Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Search

Canada Water Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-11)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2020-07-28 and last amended on 2014-04-01. Previous Versions

Canada Water Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. C-11

An Act to provide for the management of the water resources of Canada, including research and the planning and implementation of programs relating to the conservation, development and utilization of water resources

Preamble

WHEREAS the demands on the water resources of Canada are increasing rapidly and more knowledge is needed of the nature, extent and distribution of those resources, of the present and future demands thereon and of the means by which those demands may be met;

AND WHEREAS pollution of the water resources of Canada is a significant and rapidly increasing threat to the health, well-being and prosperity of the people of Canada and to the quality of the Canadian environment at large and as a result it has become a matter of urgent national concern that measures be taken to provide for water quality management in those areas of Canada most critically affected;

AND WHEREAS Parliament desires that, in addition, comprehensive programs be undertaken by the Government of Canada and by the Government of Canada in cooperation with provincial governments, in accordance with the responsibilities of the federal government and each of the provincial governments in relation to water resources, for research and planning with respect to those resources and for their conservation, development and utilization to ensure their optimum use for the benefit of all Canadians;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Canada Water Act.

  • R.S., c. 5(1st Supp.), s. 1

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    agency

    agency means a water quality management agency the incorporation of which is procured or that is named pursuant to section 11 or 13; (organisme)

    analyst

    analyst means an analyst designated pursuant to subsection 25(1); (analyste)

    boundary waters

    boundary waters means the waters from main shore to main shore of the lakes and rivers and connecting waterways, or the portions thereof, along which the international boundary between the United States and Canada passes, including all bays, arms, and inlets thereof, but not including tributary waters which in their natural channels would flow into such lakes, rivers, and waterways, or waters flowing from such lakes, rivers, and waterways, or the waters of rivers flowing across the boundary; (eaux limitrophes)

    federal agency

    federal agency means a water quality management agency that is named pursuant to section 13; (organisme fédéral)

    federal waters

    federal waters means — other than in Yukon and the Northwest Territories — waters under the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Parliament and

    • (a) in Yukon, waters in a federal conservation area as defined in section 2 of the Yukon Act, and

    • (b) in the Northwest Territories, waters other than those in respect of which the Legislature of the Northwest Territories may make laws under paragraph 18(1)(n) of the Northwest Territories Act; (eaux fédérales)

    inspector

    inspector means an inspector designated pursuant to subsection 25(1); (inspecteur)

    inter-jurisdictional waters

    inter-jurisdictional waters means any waters, whether international, boundary or otherwise, that, whether wholly situated in a province or not, significantly affect the quantity or quality of waters outside the province; (eaux relevant de plusieurs juridictions)

    international waters

    international waters means waters of rivers that flow across the international boundary between the United States and Canada; (eaux internationales)

    Minister

    Minister means the Minister of the Environment; (ministre)

    prescribed

    prescribed means prescribed by regulation; (Version anglaise seulement)

    waste

    waste means

    • (a) any substance that, if added to any water, would degrade or alter or form part of a process of degradation or alteration of the quality of that water to an extent that is detrimental to their use by man or by any animal, fish or plant that is useful to man, and

    • (b) any water that contains a substance in such a quantity or concentration, or that has been so treated, processed or changed, by heat or other means, from a natural state that it would, if added to any other water, degrade or alter or form part of a process of degradation or alteration of the quality of that water to the extent described in paragraph (a); (déchet)

    water quality management

    water quality management means any aspect of water resource management that relates to restoring, maintaining or improving the quality of water; (gestion qualitative des eaux)

    water resource management

    water resource management means the conservation, development and utilization of water resources and includes, with respect thereto, research, data collection and the maintaining of inventories, planning and the implementation of plans, and the control and regulation of water quantity and quality. (gestion des ressources en eau)

  • Marginal note:Prescribed substances and certain water deemed waste

    (2) Without limiting the generality of the definition waste in this Act,

    • (a) any substance or any substance that is part of a class of substances prescribed pursuant to subparagraph 18(1)(a)(i),

    • (b) any water that contains any substance or any substance that is part of a class of substances in a quantity or concentration that is equal to or in excess of a quantity or concentration prescribed in respect of that substance or class of substances pursuant to subparagraph 18(1)(a)(ii), and

    • (c) any water that has been subjected to a treatment, process or change prescribed pursuant to subparagraph 18(1)(a)(iii),

    shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be waste.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-11, s. 2
  • 2002, c. 7, s. 115
  • 2014, c. 2, s. 6

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

  • R.S., c. 5(1st Supp.), s. 2

PART IComprehensive Water Resource Management

Federal-Provincial Arrangements

Marginal note:Establishment of intergovernmental committees, etc.

 For the purpose of facilitating the formulation of policies and programs with respect to the water resources of Canada and to ensure the optimum use of those resources for the benefit of all Canadians, having regard to the distinctive geography of Canada and the character of water as a natural resource, the Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into an arrangement with one or more provincial governments to establish, on a national, provincial, regional, lake or river-basin basis, intergovernmental committees or other bodies

  • (a) to maintain continuing consultation on water resource matters and to advise on priorities for research, planning, conservation, development and utilization relating thereto;

  • (b) to advise on the formulation of water policies and programs; and

  • (c) to facilitate the coordination and implementation of water policies and programs.

  • R.S., c. 5(1st Supp.), s. 3

Comprehensive Water Resource Management Programs

Marginal note:Federal-provincial water resource management programs

 Subject to this Act, the Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, with respect to any waters where there is a significant national interest in the water resource management thereof, enter into agreements with one or more provincial governments having an interest in the water resource management of those waters, providing for programs to

  • (a) establish and maintain an inventory of those waters,

  • (b) collect, process and provide data on the quality, quantity, distribution and use of those waters,

  • (c) conduct research in connection with any aspect of those waters or provide for the conduct of any such research by or in cooperation with any government, institution or person,

  • (d) formulate comprehensive water resource management plans, including detailed estimates of the cost of implementation of those plans and of revenues and other benefits likely to be realized from the implementation thereof, based on an examination of the full range of reasonable alternatives and taking into account views expressed at public hearings and otherwise by persons likely to be affected by implementation of the plans,

  • (e) design projects for the efficient conservation, development and utilization of those waters, and

  • (f) implement any plans or projects referred to in paragraphs (d) and (e),

and establishing or naming joint commissions, boards or other bodies empowered to direct, supervise and coordinate those programs.

  • R.S., c. 5(1st Supp.), s. 4

Marginal note:Federal water resource management programs

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister shall, with the approval of the Governor in Council, undertake directly,

    • (a) with respect to any federal waters, any program described in any of paragraphs 5(a) to (e) and the implementation of any program described in paragraph 5(d) or (e);

    • (b) with respect to any inter-jurisdictional waters where there is a significant national interest in the water resource management thereof, any program described in paragraph 5(d) or (e); and

    • (c) with respect to any international or boundary waters where there is a significant national interest in the water resource management thereof, any program described in paragraph 5(d) or (e) and the implementation of any such program.

  • Marginal note:Condition to approval of federal programs

    (2) The Governor in Council shall not approve the undertaking by the Minister of any program pursuant to paragraph (1)(b) or (c) unless the Governor in Council is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made by the Minister to reach an agreement under section 5 with the one or more provincial governments having an interest in the water resource management of the waters in question and that those efforts have failed.

  • Marginal note:Minister to consider priorities

    (3) In undertaking any programs pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister shall take into account any priorities for development recommended pursuant to paragraph 4(a).

  • R.S., c. 5(1st Supp.), s. 5
 
Date modified: