Schedule 2 is an inconspicuous name for legislation that is responsible for the destruction of freshwater bodies in Canada. Schedule 2 is a loophole in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation (MMER) of the federal Fisheries Act that allows metal mining corporations to use lakes and rivers as toxic dump sites. Once added to Schedule 2, healthy freshwater lakes lose all environmental protections.
Schedule 2 was first introduced by the Liberal government in 2002. At the time, environmental groups were told it was merely an administrative detail aimed at accounting for the lakes and rivers that had historically been used for mining waste. The Liberal government gave assurances that Schedule 2 would not be used for healthy bodies of water.
Then in 2006, under the Harper government, two lakes in Newfoundland and Labrador were approved for destruction using the MMER loophole and a precedent was set that would put the future of all lakes and rivers throughout the country in jeopardy. Since then, Environment Canada has released a list of 13 natural water bodies that mining corporations have applied to use as toxic dumpsites – or what the companies refer to as “tailings impoundment areas.” Numerous bodies of water have already been approved for destruction.