Working Around Water

​​If you are planning to do work in or near water, you are required to comply with all existing laws and regulatory requirements. You may require permits or approvals from municipal, provincial and/or federal regulatory authorities. Permits/authorizations must be obtained before you start any work. Approval from one agency does not guarantee approval from other agencies.

SSEA is a non-regulatory agency and does not issue permits or approvals.​

For municipal permits/approvals, contact your municipality.

As of January 1, 2014, certain types of activities in or around water no longer require a work permit under the Public Lands Act, provided all the established rules are followed. If you can’t meet all of the established rules for the activity, you will need a work permit. To determine if your project requires a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Work Permit, visit:

In 2019, Canada modernized the Fisheries Act​. On August 28th, 2019 provisions of the new Fisheries Act came into force including new protections for fish and fish habitat in th​e form of standards, codes of practice, and guidelines for projects near water:

Heavy Equipment in Water
For information on approval requirements for the Trent-Severn Waterway, contact:
Trent-Severn Waterway Office
PO Box 567​
2155 Ashburnham Drive Peterborough
ON K9J 626
Telephone: 705-750-4900

Help Protect Ontario’s Natural Heritage
Report Resource Abuse

1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667)

The toll-free TIPS-MNR reporting line provides a direct line for the public to report resource violations to the ministry 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in Ontario.
More from the Backgrounder…

Report a Fisheries Act Violation of Serious Harm to Fish:   

     Fisheries Protection Program
     Fisheries and Oceans Canada
     867 Lakeshore Road
     Burlington ON L7R 4A6
     Telephone: 1-855-852-8320

Primers are available for common waterfront projects from DFO: the D​ock Primerthe Shore Primerthe Bait Fish Primer, and ​​the Fish Habitat Primer.​​

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