VICTORIA, Sept. 22, 2018 /CNW/ - Canada's coasts and waterways are an important part of Canadian identity. Our coasts enable the export of our goods overseas and the import of foreign goods into Canada. They are home to Canadian fisheries, attract tourism, and support coastal communities' livelihoods and Indigenous cultures and ways of life.
Abandoned boats are a growing problem across Canada, and the Government of Canada, under the Oceans Protection Plan, is working diligently to deter this practice. Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government Joyce Murray announced, on behalf of the Minister of Transport the Honourable Marc Garneau, the most recent applicants to receive funding under the Abandoned Boats Program. This program provides money to support the assessment, removal, and disposal of abandoned boats in Canadian waters.
A total of $31,346 will be provided to remove six boats that litter the shores of British Columbia. Recipients are:
- Bowen Island Municipality (Bowen Island) – $5,250
- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Vancouver) – $6,411
- Salish Sea Industrial Services (Victoria) – $19,685
Under the Abandoned Boats Program, a total of $6.85 million will be allocated under the Oceans Protection Plan—a $1.5 billion initiative which is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways. This national strategy is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines for generations to come. The strategy is being developed in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.
"With the Abandoned Boats Program, the Government of Canada has made a meaningful investment to help clean up local communities. Congratulations to the successful applicants for working with us to keep British Columbia beautiful, and to address environmental pollution and hazards to navigation caused by these abandoned wrecks."
Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
"Under the Oceans Protection Plan, we continue to do excellent work to strengthen, beautify, and safeguard our coasts and waterways for future generations. I am pleased to witness municipalities, ports, and private companies coming together to support the Government of Canada in its ambitious goals."
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
- Since May 31, 2017, the Abandoned Boats Program has launched three calls for proposals for projects to be funded through grants and contributions, the most recent of which will remain open until March 31, 2019. To date, funding has been approved for the assessment of 86 boats for a total of $265,060, and for the removal of 20 boats for a total of $136,746.
- To help stem the flow of problem vessels, the Government of Canada has also proposed new legislation. The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (Bill C-64) will increase vessel owner liability, and strengthen the Government's response in cases where owners do not behave responsibly with regards to disposal of their boats.
- Other important measures undertaken by the Government of Canada include improving vessel owner identification, creating an inventory of vessels and assessing their risks, and establishing a polluter pays approach for vessel clean-up.
- Protecting our Coasts - Oceans Protection Plan
- Let's Talk – Oceans Protection Plan
- Abandoned boats and wrecks
National Strategy to address Canada's wrecked and abandoned vessels
The Government of Canada recognizes that wrecked and abandoned vessels can pose hazards to the environment, public health and safety, and local economies such as fishing and tourism industries.
Most owners are responsible and maintain and dispose of their vessels properly. However, a small percentage of owners who are not responsible can create significant impacts on our coastal communities, with the burden for costly clean-up often falling on Canadian taxpayers.
In November 2016, the Government of Canada launched the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, protect Canada's marine environment and help advance Indigenous reconciliation.
This comprehensive national strategy, focused on preventing and removing these problem vessels, is a key element of the Oceans Protection Plan.
This strategy includes:
- Bill C-64 - Proposed Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act
- Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007
- Inventory and assessments
- Improving vessel owner identification
- Long-term funding for the removal of wrecked and abandoned vessels
- The Abandoned Boats Program
- The Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program
Collectively, these measures aim to reduce the number of problem vessels that pose hazards in Canadian waters, and support the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems.
PROPOSED WRECKED, ABANDONED OR HAZARDOUS VESSELS ACT
In 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. This will:
- bring into Canadian law the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007;
- address irresponsible vessel management by prohibiting: vessel abandonment; causing a vessel to become a wreck; or leaving a dilapidated (poor condition) vessel in the same area without consent;
- strengthen owner responsibility and liability for their vessels, including costs for clean-up and removal; and
- empower the federal government to address problem vessels more proactively.
Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 (Nairobi Convention)
In 2017, the Government of Canada tabled the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. The Nairobi Convention strengthens ship owners' liability for hazardous wrecks resulting from marine incidents. Once brought into force of law in Canada, vessel owners will be strictly liable for locating, marking, and, if necessary, removing at their cost a wreck that poses a hazard.
Owners of large commercial vessels (300 gross tonnes and above) will also be required to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover the potential costs related to the locating, marking and removal of the wreck.
INVENTORY AND ASSESSMENTS
An on-going inventory of wrecked and abandoned vessels will be developed. This publically accessible inventory will be kept up to date and include risk assessments to guide and prioritize future actions on high risk vessels.
IMPROVING VESSEL OWNER IDENTIFICATION
The effectiveness of the proposed new legislation will rely on the ability to identify vessel owners. The Government is working with provinces and territories to collaborate on ways to further enhance the pleasure craft licensing system, and has launched a study to assess gaps in Canada's commercial vessel registration systems.
LONG-TERM FUNDING FOR THE REMOVAL OF WRECKED AND ABANDONED VESSELS
As part of the national strategy on wrecked and abandoned vessels and as part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government is looking at options to establish vessel-owner financed funds to address large and small high risk vessels over the longer-term.
THE ABANDONED BOATS PROGRAM
Transport Canada's five-year, $6.85 million Abandoned Boats Program, announced in 2017, provides funding to:
- assist communities in the assessment, removal and disposal of existing high-priority abandoned and/or wrecked small boats posing hazards in Canadian waters;
- educate small-boat owners about how to responsibly manage their end-of-life boats; and
- support research on boat recycling and environmentally responsible boat design.
A guide for applicants and additional information is available on Transport Canada's website at:http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/abandoned-boats-program.html
THE SMALL CRAFT HARBOURS ABANDONED AND WRECKED VESSELS REMOVAL PROGRAM
Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program, announced in 2017, will provide up to $1.325 million over five years to Harbour Authorities and other eligible recipients to remove and dispose of abandoned and/or wrecked vessels located in small craft harbours owned by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
A guide for applicants and additional information is available on Fisheries and Oceans Canada's website at: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sch-ppb/vessels-bateaux/index-eng.html
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SOURCE Transport Canada
For further information: Delphine Denis, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700, [email protected]; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055, [email protected]; Media Inquiries, Communications, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, 613-990-7537, [email protected]