Multiple incidences of dead fish found on the shores of the Lièvre and Ottawa rivers in July 2019

Petition: 436

Issue(s): Biological diversity; Compliance and enforcement; Federal-provincial relations; Human/environmental health; Water

Petitioner(s): A Canadian Organization

Petitioner Location(s): Ottawa, Ontario

Date Received: 28 October 2019

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition concerns a series of large‑scale fish kill incidents that occurred in July 2019 in the Lièvre and Ottawa rivers. It asks about the federal government’s response to a subsequent Quebec government investigation, which concluded that a dam in the Rivière du Lièvre was responsible for the fish kill and not a chemical contaminant. According to the petition, results from fish sample tests were not made available by the Quebec government, and Environment and Climate Change Canada has not commented publicly on the results or actions taken in regard to its own examination of the fish kill.

The petition requests information on what data was collected by the federal government to determine the cause of the fish kill, how Environment and Climate Change Canada analyzed the samples it gathered, and whether provincial and federal authorities shared the relevant information they collected. The petition states that there were concerns regarding public health and safety about the water in the Lièvre and Ottawa rivers, citing a media report that a provincial fish necropsy (investigation into the cause of death for the fish) found the fish deaths were likely due to “a fast acting chemical contaminant.”

In addition, the petition asks whether federal water‑quality data was shared with the provincial authorities and whether steps were taken to inform the public about potential water‑quality issues. The petition asks whether the federal government has obtained data from the Quebec government that substantiates a verdict that a dam was the cause of the fish kill and whether the federal government agrees with this finding. The petition also questions whether the fish kill events have violated the Fisheries Act, and if so, why a federal investigation has not been launched.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada; Department of Fisheries and Oceans