The Fisheries Act is a keystone law in Canada’s legislative framework for protecting the environment and allowing the pursuit of sustainable development. Far beyond simply regulating fisheries, it can, and should, protect all aspects of aquatic habitat. In so doing, because water is so fundamental to all ecological cycles as well as human survival and well-being, the Fisheries Act provides a crucial link to everything from environmental assessment to protecting human health.
We would submit that changes to the Fisheries Act need to be made in three key areas: 1. Restore the strong prohibition on the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat; 2. Strengthen regulation under the Act’s pollution protection provisions; and 3. Strengthen monitoring and enforcement.