Navigation Protection Act Map

(2015-12-01) As part of its 15th anniversary, Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC) is in the process of preparing updated maps on development in Canada’s forests and forested watersheds. Given on-going concerns about changes to environmental legislation in Canada over the past few years, we decided to make a map that identifies the specific water bodies (oceans, lakes and bays, and rivers) listed in the “Schedule of Navigable Waters” under the Navigation Protection Act.[1]

The map depicts all the scheduled water bodies in dark blue, while all others are shown in light blue. We used Statistics Canada’s boundary files from 2011 as our base dataset and used the Schedule from the Act to choose all relevant water bodies, including selecting only relevant sections of rivers.
Our analysis is that the scheduled lakes cover 210,289 square kilometers while the scheduled rivers total 16,115 kilometers in length. The lake area accounts for 39 percent of all the lakes in the Statistics Canada dataset while only 5 percent of the total river length is covered by the “Schedule of Navigable Waters”.
Our intention with this map is to help people understand the geographical extent of the Navigation Protection Act of 2012. For further readings on the implications of the changes to the Navigation Protection Act, as well as other federal acts, please see relevant materials at the West Coast Environmental Law Centre[2], an article in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences[3], and the Globe and Mail “Headwaters” series.[4]
[3] Amanda K. Winegardner, Emma E. Hodgson, and Adrienne M. Davidson. 2015. “Reductions in federal oversight of aquatic systems in Canada: implications of the new Navigation Protection Act”. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Available at:
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