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The following general policies apply to in-water and shoreline works and related activities. Proponents of projects must ensure that the policies applicable to a particular type of work are considered when submitting an application. In addition, specific policies for each type of work or activity must also be adhered to.

Dimensions for in-water and shoreline works in these Policies are provided in metric and imperial units. The conversions from metric to imperial are approximate. Proponents may submit plans and undertake work using either system.


3.1 Construction of in-water and shoreline works and related activities may only proceed once a permit is issued, and the work must conform to the conditions as stated in the approved permit/letter. Parks Canada may inspect the work to ensure compliance.

3.2 It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the proposed work meets the requirements of all other federal and provincial agencies and the municipality. The applicant will obtain a building permit if required by the municipality. In the case of boathouses and boat ports, where a building permit is not required, the applicant will produce a plan of the proposed work and an inspection report prepared by a registered building inspector upon completion of the work to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

3.3 Where an encroachment onto the bed of the waterbody already exists, permission to undertake in-water and/or shoreline works will only be considered if the property owner obtains authority to occupy the filled area.

3.4 No more than 25% or 15 m (50 ft), whichever is less, of any one residential property owner’s shoreline may be developed with in-water or shoreline structures, exclusive of shoreline erosion protection/retention works.

© Parks Canada

3.5 To protect warm water fish spawning activity, no in-water work will be permitted during spawning activity between March 15th or March 31st depending on the water body, and June 30th inclusive in any year. Additional restrictions during the fall/winter may also apply to coldwater lakes to protect lake trout and whitefish spawning activity.

3.6 Sediment and erosion control measures are required to prevent the entry of sediments into the water and to control turbidity levels.

3.7 Mitigation measures will be implemented to ensure all in-water and shoreline works have minimal impacts on fish and wildlife habitats.

3.8 Species at risk and their habitats will be protected.

3.9 Wetlands will be protected. No new in-water and shoreline works that could have a significant adverse impact will be permitted.

3.10 Proponents may be required to provide a detailed environmental assessment for projects where significant impacts on cultural and/or ecological resources may occur.

3.11 There must be no impact on the commemorative integrity of the national historic site. This includes ensuring the protection of cultural resources and associated historic values of the national historic site.

3.12 Cultural resources on the bed of the Canal and Waterway will be protected.

3.13 In-water and shoreline works must be located a minimum of 4.5 m (15 ft.) away from the side lot line as projected into the water from the shoreline. In unusual circumstances a variance may be granted provided the proponent also seeks to obtain the written comments from adjacent property owners.

3.14 Regular maintenance and repair that does not alter an existing structure or involve an addition will be allowed without a permit. All other major structural repairs and renovations such as repairs to beams, joists, stringers, cribs and piles will require a permit, and where possible, have a net positive impact on the environment.

3.15 In-water works, shoreline works and related activities must not constitute a public safety hazard.

3.16 Treated wood that meets provincial and federal guidelines will be allowed provided the wood is pre-treated and dry. Creosote preservative and wood treated with creosote will not be approved. Treated wood will not be allowed where it has contact with the water.

3.17 These Policies do not apply to existing in-water and shoreline structures. Applications for replacement works must conform to the Policies

3.18 All applications for in-water and shoreline works require detailed plans or sketches showing the location and nature of the work. Photos or digital images illustrating the location of the proposed work and condition of the site may also be required along with a plan showing the orientation of the photos.

3.19 All activities including maintenance procedures shall be controlled to prevent the entry of petroleum products, debris, rubble, concrete or other deleterious substances into the water.

3.20 Structures, works, facilities and activities must not interfere with or pose a hazard to navigation.

3.21 Previously approved structures such as floating docks that are removed annually may be replaced in the same location during the fish spawning period as long as there is no disturbance of the bed.

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