Statement by FCM President on Proposed Changes to Fisheries Act

The following statement was released by FCM president Berry Vrbanovic on April 25 following the federal government's announcement on proposed changes to the Fisheries Act:

"The Federation of Canadian Municipalities welcomes today's commitment by the Government of Canada to reform the Fisheries Act.

The changes announced today will allow governments to spend less time processing paperwork for small, low-risk public works projects and dedicate more resources to protecting fisheries from major threats and enforcing the rules when people break them.

By reducing the time municipal employees are forced to spend filling out forms and waiting for federal approvals, the changes will make it faster and less expensive for local governments to perform routine public services, from clearing ditches to repairing storm water systems.

These reforms will make it easier for governments to set clear, sensible priorities for protecting fish habitats. Currently the Fisheries Act applies the same protections to rivers and streams as municipal drains and farmers' irrigation canals. That doesn't make sense.

The federal government has pledged to give the Fisheries Act more teeth by introducing enforcement provisions where none have existed before and giving regulators new legal tools to keep invasive species from entering Canada and harming our environment.

Municipal leaders have consistently called for common sense reforms in Ottawa that deliver better results for Canadians. We look forward to working with the federal government to turn the broad reforms announced today into a strong, sensible action plan that strengthens our communities and protects our fisheries and environment."