OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada has the world's longest coastline, and our water is one of our most important resources. Canadians across the country rely on transportation to go about their everyday life or to deliver products to market in a safe and responsible way.
As we mark the one-year anniversary of Canada's $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan—the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways—the Government of Canada is pleased to introduce the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act in Parliament. Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada has already invested more than $450 million.
Today, Bill C-64 was introduced in Parliament. The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, said the proposed legislation will proactively deal with wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels. Bill C-64 will also bring the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 into force of law in Canada. It is one of several measures the Government of Canada has committed to delivering and implementing under the Oceans Protection Plan.
The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act will:
- prohibit vessel abandonment;
- strengthen owner responsibility and liability for hazardous vessels and wrecks, including costs for clean-up and removal; and
- empower the Government of Canada to take proactive action on hazardous vessels before they become more costly to Canadians.
Preventing abandoned vessels and reducing the impacts from wrecked and hazardous vessels will improve environmental protections and increase economic opportunities through tourism and fishing. At the same time, these actions will reduce local threats to human health and safety while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come.
The Oceans Protection Plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system, while preserving our ecosystems, creating strong Indigenous partnerships and engaging coastal communities, and investing in research to ensure decisions are evidence based.
Oceans Protection Plan Quick Facts
- On September 21, 2017, the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 was tabled in Parliament. The Convention will strengthen vessel owners' liability for hazardous wrecks from marine incidents.
- On September 7, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada launched a five-year $1.3 million Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Removals Program.
- In August 2017, Transport Canada announced a total investment of over $175 million in seven measures to help protect Arctic waters as part of the Oceans Protection Plan.
- In May 2017, Transport Canada launched a five-year $6.85 million Abandoned Boats Program, which provides funding support for the removal and disposal of hazardous small boats, helps educate boat owners about responsibly managing their end-of-life boats, and supports research on boat recycling.
- Last November, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
"We are taking further action on our promise to protect Canada's coasts and waterways. Holding vessel owners accountable for their actions is an important step in ensuring Canadians are not burdened by the effects of wrecked and abandoned vessels, nor responsible for their clean-up costs. This is an important stage in addressing abandoned and wrecked vessels. This will give the shore back to the communities and protect our coasts and the quality of our water. The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand."
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
"Today's announcement is an important step in delivering on our government's commitment to addressing wrecked, abandoned and hazardous vessels throughout Canada's vast waterways. The legislation will mean increased accountability on Canadian waterways, so that responsible vessel owners and the public can safely use, and enjoy, Canada's pristine environment."
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"It's important to celebrate our ambitious actions to protect Canada's oceans and coastlines. We have not only strengthened our ability to respond quickly to marine environmental emergencies, but our scientists are expanding their knowledge of species and vulnerable coastal areas. In years to come, this program will continue to support a growing Canadian economy and a healthy environment."
The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
"The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act will be the first of its kind in Canada. It will strengthen owner responsibility and liability for their vessels, including costs for clean-up and removal. The Government of Canada takes the protection of the marine environment seriously."
Member of Parliament for South Shore - St. Margaret's
For more information:
- Canada's Oceans Protection Plan
- Canada's National Strategy on Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels
- Oceans Protection Plan accomplishments
- Transport Canada's Abandoned Boats Program
- Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program
- Investments under the Oceans Protection Plan to protect Canada's Arctic Coast and Water
- Pilotage Act Review
The Oceans Protection Plan
Canadians rely on their coasts and waterways to earn a living, to import goods and to export Canadian products. The Government of Canada is working hard to make sure our country will benefit from healthy oceans for generations to come.
In November 2016, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways, while also growing our economy.
During the past year, the Government of Canada has already invested more than $450 million through the Oceans Protection Plan and launched several initiatives.
Creating stronger Indigenous partnerships and engaging coastal communities
Collaboration is the cornerstone of programs and initiatives launched under the Oceans Protection Plan and the Government of Canada values the traditional knowledge and expertise of Canada's Indigenous Peoples and coastal communities. Several meetings have been held with Indigenous groups to begin discussions on establishing implementation strategies supporting the advancement of the Oceans Protection Plan. In exploring ways for communities to become more involved in managing local waterways, the federal government is initiating pilot projects to develop an Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness tool that provides a user-friendly system to increase access to local maritime information – including vessel traffic. The government will also work with local communities to develop a national Proactive Vessel Management plan that will identify areas where local management actions could minimize environmental, cultural and social impacts, as well as conflicts between users.
