Port of Oshawa facilitator appointed



    OTTAWA, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the appointment
of David Crombie as the federal representative and facilitator of discussions
concerning the divestiture of the Port of Oshawa.
    "Canada's New Government is helping to resolve the issues regarding the
future of the Port of Oshawa," said Minister Cannon. "I am confident that Mr.
Crombie will engage all parties involved to arrive at a negotiated solution
that serves the interests of the port and the community."
    Under its Port Divestiture Program, Transport Canada has been working
with the City of Oshawa, the Oshawa Harbour Commission (OHC) and the
commercial port users to find a way to divest the port that best meets the
needs of all parties. The Minister has asked Mr. Crombie to work with all the
interested parties to develop recommendations and submit a report within 90
days.
    David Crombie is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has been Mayor of
Toronto, a Member of Parliament and a federal cabinet minister. He served as
the first Chancellor of Ryerson Polytechnic University and has received
honorary doctor of laws degrees from the University of Toronto and the
University of Waterloo. A member of many community organizations, he is
president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, chair of Ontario Place
Corporation, founding chair of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and president
of David Crombie & Associates Inc. He also serves as chair of the Advisory
Council for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.
    The OHC currently manages the port and administers some of the port's
Crown land. It is the only remaining Harbour Commission in Canada. Under the
National Marine Policy approved in 1995, Transport Canada has the authority,
through the Port Divestiture Program, to divest ownership interests in
Canada's public ports and harbours.

    A backgrounder with information on the Port Divestiture Program is
attached.

    
                           PORT DIVESTITURE PROGRAM
    
    The 1995 National Marine Policy outlines the Government of Canada's plan
to modernize Canada's marine transportation system.
    The public port system supports the safe and efficient movement of
vessels and cargo that is so important to many of Canada's regional economies.
In its Port Divestiture Program, Transport Canada transfers the ownership and
operation of regional/local ports and harbour beds to other federal
departments, provincial governments, community organizations or local
interests.
    This transfer puts the ports in the hands of those who can make good
decisions based on local needs, and results in a more effective and efficient
port system with local accountability. The new owners have the same rights and
obligations as any property owner and must obey all laws that apply to them.
    As of March 31, 2007, 469 of the 549 sites identified at the start of the
program (85 per cent) are no longer under Transport Canada's control. This has
saved Canadian taxpayers more than $270 million. In Budget 2007, the
Government of Canada extended the program until March 31, 2012.
    Under the Port Divestiture Program, regional/local ports and harbour beds
owned by Transport Canada are offered first to other Government of Canada
departments and then to the provinces. If the province is not interested,
Transport Canada then looks to local stakeholders, including municipalities,
for expressions of interest. A public tender may be used if no expressions of
interest are received.
    A Port Divestiture Fund exists to make the transfer process easier for
new owners. It provides funds for local interests to assume ownership and
operate in local business conditions.
    Under the National Marine Policy, most of Canada's ports were classified
as regional/local. However, the policy also includes two other categories not
covered by the Port Divestiture Program:

    Canada Port Authorities (CPAs): These 19 ports are vital to domestic and
international trade, financially self-sufficient and independently managed by
boards of directors nominated by user groups and various orders of government.
CPAs are governed by the Canada Marine Act, which enables them to operate in a
more commercial, efficient and timely manner.

    Remote ports: These 26 ports serve the basic transportation needs of
isolated communities and rely on the presence of an existing Transport Canada
wharf structure. Remote ports will continue to be operated by Transport Canada
unless local groups express an interest in acquiring them.

    While Transport Canada is transferring its property interests in
regional/local ports, the Government of Canada still controls marine traffic.
This means that no matter who owns the port, ships must obey all federal laws
such as the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canada Shipping Act.




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Robin Browne, Communications, 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.


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