Vol. 148, No. 14 — July 2, 2014
SI/2014-59 July 2, 2014
TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS PROTECTION ACT
Order Fixing July 1, 2014 as the Day on which Sections 1 to 12 of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2014-810 June 18, 2014
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 15 of the Transboundary Waters Protection Act, chapter 12 of the Statutes of Canada, 2013, fixes July 1, 2014 as the day on which sections 1 to 12 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
The Order in Council is for the purpose of bringing into force the Transboundary Waters Protection Act (the Act), which amends the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (IBWTA) and the International River Improvements Act (IRIA).
To bring into force amendments made in the Act, which received royal assent on June 19, 2013.
On December 13, 2011, Private Member’s Bill C-383 was introduced in order to strengthen federal protections against bulk water removals from Canada. On June 19, 2013, Bill C-383 received royal assent and subsequently became the Transboundary Waters Protection Act.
Bulk removals are defined in the Act as the removal of boundary or transboundary waters and the taking of that water outside the Canadian portion of a water basin set out in Schedule 2 of the Act. Boundary waters are waters, such as the Great Lakes, which straddle the international boundary between Canada and the United States. Transboundary waters are waters, such as rivers, which flow across the international boundary between Canada and the United States, and include those set out in Schedule 3 of the Act.
Bulk removal includes any means of diversion, for example by pipeline, canal, aqueduct or channel, or by any other means where more than 50 000 litres of water are removed per day.
The Act expands protections against bulk water removals by amending the IBWTA and the IRIA.
Amendments to the IBWTA
The IBWTA falls under the mandate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Act amends the IBWTA to prohibit bulk removals from transboundary waters. Bulk removals from boundary waters are currently prohibited under the IBWTA. The prohibition on bulk removals does not include the taking of a manufactured product which contains water.
Further amendments to the IBWTA include strengthening enforcement and penalty provisions by increasing penalty amounts, instituting minimum penalties, and setting out aggravating factors to be used in sentencing. Penalties found in the Act include up to $1 million if an individual is convicted of an indictment and up to $6 million for a corporation. The Act also moves certain definitions and exceptions that are currently found in the IBWTA regulations into the IBWTA itself.
Amendments to the IRIA
The IRIA falls under the mandate of the Minister of the Environment. The amendment to the IRIA prevents the Minister of the Environment from issuing a licence relating to an international river improvement that links waters that are neither boundary, nor transboundary to a body of water flowing from Canada to any place outside of Canada if the linkage increases the annual flow of the river at the international boundary. This provision has been added to prevent an international river from being used to transfer bulk water out of Canada. The Act also amends certain definitions in the IRIA, including the addition of definitions for boundary and transboundary waters. The amendments to the IRIA will be brought into force by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment.
Amendments to the IBWTA and IRIA strengthen prohibitions against bulk removals from Canada’s boundary and transboundary waters. There is federal jurisdiction over boundary and transboundary waters, and the amendments found in the Act are intended to ensure that these waters are treated in a common manner. These protections complement provincial laws, regulations, and policies which are in place to protect against bulk water removals from their territories.
The provinces were informed that the Government would be supporting Bill C-383 prior to its passage in the House of Commons. During the legislative process in the House and Senate, parliamentary committees reviewed the legislation and held hearings that included representation by Canadian water experts. The Bill unanimously passed both the House and Senate.
U.S. Transboundary Affairs Division
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada