Frequently Asked Questions
The type of activities that require a water use licence are outlined in Schedules 2 and 5 through 10 of the Waters Regulation. Some of the variables that determine whether a water use licence is required include:
· amount of water to be used,
· type of undertaking,
· type of work proposed and
· whether watercourse training or diversion construction is proposed.
If you have further questions, our staff at the Water Board Secretariat, in cooperation with our colleagues from Energy Mines and Resources and Environment will be happy to assist you (phone 867 - 456-3980).
I already have a water use licence which is going to expire soon, why do I need to submit an entirely new application?
The Board requires that an application for renewal, or for an extension to the term of a licence, must be accompanied by a current application form. Legislation, policies, best management practices and the information needs of both the Board and other parties may all change over time. Water use licences generally require that you conduct the project in the manner that was proposed in the application, but plans that were proposed some years ago may no longer reflect how you intend to carry out the project today. If you think that a copy of your previous application may be useful in completing the new application, we can help.
Amendments to a licence generally take the same amount of time as a new licence, because the public notice process required by legislation is the same for both a new licence and an amendment. However, the Waters Act does provide that the Board can dispense with the public notice period if the Board, with the consent of the Minister, declares that the amendment is required on an emergency basis. The legislation does not define "emergency". The Board, however, has typically been reluctant to bypass the public consultation process and has defined an emergency as a sudden occurrence which requires immediate action. The Board has also typically expected Licensees to show that there will be an adverse environmental consequence if the application for amendment is not dealt with immediately.
You are not required to have an agent.
The forms are intended to be user friendly and if you do encounter problems, licensing officers will help you.
We welcome suggestions on how our forms can be improved.
- Government of Yukon, Regional Client Services and Inspections Branch for placer applications
- Government of Yukon, Regional Mining Land Use offices for placer applications
- Government of Yukon, Environment for non placer applications
- Federal, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Federal, Transport Canada, Navigable Waters Protection Division
- Federal, Environment Canada
- Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Board
Applications are available online, at the Yukon Water Board office in Whitehorse, and at Government of Yukon, Dawson District Regional Office (for placer undertakings).
The application fee for a water use licence and for the amendment, assignment or cancellation of a water use licence is $30.
You will also be required to pay a deposit of the first year water use fees.
Water-use fees vary, depending on the quantity of water that is required.
Water Licensee's are billed annually in advance for the water-use fees.
The fee is calculated according to Section 8 of the Waters Regulation. You can contact the office for more information.
If you are also applying for a Class 4 Mining Land Use Operating Plan Approval (“MLU”), then there will be additional fees:
|New/Renewal||over 5-10 yrs||$500|
Section 6 of the Waters Regulation sets out minimum information requirements. The Water Board information sheets for each undertaking describe additional mandatory information requirements.
There may be additional information requirements specific to your project.
Although there are legislated time frames for certain stages of the licensing process, there is no guarantee that a licence will be issued within a certain time frame.
It is important to note that the length of time it will take to process and have an application approved is based on the responsiveness of the applicant to requests for information, the public notification process, the complexity of the project and the type of undertaking proposed.
After the Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Process ("YESAA") has been completed, and after you have provided the Water Board with confirmation that your project has not changed through that process, then it would be reasonable to allow four months for the processing of a typical application for a type B water use licence. Applications which are incomplete, or where there are significant concerns raised by interveners, and applications that are subjected to public hearings, will take longer.
The application for a Type B will be processed as follows:
- The application is checked for completeness and accuracy. You may be required to provide additional information.
- Once the licensing officer has received all necessary information, as well as the YESAA decision document and your written confirmation that the project has not changed during the YESAA assessment, the public review process will begin.
- An advertisement, including the deadline for comment, will be placed in the local newspapers. The deadline for comment is generally 25 days after the initial advertisement date for placer applications and 10 days for non-placer applications. Advertisements are also distributed to a distribution list which includes the applicant and/or their agent, government departments (both territorial & federal), non-government organizations/councils, First Nations and any other interested parties.
- Once advertised, the public register is uploaded to the applications page of the water board web site for easy viewing by any interested party. The original application is also available for viewing at the water board office.
- A public hearing may be requested.
