Regulation - LGIC

Proposed changes to licensing of low-risk research facilities culturing fish

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 664/98
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Summary of Decision:
A decision was made to proceed with several legislative and regulatory amendments that will modernize and streamline the legislative and regulatory framework governing aquaculture in Ontario.

Amendments have been made to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) through the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020, which received Royal Assent on December 8, 2020. These amendments:
• established the ability for the Minister to change FWCA licences and authorizations, including their conditions
• changed decision-making power from Lieutenant Governor in Council to Minister to prescribe species of fish that may be cultured in Ontario

An amendment was also made to Ontario Regulation 664/98 (Fish Licensing Regulation) through Ontario Regulation 759/20, filed by the Registrar of Regulations on December 16th, 2020 , to exempt certain low-risk research facilities culturing fish from requiring an aquaculture licence, provided they meet criteria prescribed in the regulation. Two additional administrative changes were made to the Fish Licensing Regulation to clarify that a holder of a sport fishing licence must keep any licences or documents deemed to be a licence intact and legible and update a reference to the Fish Inspection Act to reflect a change to the federal legislation.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
This proposal is expected to have minimal impact on the majority of Ontarians and is not anticipated to result in costs to stakeholders, businesses or government.

The proposed regulatory licence exemption is expected to provide cost savings to qualifying low-risk research facilities through eliminating the cost of the licence itself, and eliminating the costs associated with applying for a licence.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 6, 2020
Summary of Proposal:
Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) and Ontario Regulation 664/98, a licence is required to engage in aquaculture in Ontario, unless otherwise exempt.

Aquaculture operations across the province vary widely based on type and size of operations, as well as risk to the natural environment.

Aquaculture facilities can range from:
• community hatcheries
• fee-for-fishing businesses
• aquaponics facilities
• large industrial scale indoor operations
• open water cage aquaculture

To modernize Ontario's approach to aquaculture and reduce regulatory burdens, the Ministry is proposing to exempt certain low-risk research facilities culturing fish from requiring an aquaculture licence.

The proposed exemption will make it easier and more cost effective for educational institutions and facilities to undertake aquaculture research, while continuing to ensure that aquaculture in Ontario is developed and conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Contact Address:
MNRF - Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch Fisheries Section
300 Water Street
5th floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Effective Date:
December 8, 2020