What you had to say about navigable water protections

Earlier this year, we reached out to our most active supporters to learn how you want to continue to engage and mobilize. And you responded with opinions, hopes, and priorities for the protection of navigable waters.  

When it comes to protecting Canada’s rivers and lakes we are all in the same canoe. Together we have nominated over 200 unlisted waterways for protection, wrote to over 110 MPs, and requested meetings with elected representatives to ask that they restore protections for navigable waters. But there is more to do!



Environmental law reforms are moving quickly through the House of Commons. We have a short window of time over the next few weeks to inspire our elected MPs, and members of the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee, to strengthen proposed legislation and stand up for Canada’s iconic waterways. Read below to learn how we are already beginning to integrate your suggestions into our campaign to restore protections for all navigable waters.

What You Care About

Navigation protection was important for a broad array of reasons. You responded by selecting several values associated with navigable waters including: recreation (90%); environment (88%); culture (56%); spirituality (56%); hunting or fishing (49%); research (49%); economic (34%). It is clear that the commercial use of navigable waters is not the foremost reason for improved federal oversight of developments on these waters.

When it comes to the scope of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA), an overwhelming majority (89%) were concerned about environmental protection and the recognition that free-flowing waters for navigation and healthy fish habitat are related. Lost protections also topped the list with 71% of respondents concerned that environmental assessments are no longer triggered by projects regulated under the NPA.



What You Had to Say

A significant majority (77%) indicated that you would like more online engagement opportunities to help you get more involved in defending navigable waters. Other popular responses included direct access to news stories and calls to action; and tangible actions to organize as a community. Just over a third expressed an interest in building networks of freshwater guardians in your community.


The Canadian Freshwater Alliance Responds

In the coming year, we will work to develop more interactive engagement opportunities including ways to connect you with other people in your community who are interested in becoming a freshwater guardian.

If all of the respondents, and more, volunteered then we may just be able to implement all the fantastic ideas you had for making engagement on navigable waters more fun and meaningful:

  • Engage students with hands-on activities on a local waterbody;
  • Tools to help individuals engage friends and neighbours;
  • Creation of a national database of rivers suitable for paddling, comparable to the American Whitewater database in the USA;
  • Science-based policy and reporting on impacts; and
  • Mass paddling events on unscheduled waters

Helping you to overcome engagement challenges is something we’re dedicated to, and it’s why we’ve developed some of the resources we have like our free Introduction to Engagement Organizing video series. It’s also why we offer coaching and training services.


Take Action

Please join us and write your elected representative today. We’ve created a form so you can easily ask them to support amendments that would deepen protections for ALL of Canada’s navigable waterways.

Or, feel free to craft your own letter. As an example, take a look at the sample letter adapted by CFA supporter and Freelance Writer, Joanne Light, Freelance Writer.


Learn More

Like infographics? We put together a few to help make it easier to communicate the changes to navigable water protections over time. Check them out here.