- The application will be presented to the Board. If the licence is approved, a copy will be distributed to the applicant and the interveners.
For further information on Type A applications and applications that require a public hearing, contact the Yukon Water Board office.
Anyone who submits a response to a water licence application becomes an intervener. Interventions are any comments submitted regarding a water licence application and may be supportive, unsupportive or neutral. Even a "no concerns" letter is considered an intervention. Once a party has submitted an intervention, they will be added to the distribution list and will receive a copy of the Board’s decision.
The Board will want to know what your concerns and recommendations are, and any other information in support of your position. You must clearly indicate that you have sent a copy to the applicant (so that they may respond). The Board will want to know if you are asking for a public hearing (and why) or if you are intending to stand on your written submission.
The Yukon Water Board Rules of Procedure sets out the requirements.
Applicants are encouraged to respond to any intervention.
The participation of the public is a vital component of the water licensing process. Public hearings will be scheduled for new applications on Type A licenses, for applications for amendment to a Type A licence where the quality, quantity or rate of flow of a watercourse would be altered, or for applications for cancellation of a Type A licence. The Board may also hold a public hearing for a Type B application, if it determines that a hearing would be in the public interest.
The Yukon Water Board cannot determine if an application will need a fisheries authorization. You should contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada early in the application process.
Every decision of the Board is final, except questions of law and jurisdiction may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
There is no provision for interim licensing.
You should contact:
- Government of Yukon, Regional Client Services and Inspections Branch for placer applications.
- Government of Yukon, Environment for non placer applications.
Water use fees are charged for the right to use water. If you do not exercise that right, the fees are still payable.
The Board will consider an application that overlaps on grants where there is an exsisting water use licence; however, applicants must provide a letter of agreement with the exsisting Licensee and provide details/scheduling to show how the two operations will operate at the same time. With this information, the Board will make the final decision whether or not to approve the second licence.
Will the Board issue a water use licence for a placer operation if a water licence has already been issued to someone else for the same placer grants?
The Board will consider an application that overlaps on grants where there is an existing water use licence; however, applicants must provide a letter of agreement with the existing Licensee and provide details/scheduling to show how the two operations will operate at the same time. With this information, the Board will make the final decision whether or not to approve the second licence.
The authority to approve a Class 4 Mining Land Use Operating Plans for placer mining has been delegated to the Board. For all other Mining Land Use Operating Plan Approvals, contact Government of Yukon, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.
The Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Act was fully implemented in December 2005. Projects that require a water use licence will also require an assessment under YESAA.
The Yukon Water Board cannot issue a licence if the issuance would be contrary to a Decision Document issued under YESAA and a water use licence cannot conflict with that Decision Document.
It is your responsibility to apply to the Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Board. More information about that process, including the location and contact information for your district office, is available through the YESAA website www.yesab.ca
When the YESAA process is completed, the Decision Body (government) will provide you with a copy of the Decision Document, and they will send a copy to the Water Board office. The water board will wait for you to confirm that the project has not changed through the YESAA process, and that there is no new information that should be included in your application. You are responsible for providing this Project Confirmation Form.
As soon as the Water Board receives your confirmation that the project has not changed and that there is no new information that should be included in your application, our review for adequacy can be completed. It is very important that you submit the completed form as soon as possible after your YESAA decision document is issued.
The decision is yours to make whether to apply first to YESAA or to the Water Board; applicants are also welcome to submit both applications at the same time.
Some factors to consider are that YESAA may require the same information that you would provide in your water use application, and so it may be simpler for you to apply to the Water Board first and provide a copy to YESAA. On the other hand, the Water Board cannot proceed with your application for a water use licence until you have completed the YESAA process, a Decision Document has been issued, and you have provided the Water Board with written confirmation that your project has not changed from what you proposed in the application.
If you decide to submit your application to the Water Board first, our office will allocate an application number, which will be used in our office to track both your application and the eventual water use licence and/or mining land use operating plan approval. When you submit your application to YESAA, that office will ask you to "name" your project. It will be helpful to the Water Board, and it may help to efficiently process your application, if you include your water licence application number in the YESAA project name.
Please review the Yukon Water Board Guidelines for Processing an Application for Emergency Amendment. For further information or if you have any questions, please contact the Yukon Water Board.