Working In or Near Water

If you are planning to carry out work in water (aquatic environments, wetlands or floodplains) or near water (riparian or littoral zones), either saltwater or freshwater, your project must meet the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed a three-step process to help you meet these requirements, which are designed to protect fish and fish habitat. The information, guides and forms you will need to plan and carry out your project are provided below. Before starting the work, it is also advised that you check to see what authorizations are required from your municipality and from the Quebec government.

Operational Statements and Good Practice Guides

Before projects can be implemented, they should be planned to avoid fish habitat losses through the adoption of appropriate work methods and techniques. A series of operational statements and best practices guides adapted to Quebec are available to help you with your project planning and to simplify the regulatory review of projects. The operational statements provide guidance on the standard measures that apply to work that have little impact on fish habitat.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada does not need to examine projects if the conditions and measures described in the operational statements are applied. In such cases, simply return the notification form to the regional DFO office. Otherwise, you will have to request a review.

Quebec Operational Statements
National site of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Good Practice Guides, Quebec

Notification Form for Quebec (PDF)
National Site of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Request for Review (Project Proposal)

If you cannot apply the measures described in the operational statements and good practice guides, you will have to submit your project proposal to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for review. The purpose of the review is to determine whether habitat losses can be avoided or whether an authorization under the Fisheries Act is required. For help preparing your project proposal, consult the Proponent's Guide to Information Requirements for Review under the Fish Habitat Protection Provisions of the Fisheries Act. To submit your project to us, complete the request for review and send it to the regional DFO office. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your project.

Proponent's Guide to Information Requirements for Review Under the Fish Habitat Protection Provisions of the Fisheries Act
Fisheries and Oceans Canada National Site

Request for Review under the Fish Habitat Protection Provisions of the Fisheries Act
Fisheries and Oceans Canada National Site

For infrastructure projects funded by the Government of Canada, please consult A Proponent's Guide To Fisheries Act Reviews For Federally Funded Infrastructure Projects.

For more information, please see Project Review.

Request for Authorization Under the Fisheries Act

If Fisheries and Oceans Canada concludes that the habitat losses are acceptable, you will have to obtain authorization under the Fisheries Act before starting your work. Your request for authorization must be accompanied by an effective compensation plan. However, before issuing an authorization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will have to conduct an environmental assessment of the project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and determine whether it complies with the provisions of the Species at Risk Act. The Department will inform you of the steps to follow and help you to meet all regulatory requirements.

Information You Need to Provide for an Authorization
Fisheries and Oceans Canada National Site

Project Notice: Guide for Submissions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (Quebec Region)
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For more information, please see Environmental Assessment.

Legislation and Policies

Federal legislation and policies

Quebec government legislation

For information on the authorizations required by the Government of Quebec for work carried out in aquatic environments, wetlands and riparian zones, please visit the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec website.

Contact Us

Fisheries Protection Program
850, De la Mer Road, Box 1000
Mont-Joli, Quebec, G5H 3Z4
Telephone : 418-775-0726
Toll Free : 1-877-722-4828
Fax : 418-775-0658
E-mail : habitat-qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca