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Feds Introduce Legislation to Restore Fish Habitat Protection
Sockeye Salmon Swimming Upstream.
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Feds Introduce Legislation to Restore Fish Habitat Protection

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] Today in Parliament, federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc introduced amendments to the Fisheries Act, including provisions to restore important habitat safeguards and strengthen enforcement measures, as well as clarify  authorizations for projects or proposals that may damage habitat. Most importantly, the prohibition on altering, damaging or destroying fish habitat would be restored. Habitat that is particularly sensitive ecologically would be carefully scrutinized and activities that could affect them would not be authorized. The amendments make good on the 2015 election pledge by the Trudeau Liberals to restore lost protection for fish habitat. The legislation would also be modernized by providing for “fisheries management orders” that add regulatory tools and broaden the government’s ability to limit harmful fishing practices. New long-term area-based fisheries closures would better protect marine biodiversity and protect vulnerable stocks of fish. New whale protection provisions are also included. [caption id="attachment_29226" align="alignright" width="420"]Image of ships on water Photo by Sofia Osbourne[/caption] A new public registry would provide public access to a wide range of government decisions, improve transparency and help stop the 'death by a thousand cuts' for fish habitat. The Fisheries Minister’s power to enter into agreements with Indigenous governing bodies would be increased. A new section addresses the use of traditional Indigenous knowledge. Finally, there would be a new legal requirement to consider the adverse effects of decisions on fisheries on the rights of Indigenous people. Congratulations to Hon. Dominic LeBlanc on this very good bill. Thanks to Nature Canada’s members and supporters who pushed hard for a strong Fisheries Act and strong environmental laws in general. Watch this space—we need to make sure that the House of Commons and Senate both pass bills that are at least as strong as the bill the Minister introduced into the House today.

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The Public Hearings Have Already Begun:  Have Your Say on our Future Environmental Laws!
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The Public Hearings Have Already Begun: Have Your Say on our Future Environmental Laws!

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] This is a critical time to press for better environmental laws in Canada. The federal government is seeking public input on potential changes to environmental laws such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Fisheries Law, Navigation Protection Act and National Energy Board Act. Now is your chance, the best opportunity in a generation, to seek stronger environmental laws to protect the air, water, lands we need to survive and wildlife that we love. See the list below for upcoming hearings in a community near you.  It is recommended that you register in advance.Image of a button And if you are unable to participate, we assure you that Nature Canada will be speaking up on your behalf to ensure nature’s voice is heard at the public hearings to strengthen our laws. [custom_table style="2"]

Province:   City: Date: Time:
 Quebec  Montreal  October 26  7:00 – 10:30 pm
 Ontario  Sudbury   November 3  6:30 – 10:00 pm
Ottawa  November 8   6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Toronto  November 9  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Thunder Bay  November 14  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Manitoba  Winnipeg  November 16  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Alberta  Calgary  November 21  6:30 -10:00 pm
 Fort McMurray  November 23  6:30 – 10:00 pm
British Columbia  Kamloops  November 28  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Fort St. John  December 5  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Prince Rupert  December 8  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Vancouver  December 12  6:30 – 10:00 pm
 Nanaimo  December 14  6:30 – 10:00 pm
[/custom_table] Click here to read about the crucial changes Nature Canada is calling for to strengthen our laws. Also, why not consider writing a Letter to your Local Editor about stronger environmental laws? We have a simple and effective letter writing tool that you can easily use to spread our message in your local community. Together our voices will ring out in support of improved and strengthened environmental laws.
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