does it intend to achieve them?
Q2. To be successful the Paris agreement has to have a trickle-down effect, what measures/regulatory framework do you see setting up to ensure that the private sector is on board?

A1. The Government of Canada will also support Canadian communities and the economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure and clean technologies. Not only will these strategic investments help tackle climate change, they will also create jobs.

All Canadians, including Canadian businesses and members of the civil society, will have an opportunity to be part of the solution and to help build a low-carbon economy.

Q3. While in opposition, the Liberal party was vocal about the lack of a national water act and the need for a department of water at the federal level. Is this still on the agenda?

The Government of Canada has a comprehensive approach to help ensure clean, secure and sustainable water resources for present and future generations.

Water is a shared responsibility. Environment and Climate Change Canada cooperates with other federal departments, provinces, territories, municipalities, Aboriginal peoples, industry, and other interested groups, to protect Canada's fresh and coastal waters.

Environment and Climate Change Canada contributes to the protection of Canada's water resources through monitoring, research, regulation, and involvement in transboundary governance.

Q4. The new Navigation Protection Act eliminates the vast majority of water bodies in Canada. With the proliferation of cyanobacteria due phosphorous and climate change, how can we reduce nutrients when most of the water bodies that carry them are unprotected small streams and ditches?

The Navigation Protection Act (NPA) came into force on April 1, 2014 and protects navigation and navigation safety by regulating works constructed or placed in, on, over, under, through, or across, Canada's busiest navigable waters.

    The NPA: Establishes a scheduled list of Canada's busiest waterways where approval is required for works that risk substantially interfering with navigation.

    Introduces new offences and penalties for non-compliance with the Act.

    Requires builders of works who construct, place, alter, repair, rebuild, remove or decommission a work in a scheduled water, to notify the Minister of Transport.

    Prohibits the depositing or throwing of materials in navigable waters and the dewatering of navigable waters that could impact on navigation.

    Canadian waters will also continue to be protected by Transport Canada's marine safety laws, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and various provincial statutes.

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