Regulation of Dams
in Canada


Regulation of dams in Canada is a provincial/territorial responsibility and is similar to other areas of provincial jurisdiction such health and education. Unlike other countries, Canada does not have a federal regulatory agency or over-arching program which guides the development of requirements for the safe management of dams. The Canadian Dam Association (CDA), a volunteer organization was formed in the 1980s to provide dam owners, operators, consultants, suppliers and government agencies with a national forum to discuss issues of dam safety in Canada. The Dam Safety Guidelines and other guidance developed by CDA can provide regulators with a basis for evaluating the safety of dams within their respective jurisdictions.

Province/
Territory

Ministry/
Agency

Contact

Legislation/
Regulation

Regulation

Guidelines
(other than CDA)

~ Number of Dams

British Columbia

Water Supply Dams

Ministry of Forest, Lands & Natural Resource Operations
Water Management Branch

Scott Morgan
Head,
Dam Safety
250-387-3265

Water Sustainability Act

Dam Safety-regulation

Inspection and Maintenance of Dams

Plan Submission Guidelines

Consequence of Failure Classification Guidelines

Compliance and Enforcement Policy

Legislative Dam Safety Review in BC-APEGBC Guidelines

Site Characterization for Dam Foundations in BC-APEGBC Guidelines

Regulated Dams ~ 1,900

British Columbia
Mining Dams

Ministry of Energy & Mines

Mines Act

Health, Safety & Reclamation Code

Dam Safety Inspection Guidelines

APEGBC Professional Practice Guidelines

Legislative Dam Safety Review in BC-APEGBC Guidelines

118

Alberta

Water Supply &
Tailings Dams

(Excluding energy related dams)

Alberta Environment and Parks

Javid Iqbal,
Manager
Dam Safety
(780) 644 7437

Water Act

Water Ministerial Regulation

Dam Safety Directive (under Review)

1350 Regulated dams

Alberta

Energy Related Dams
(Water and Tailings Dams)

Alberta Energy Regulator

Blair Reilly
Manager, Dam Safety
(403) 297-6937

Water Act

Water Ministerial Regulation

Dam Safety Directive (under Review)

`183 regulated dams

Saskatchewan
Water Supply Dams

Water Security Agency

Ashley Gusikoski
Dam Safety and
Major Structures
(306) 694-7738

Water Security Agency Act/ (1)

No

No

1300 (2)

Saskatchewan
Tailings Dams

Environment

Tim Moulding
Uranium and Northern
Operations
(306) 933-7063

Assessment Act

No

No

15

Manitoba

Water Stewardship
Department

Steve Topping
(204) 945 7488

Water Res Admin
& Water Rights

No
(Planned
within 2-5 yrs)

No

570

Ontario
Water Supply Dams

Natural Resources & Forestry

Josh Annett
Crown Land Section
(705) 755-1224


Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA)


Ontario Regulation 454/96 Construction

LRIA Administrative Guide, Technical Bulletins and Best Management Practices

3300+

Ontario
Tailings Dams
(Reclamation)

Ministry of Northern Development and Mines(3)


(705) 670 5798

Mining Act

No

No

N/A

Québec (Français)
Quebec (English)
Water Supply Dams

Ministère du Développement durable,
de l'Environnement, et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
(Français)
(English)

Michel Rhéaume
Directeur de la sécurité
des barrages
(418) 521 3945

Loi sur la sécurité des barrages
(Français)
Dam Safety Act
(English)

Règlement sur la sécurité des barrages
(Français)
Dam Safety Regulation
(English)

No

6021 (11)

Québec (Français)
Quebec (English)
Mining Dams

Ressources naturelles
(Français)
Natural Resources
(English)

Mélanie Turgeon, M.Sc.
Directrice p.i.
Direction de la restauration des sites miniers
418-627-6292, poste5608

La Loi sur
les mines

(Français)
Mining Act
(English)

No

No

N/A

New Brunswick

Environment &
Local Government

Paul Campbell
NBELG
(506) 453-3797

Clean Water Act

No (4)

No

240

Nova Scotia

Environment

Elizabeth Kennedy

(902)424-0332

Environment Act-Regulation

No

No (5)

200

Newfoundland
& Labrador

Department of Environment and Climate Change

Paula V. Dawe
Water Resources Management Division
(709) 729-4048

Water Resources Act(6)

No
(Planned
within 2-5 yrs)

No

>600

Prince Edward Island

Environment,
Energy & Forestry

 (7)
 

No

No

No

N/A

Yukon
Territory

Water Board
Water Resources
Section
(8)

Glenn Ford
Water Resources Branch
Yukon Environment
(867) 667-3104

Water Act(Yukon)

No

No

21

Northwest
Territories

(9) MVLWB

Rebecca Chouinard

867-766-7459

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act
Waters Act - Justice

 

Waters Regulation

No

Less than 100;
mostly mining dams

Nunavut

Nunavut Water Board

Joe Murdock
(867) 360 6338

Nunavut Waters&Surface Rights Tribunal Act

No

No

Unknown

Canadian
Federal
Government

Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission

Dr. Grant Su
Environmental Risk
Assessment Division
(613) 943-9932

Nuclear Safety and Control Act

(10)

No

Various

Over 100
(Uranium
Mining
Related)

Canadian
Federal
Government

Parks Canada
Agency

André Roy
Dam Safety Program
(819) 953-4644

Internal Directive
(self-regulated)

No

Various

Over 225

Notes:

1. Approvals are required under the Water Security Act in Saskatchewan to construct and operate water storage dams.
2. The 1300 water storage dams currently identified within Saskatchewan pertains to those having a storage capacity of 40 dam^3 or more. Approximately 8960 dams exist within the province having a volume of 1.0 dam^3 or more.
3. Rehabilitation of all mine hazards, which include tailings dams, at the end of the mine life.  Recording and staged rehabilitation of Abandoned Mine sites returned to the crown, including their associated tailings dams.
4. Under the Watercourse Alteration Regulation, a permit is required for construction of all new dams or dikes in New Brunswick.
5. CDA guidelines are the recognized industry standard in Nova Scotia. One of the requirements for obtaining an operating license is to demonstrate compliance with the CDA Guidelines.
6. Under the Water Resources Act, a permit is required for construction of all new dams or dikes in Newfoundland and Labrador.
7. There are no dams of significant size in PEI.
8. The Yukon Water Board issues licences for dams that are associated with mining, hydro projects, etc. The Water Resources Section of the Environmental Programs Branch administers the water licences that have been issued by the YWB and provides inspection services.
9. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) came into being in 1998 as a result of the Gwich'in and Sahtu Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements. The Act created co-management boards for both the Gwich'in and Sahtu settlement areas and it established the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB). With the signing of the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement in 2005, the Wekeezhii Land and Water Board was created, and became a regional panel of the MVLWB.
10. The CNSC also takes into account various other National and Provincial Regulations and Guidelines and International best practices
11. Number of dams in the registry as of June 29, 2016.