Submission ID: SEM-00-004
Party concerned: Canada
Date filed: March 15, 2000
Submission Status: Closed
Latest Update: August 11, 2003
The final factual record was publicly released.
Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submitters allege that the Government of Canada “is in breach of its commitments under NAAEC to effectively enforce its environmental laws and to provide high levels of environmental protection.” They allege that the Fisheries Act is “routinely and systematically violated by logging activities undertaken by British Columbia. [s]pecifically, section 35 of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, and section 36 of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the deposition of deleterious substances in waters frequented by fish.” The submitters claim that the Government of Canada has the responsibility to protect fish and fish habitat under the Canadian Constitution Act of 1867. They allege that “[t]he federal government is failing to enforce the Fisheries Act against logging on private land in British Columbia, even though private lands are not subject to any effective provincial logging regulation.” In addition, the Submitters claim that “[they] have been denied the right to bring private prosecutions against violators of the Fisheries Act, even though the Fisheries Act encourages citizen enforcement, and submit that this denial is in violation of Canada’s obligation under Article 7 of NAAEC to comply with due process of law and ensure that judicial proceedings are open to the public.”
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
The Canadian government responded that it had found only three documented assertions in the submission of alleged failures to effectively enforce the Fisheries Act. The allegations refer to TimberWest’s logging operations on privately managed forest lands at three sites in the Sooke watershed of British Columbia: 1) Sooke River; 2) Martins Gulch; and 3) De Mamiel Creek. (Canada assumes that the reference in the submission to “TimberWest” is a reference to TimberWest Cowichan Woodlands.) Canada’s response to the three documented assertions is as follows: Sooke River: Canada describes enforcement action taken starting March 1999 and that Fisheries and Oceans Canada had observed that no blowdown (wind-caused tree loss) had occurred during the 1999/2000 winter season, and that there has been no harmful impact on fish habitat at the site. Martins Gulch: Canada asserts that Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff reinspected the site and confirmed that it does not appear that fish habitat had been damaged and that the site is considered a low risk for future impacts. The Response concludes that no further site inspection is required. De Mamiel Creek: Canada states that the logging that took place at Otter Point Road is being investigated as a potential offense under the Fisheries Act. Canada says it can not comment due to the ongoing investigation and that it would therefore also be inappropriate for the CEC Secretariat to proceed further with the Otter Point Road matter.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club of British Columbia, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, National Resources Defense Council, Represented by: Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Earthjustice Legal Defence Fund
The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 17/03/2000
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 15/03/2000
Under guideline 3.10, the Secretariat requested the submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.
Secretariat Information Request - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 30/03/2000
The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.
The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Article 14(1)
The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).
Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 08/05/2000
The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.
Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 10/07/2000
Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Canada on 06/07/2000
The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.
Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 27/07/2001
The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.
Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 16/11/2001
The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.
Workplan - Overall workplan for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 14/12/2001
The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.
Secretariat Information Request - Document related to the preparation of a Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 01/01/2002
The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.
The Secretariat received comments from the United States.
The Secretariat received comments from Canada.
The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.
Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.
Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 07/08/2003
The final factual record was publicly released.
Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 27/06/2003