Canada's New Government takes action to improve the health of our oceans



    MONT-JOLI, QC, Oct. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced a
five-year commitment by Canada's New Government to the Health of the Oceans
Initiative.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to protecting Canada's marine
environment," said Minister Cannon. "Over the next five years, our government
will invest more than $60 million in initiatives which will bring tangible
improvements to the health of our oceans and the economic health of our
coastal communities. Transport Canada will invest $23.85 million under this
initiative. Canada's New Government is adding $42.5 million to the
$19.0 million announced in Budget 2007 for Canada's National Water Strategy."
    With its allocated funds, our Government protects Canada's waterways from
ship-source pollution by:

    
    1. Enforcing ballast water regulations to protect Canada's marine
       ecosystems from the risk posed by invasive aquatic species
       ($4.5 million over five years).

    2. Increasing the capacity of the National Aerial Surveillance Program to
       detect oil spills, gather evidence to prosecute polluters and act as a
       deterrent to potential polluters ($13 million over five years).

    3. Outfitting Transport Canada's Dash 7 Surveillance Aircraft with a
       Maritime Surveillance System for use in Canada's Arctic in order to
       track and identify polluters and gather prosecution information - in
       all weather and during hours of darkness, when many illegal discharges
       occur ($5 million over three years).

    4. Co-leading an international Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment to
       assess and predict marine shipping uses and activities, and the
       impacts of changing marine traffic.

    5. Researching implementation of a Ship Waste Reduction Strategy
       ($800,000 over five years) to further prevent marine pollution from
       ships.

    "Today's announcement is just one part of Canada's New Government's
strategy to improve the health of the oceans. Initiatives under the
responsibilities of other departments will be announced in the coming days,"
added Minister Cannon.
    A backgrounder with more information on the Transport Canada Health of the
Oceans initiatives is attached.

                                 BACKGROUNDER
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

             HEALTH OF THE OCEANS INITIATIVES AT TRANSPORT CANADA
             ----------------------------------------------------

    Canada's New Government strengthened its commitment to the National Water
Strategy it announced in Budget 2007 by increasing its investment to $61.5
million over five years. These Health of the Oceans funds are dedicated to
protecting fragile marine ecosystems and Canada's ocean resources for coastal
communities. The money will be distributed to five federal departments and
agencies - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Transport Canada.

    Funding to Transport Canada

    A total of $23.85 million of the Health of the Oceans funding has been
allocated to Transport Canada over five years, for initiatives that will bring
tangible improvements to the marine environment of Canada's three oceans.
Transport Canada is using these funds to protect Canada's waterways from ship
source pollution. Strategies include:

    - Enforcing new Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations

    Scientific evidence suggests that ships discharging untreated ballast
    water can introduce harmful organisms and pathogens to vulnerable
    ecosystems. Over the next five years, $4.5 million will be used to
    enforce the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 Ballast Water Control and
    Management Regulations, which require ships to manage ballast in ways
    that reduce the risk posed by invasive aquatic species.
    Specifically, the funding will be used to increase the number of marine
    inspectors enforcing ballast water regulations, to support the
    development of technologies to better address ballast water issues, and
    to equip our marine inspectors with the proper tools to enforce the
    ballast water regulations.

    - Improving aerial surveillance

    Aerial surveillance is a proven tool in combatting ship-source marine
    pollution. For example, during fiscal year 2006-2007, Transport Canada
    conducted 1,649 hours of dedicated productive pollution patrol. This
    resulted in detecting 98 marine pollution incidents from the
    10,063 vessels flown over. Transport Canada forecasts 2,000 flying hours
    this year.

    Plans to improve Transport Canada's aerial surveillance program include:

     - Investing $13 million over five years to increase the capacity of the
       National Aerial Surveillance Program to:

      - increase the frequency of patrols and area of coverage to locations
        not normally patrolled on a dedicated basis, such as the Arctic.
        This will result in Canada having all three oceans protected with a
        similar capability.
      - protect the marine environment from the adverse effects of shipping
        by enforcing the pollution prevention regulations in all waters under
        Canadian jurisdiction.
      - establish a greater presence over Canadian waterways that will deter
        potential polluters.

      - Investing $5 million over three years to modernize Transport Canada's
        Dash 7 Surveillance Aircraft with a maritime surveillance system.
        This aircraft will conduct surveillance operations in Canada's Arctic
        during the shipping season and over Canada's Great Lakes during the
        remainder of the year. The aircraft will be capable of operating in
        all weather conditions and during hours of darkness or reduced
        visibility. Transport Canada plans to conduct 25 to 30 per cent of
        its pollution patrols during hours of darkness, as this is when many
        illegal discharges are expected to occur.

    - Co-leading the International Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment

    Canada, Finland and the United States are co-leading the Arctic Marine
Shipping Assessment (AMSA). Transport Canada is Canada's lead. The assessment
will study traditional marine activity and commercial shipping activity, and
related social, economic and environmental impacts. This will be used to
assess current impacts, as well as predicting future marine shipping uses and
activities and the impacts of changing marine traffic in the Arctic.

    The AMSA is also expected to lead to:

      - a greater understanding of Aboriginal Arctic marine resource use;
      - a greater understanding of the social, economic and environmental
        impacts from changing shipping patterns on northern and aboriginal
        communities,
      - an improved understanding of the adequacy of existing requirements
        and the need for additional rules for protecting the Arctic marine
        environment from ship activity.

    - Introducing a Ship Waste Reduction Strategy

    Transport Canada will invest $800,000 over five years to develop and
    implement a Ship Waste Reduction Strategy to further prevent marine
    pollution from ships. Transport Canada recognizes the importance of
    having adequate facilities on shore to receive waste generated by ships.

    Transport Canada is serious about its role in preventing pollution. The
investments being made with Health of the Oceans funds actively support the
goals of the Government of Canada by targeting the protection of Canadian
waters from ship source pollution.
    Visit http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/backgrounders/b07-M006.htm or the
Canadian Marine Advisory Council website at www.cmac-ccmc.gc.ca to learn more
about regulations dealing with environmental protection or the Canada Shipping
Act, 2001 reform.

                                                                 October 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is
online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport
Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative formats for
persons with visual disabilities.


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890