Permits for Shoreline Work / Crown Land – OVERVIEW

December 2016 – The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently released information regarding projects near water and whether the work will require a permit to be issued. Use the criteria on the DFO’s website to determine if your project will require a review.

UPDATE: August 2015 – In Section 89 of the recent “boathouse” Court ruling (and elsewhere in the judge’s comments), the judge ruled that anyone building anything over the water needs a permit (note this section should read 15 METRES, not FEET)– and that MNR does NOT currently have the legal right to waive this . See the whole ruling, here.

FOCA has been told to expect an imminent and potentially dramatic permitting response from MNRF, which is expected to be shared with FOCA in September 2015. This will include the MNRF’s  proposed (interim, and longer-term) approach to addressing the regulatory gap.

With some changes as recommended by FOCA, and others, the MNR changed the work permit requirements for the following activities, effective January 1, 2014:

• Maintenance dredging;

• Relocation of rocks and/or boulders for boating and swimming access;

• Mechanical removal of native aquatic vegetation for swimming or boating access;

• Mechanically removing invasive aquatic vegetation.

• Construction of buildings for mineral exploration and development;

• Maintenance, repair or replacement of existing erosion control structures.

These changes are related to O. Reg. 239/13 and permits made under the Public Lands Act – Activities on Public Lands and Shore Lands – Work Permits and Exemptions.


Details about when you need (or don’t need) a permit (from the MNRF website).


Some further Background:

December 2012: Important Changes proposed re: Land Use Planning on Crown Lands

Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Modernization of Approvals Initiative

In 2013 MNR released a policy paper describing how they plan to “modernize” their approvals process and remove a number of regulatory controls, including eliminating the need for approvals from MNR where an activity will have “little impact”. The approach will instead rely on establishing rules that must be complied with.

Work permits are a regulatory tool used by the MNR to control specific activities occurring on public lands, including the beds of most navigable waters, and shore lands. This includes constructing or placing a building; constructing a road, trail or water crossing; dredging or filling shore lands; and the removal of aquatic vegetation.

The proposal considered means that proponents would no longer be required to obtain work permits for these activities but instead will be required to voluntarily comply with rules set out in regulations under the Public Lands Act. Projects that do not comply with the proposed rules still require a work permit.

FOCA and our members are committed to the sustainable use and responsible oversight of our waterfronts, and our aquatic resources. FOCA is concerned that this “permit by rule” approach may reduce the protections afforded these important resources.

See official FOCA comments submitted to MNR MNR_public_land_proposals_Jan_comments_FOCA_final_draft (pdf; 2 pages)

Note that MNR also issues land use permits and leases under the Public Lands Act. No changes are proposed to these authorizations at this time.


Terry ReesPermits for Shoreline Work / Crown Land – OVERVIEW