Partnerships with Indigenous groups and local communities will be further strengthened through the expanded national Community Participation Funding Program. This program provides capacity funding to enable participation of Indigenous groups and local communities in the implementation of the Oceans Protection Plan.
Protecting the environment
A better understanding of how marine shipping is impacting our environment is essential to protect our oceans. The Government of Canada announced that it is implementing a national Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to better characterize coastal ecosystems and to help assess the impacts of human activities on our marine ecosystems.
Over the next five years, scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and community partners will collect comprehensive baseline data in six areas of the country where there is an existing or potential increase in vessel traffic.
To boost marine emergency prevention and response capacity, the Canadian Coast Guard will also establish six new radar stations, modernize emergency response equipment, and increase tow capacity. This will provide critical search and rescue services for Canadians.
In addition, the Coast Guard will be receiving new Search and Rescue lifeboats, five of which are committed under the Oceans Protection Plan. These assets will provide critical search and rescue services for Canadians.
Modernizing our marine safety system
As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is reviewing the Pilotage Act. The review will modernize its legislative and regulatory framework to help ensure pilotage services are delivered effectively. The review will focus on a wide range of topics drawn from stakeholder feedback during recent consultations. This includes tariffs, service delivery, governance, and dispute resolution.
The government is also establishing seven new Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat stations, and creating 24/7 emergency management and response capacity within the Coast Guard's three existing Regional Operations Centres across Canada, to better plan and coordinate effective response during an incident.
Transport Canada is adopting the Incident Command System — an all-hazards management system used internationally — to strengthen our response to marine incidents and enable us to work seamlessly with our partners.
Supporting science-based decisions
The Government of Canada has committed to making science the cornerstone of public policy. By funding ocean and freshwater research, we are building our research capacity to reinforce our science-based approach to marine management.
As part of the Government of Canada's investments in science, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has established a Partnership Fund, which provides $5 million per year in support of collaborative research and to increase collective understanding of our oceans and freshwater.
The Government announced an investment of close to $20 million over five years for modern and improved hydrography and charting in areas of high traffic, commercial ports and waterways, to make navigation safer.
Removing abandoned boats and wrecks
One important element of the Oceans Protection Plan's national strategy on abandoned and wrecked vessels is related to abandoned small boats in Canada. These can pollute the marine environment, harm local businesses such as tourism and fisheries, damage infrastructure, interfere with navigation, and pose safety risks to Canadians.
Transport Canada's Abandoned Boats Program provides funding to help communities remove and dispose of abandoned or wrecked small boats in all other Canadian waters other than small craft harbours. Additionally this program will better inform Canadians of their responsibility to properly dispose of boats and decrease the number of vessels abandoned on our coasts.
The Fisheries and Oceans Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal program provides funding to Harbour Authorities and other recipients to remove and dispose of abandoned and wrecked vessels located in federal small craft harbours.
And most recently, the Government of Canada introduced the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. This will bring the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 into law and address Canadian's concerns regarding wrecked and abandoned vessels that pose a danger or impediment to navigation, or that may result in major harmful consequences to the marine environment, the coastline or other coastal interests.
Protecting Canada's whale populations
The Government of Canada places a high priority on protecting endangered and at-risk whale populations. Following a series of in-person consultation sessions last August, the government launched Let's Talk Whales, an online public engagement site to propose recovery measures that will help three endangered whale populations, the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the St-Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the North Atlantic Right Whale in Canada. The government also hosted a symposium in Vancouver to explore collaborative options to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale. Participants discussed the latest science on contaminants, prey availability, and underwater noise within the Southern Resident Killer Whale habitat and began the critical work of charting an integrated path to the recovery of the species.
While the planning and resourcing phase of some initiatives are underway, participation remains a key component. There will be several opportunities for Canadians to provide input into decisions, and there is much more to come as all players collaborate in finding solutions to protect our coasts. We invite all Canadians to consult the Let's Talk – Oceans Protection Plan portal and get involved in the discussions.
To learn more about the Oceans Protection Plan, visit http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/campaigns/protecting-coasts.html.
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SOURCE Transport Canada
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