The Navigation Protection Act will Make it Easier for Construction Firms and Coastal Land Owners to Build Infrastructure

Ship on coastal waters. Image Source: Public domain.

According to the Canadian Construction Association, the federal Navigation Protection Act will minimize uncertainty in construction projects by modifying the permitting process that brings unpredictability and lack of timeliness to the construction process.

The Navigation Protection Act will repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA), which regulates the right of the public to the navigable waters through floating vessels. The NWPA also strikes a balance between building works in the navigable waters and the public’s right to navigate them.

Enacted in 1882, the main problem with the NWPA is the uncertainty. For example, it regulated the building of bridges and shoreline construction vis-à-vis the pathways of ships and boats. The NWPA previously empowered the local councils under the order of the court to remove a bridge if it gets in the way of a ship.

The new act, the NPA, will protect commercial navigation on the commercial waterways of Canada. It is emphasized that the Act is not an environmental measure, but a commercial one.

With the new act, construction firms will be able to predict the requirements in their future construction projects, allowing them to project the costs and the workforce necessary for the project.

Here are a number of changes that the NPA will make:

  • The change of name to the Navigation Projection Act is to go back to the initial intent of the NWPA: to protect commercial navigation.
  • The law will list the major waterways that are regulated and require approval before any construction work can be done.
  • There will also be a list of low risk works that can be pre-approved without lengthy requirements because they pose little risk to navigation
  • The law eliminates a lot of loopholes and red tape when it comes to municipal infrastructure and recreational docks that do not need to undergo the same approval process as huge projects. This means that coastal land owners will have an easier way to have construction built on their area.
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