Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The Submitter alleges that «[t]he Government of Canada is failing to apply, comply with and enforce the habitat protection sections of the Fisheries Act and with CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Act). In particular the Government of Canada is failing to apply, comply with and enforce Sections 35, 37 and 40 of the Fisheries Act, Section 5(1)(d) of CEAA and Schedule 1 Part 1 Item 6 of the Law List Regulations made pursuant to paragraphs 59(f) and (g) of CEAA.» According to the Submitter the Department of Fisheries released a Directive (Directive on the Issuance of Subsection 35(2) Authorizations) which creates «a decision-making process which frustrates the intention of Parliament and usurps the role of CEAA as a planning and decision-making tool.». The Submitter further alleges that «[t]here are very few prosecutions under the habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act and the prosecutions that do occur are very unevenly distributed across the country. In fact there has been a de facto abdication of legal responsibilities by the Government of Canada to the inland provinces. And the provinces have not done a good job of ensuring compliance with or enforcing the Fisheries Act.» According to the Submitter, «228 projects were reviewed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Central and Arctic Region (the Prairie Provinces, Ontario and the Northwest Territories), as of 21 June, 1996. For these projects, 78 Letters of advice were issued. The other 150 projects listed were handled by providing advise to provincial or territorial agencies or to the permitting agency.»

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

In its response, the Canadian government indicates that the submission is the subject of a pending judicial or administrative proceeding before the Federal Court of Canada.

On November 7, the Friends of the West Country Association filed an Originating Notice of Motion in the Trial Division of the Federal Court of Canada in Alberta, The Friends of the West Country Association v. The minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Attorney General of Canada (Federal Court case No. T2457-96). At issue in both the submission to the NAAEC and the case before the Federal Court are the application and interaction of sections 35, 37 and 40 of the Fisheries Act and of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Government of Canada also states that as referred to in Article 14(3), private remedies in connection with the matter raised in the submission are available and are being pursued in the Federal Court action.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Submitter(s):

The Friends of the Oldman River

Submission Timeline

September 9, 1996

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 09/09/1996

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 20/09/1996

September 9, 1996

The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Article 14(1)

October 1, 1996

The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and the submitter(s) had 30 days to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission that conforms with Article 14(1).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 01/10/1996

October 14, 1996

The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 15/10/1996

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 08/10/1996

October 18, 1996

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the Article 14(1) criteria and the Secretariat began considering whether to request a response from the concerned government Party.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 18/10/1996

November 8, 1996

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the Article 14(2) criteria and requested a response from the concerned government Party.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14(2) authored by Secretariat on 08/11/1996

January 13, 1997

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Canada on 10/01/1997

April 2, 1997

The Secretariat determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record. Under guideline 9.6, the process was terminated.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 15 (1) authored by Secretariat on 02/04/1997