Working in and About Water - Legislation, Regulations and Responsibilities


The two-day Working in and About Water – Legislation, Regulations and Responsibilities course is a comprehensive, classroom-based training program designed to address a long-time need to clarify the processes, regulations and environmental issues involved in working in and around water.

Projects or activities contemplated for work in or around water can involve numerous considerations at the federal level including federal legislation such as the Fisheries Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA, 1999), Species at Risk Act (SARA), Navigation Protection Act (NPA) and others, as well as provincial and municipal requirements. If considered early and designed properly, many projects can avoid a lengthy approval or review processes by avoiding damage to fish and fish habitat, redesigning or relocating projects, developing appropriate habitat offset (compensation) and monitoring and/or by applying provincial standards and/federal regional standards or operational statements.

Course Outline:

Module 1: The Law and Regulatory Process

  • Ministries and Federal legislation (Acts, regulations and policies)

  • Other federal agencies

  • Regional and local authorities

Module 2: Interpreting Project Obligations

  • Applying and interpreting legal obligations

  • Identifying project issues

  • Defining project need versus want

Module 3: Design and Reporting for Success

  • Considerations in project design, budget and timing

  • Concept to Design (timelines, expectations and approach)

  • Federal review process expectations and variability

Module 4: Role of the Proponent and Professionals

  • Proponents obligations and responsibilities

  • Role of qualified professionals – responsibilities and ethics

  • Regulator(s) roles and obligations/responsibilities

  • First Nations & Stakeholders

This course includes realistic scenarios, case studies and presentations regarding regulatory process, project obligations and individual responsibilities throughout project development. Participants are encouraged to bring their own projects and issues into the classroom for discussion.

Note: The Working in and About Water - Legislation, Regulations and Responsibilities course will be offered in a few select locations and dates for early 2020. Future plans (spring 2020 onward) include offering this training in other Canadian provinces, as well as contract deliveries to any organization or company. For more information, please contact us.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once - come back anytime.


Upon successful completion, participants will be able to:   

  • Interpret, contrast and apply current federal legislation, and policies

  • Interpret recent changes to the Fisheries Act

  • Critically assess specific project risks, requirements and obligations

  • Apply current regulatory frameworks for individual projects of all sizes

  • Identify and contrast roles and responsibilities (professionally and ethically) of proponents, stakeholders, consultants and regulators in conducting and reviewing projects in or about water

  • Identify and learn how projects are reviewed and obligations of proponents in submitting and proposing projects; and,

  • Develop and determine methods and approaches to avoid typical issues and errors that can result in time, cost and potential litigation.

Who enrols in the Working in and About Water course?

The course is directed at Intermediate and Senior staff that manage projects, people and programs. Course participants typically include: government and First Nations representatives and professionals, ecology and biology professionals, natural resource and industry consultants and stakeholders.


There are no formal prerequisites. This course involves examples and discussions regarding regulatory process, project obligations and individual responsibilities throughout project development. Both experienced and non-experienced participants will learn from the discussions. Participants are encouraged to being their own projects and issues into the classroom for discussion.

What should I bring?

This course is classroom-based and does not include a field training component. Participants are required to bring/supply their own laptop, writing pad, pen/pencils and refreshments (lunch is not provided).

For further information, please contact NRTG.  

How do I Attend? 

This course is available via our website Schedule Page, or on contract to organizations/community groups. Beginning in 2020, the Working in and About Water - Legislation, Regulations and Responsibilities course will be scheduled for community-based deliveries throughout the year. Interested groups or organizations can also arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this course. In either scenario, contact NRTG for further information.

If you would like to have this course delivered to your group or community, please consider the following:

1. Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date

2. If applicable, secure program funding

3. Recruit course participants (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 10-12 participants)

4. Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

Check our course Schedule page for upcoming course deliveries. 

Instructor Profile:

Dr. Gregory Thomas, PhD.

Senior Scientist

Dr. Thomas, a Registered Professional Biologist and Member of the American Institute of Chemists, has a PhD. in forensic aquatic toxicology and is President of G3 Consulting Ltd., a firm based in Surrey BC, in business for 29 years. Dr. Thomas has been project manager and senior scientist on hundreds of environmental and human health risk assessments, biophysical studies, habitat compensation projects, environmental effects monitoring studies, applied research studies and projects in and about water throughout BC and abroad over the last 30 years. Dr. Thomas provides expert legal witness and trial consultation services to government and the private sector and is an expert on regulatory and project issues involving work in and about water.

Ms. Julie Désy, M.Sc., R.P. Bio.

Project Scientist

Ms. Désy has a Master’s degree in Environmental Toxicology and is a registered professional biologist in BC. Ms. Désy has 20 years of experience in environmental assessment and applied aquatic biology and marine and freshwater ecological science. Ms. Désy has worked on a broad range of projects to monitor and assess environmental effects in the aquatic environment.

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