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Canada Water Act Annual Report for April 2010 to March 2011

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The Canada Water Act, proclaimed on September 30, 1970, provides the framework for cooperation with the provinces and territories in the conservation, development and use of Canada's water resources. Section 38 requires that a report on operations under the Act be laid before Parliament after the end of each fiscal year. This annual report covers progress on these activities from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011.

The report describes a wide range of federal activities conducted under the authority of the Act, including participation in federal–provincial/territorial agreements and undertakings, significant water research, and public information programs. A map depicting Canada's major drainage areas and drainage flows is provided in Figure 1.

Provisions of the Canada Water Act

The following is a summary of the major provisions of the Act:

Part I, section 4, provides for the establishment of federal–provincial arrangements for water resource matters. Sections 5, 6 and 8 provide the vehicle for cooperative agreements with the provinces to develop and implement plans for the management of water resources. Section 7 enables the Minister, either directly or in cooperation with any provincial government, institution or person, to conduct research, collect data and establish inventories associated with water resources.

Part II provides for federal–provincial management agreements where water quality has become a matter of urgent national concern. It permits the joint establishment and use of federal or provincial incorporated agencies to plan and implement approved water-quality management programs. The application of alternative cooperative approaches and programs has resulted in Part II never having been used.

Part III, which provided for regulating the concentration of nutrients in cleaning agents and water conditioners, has been repealed. It was incorporated into the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 1988 and later into sections 116–119 (Part VII, Division I) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, which came into force on March 31, 2000. (See the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 annual reports to Parliament.)

Part IV contains provisions for the general administration of the Act, including annual reporting to Parliament. In addition, Part IV provides for inspection and enforcement, allows the Minister to establish advisory committees, and permits the Minister, either directly or in cooperation with any government, institution or person, to undertake public information programs.

Figure 1: Major drainage areas and drainage flows in Canada

Figure 1. Major Drainage Areas and Drainage Flows in Canada : Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean

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