The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, has announced Canada’s $167.4 million Whales Initiative. The initiative seeks to protect and support the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic right whale, and the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale through comprehensive actions tailored to address the unique combinations of threats.
Specifically in regards to the Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Salish Sea, the Government of Canada recognizes that they face an imminent threat to survival and recovery which requires immediate attention. Canada’s Whales Initiative includes immediate and comprehensive action to support their recovery by addressing the main threats they face: lack of prey, disturbance from vessels, including noise and pollution from land-based sources. Key actions include:
Reducing disturbance from underwater vessel noise by:
Improving prey availability for the Southern Resident Killer Whales by:
Enhancing monitoring under the water and in the air by:
Encouraging compliance and strengthening enforcement by:
The Minister clearly stated that these actions could include additional mandatory measures, legislative changes and adoption of new technologies. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also undertaking a Whale Innovation Challenge initiative in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre to develop solutions towards real-time detection and location of whales. This initiative aims to mobilize the technology development community in Canada and globally to develop whale-specific solutions to better understand the location, abundance and movements of whales and whale populations. This will contribute to scientific whale research and overall efforts to protect endangered whales in Canada.
Today the Government of Canada announced a major investment of $167 million for three projects to improve port infrastructure, increasing the capacity and fluidity of the rail infrastructure that serves the south shore port area. The first two projects are led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, with investment from Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway and include:
The third project led by Canadian National, with investment from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, involves designing and building a 4.2 kilometre-long secondary track, parallel to the existing Burrard Inlet line, in the City of Vancouver. The increased rail capacity will support the flow of goods through the south shore port area, as trade volumes continue to grow.
The Canadian Coast Guard and Public Services and Procurement Canada has issued an Advanced Contract Award Notice (ACAN) to Chantier Davie of Lévis, Quebec, for the acquisition and conversion of three medium commercial icebreakers. These ships would provide interim capability for the Canadian Coast Guard, while replacement vessels are being built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
The Nanaimo Port Authority has received $6.3 million from the federal government toward a new 60,000 square-foot Vehicle Processing Centre and supporting infrastructure to repurpose its existing Nanaimo Assembly Wharf as a multi-purpose general cargo terminal with an initial focus on automobiles. The project will improve Canada’s supply chain for automobiles imported into the country by addressing the significant existing transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion while also providing sustainable economic development opportunities for Nanaimo and Vancouver Island. The project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating an estimated 200 jobs during construction and eventually as many as 100 permanent jobs.
The World Maritime University is seeking an experienced leader with an excellent academic track record to fill the post of the Canadian Chair in Marine Environmental Protection. The Canadian Chair has the opportunity to teach, research and deliver student supervisory programmes in the fields of marine environmental protection / management and marine spatial planning, as well as lead interdisciplinary innovative research programmes across the realm of maritime and ocean sectors. Applications from Canadian citizens will be accepted by the World Maritime University until August 31, 2018. Transport Canada has also seeking applications for Marine Policy Officers (EC-04) and Marine Policy Analysts (EC-05)Marine Policy Analysts (EC-05) in eastern Canada.
On June 14, the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, introduced legislation in the House of Commons for the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP will provide Canadian exporters and investors across a broad range of sectors with preferential access to fast-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam. This willl set a new standard for free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region by including robust and enforceable provisions in areas such as labour and the environment. The CPTPP Agreement will enter into force 60 days after at least six of the partner countries complete their respective ratification procedures. Once in force the CPTPP is expected to boost Canada's GDP by 4.2 billion.
The Government of Canada has provided the Raincoast Conservation Foundation with $2.6M over five years for a project to help restore coastal habitats in the Fraser River Estuary of British Columbia. The Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s estuary connectivity project will improve connectivity and natural processes on the banks of the Fraser River Estuary for the benefit of juvenile chinook, pink and chum salmon, as well as other fish species, and the species which rely on them. The work will involve the collaborative efforts of many people working and living on the lower Fraser River. The funding comes from the $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund commited to help rehabilitate some of the most vulnerable coastlines and protect marine life and ecosystems.
The Government of Canada has launched WhaleMap, a new interactive mapping tool that displays the recent known locations of the whales as they travel in Canadian waters. The map displays near real-time whale detection information provided by various partners who contribute airborne, vessel and acoustic glider detections of the North Atlantic right whale. By providing this information on the web, partners will be better able to work together and ocean industries and members of the public will have rapid access to the most comprehensive information available. Users will be able to view recent right whale detections and also customize the map to display various surveillance efforts and protection measures. The project received $57, 500 in funding support from the Oceans Protection Plan.
This week, Karen Ludwig, Liberal MP for New Brunswick Southwest, brought forward a motion for private members bill M-154, Study on the Situation of Canada's Endangered Whales. In an uncommon occurance in the Commons, M-154 was supported by a vote of 278-0. Introduced in April, the motion called on the House fisheries committee to be mandated to:
The global population of the North Atlantic right whales is estimated to be 450, the current population of the St. Lawrence estuary beluga at 900, and there are only 76 Southern Resident Killer Whales.
On June 4 2018, the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, and Peter Wallace, Secretary of the Treasury Board, joined with the Honorable Mick Mulvaney, Director of the US Office of Management and Budget, and the Honorable Neomi Rao, US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator, to reaffirm this commitment by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). This MOU also establishes a foundation for the ongoing work and growth of the RCC, which is a practical and proven bilateral forum for resolving regulatory barriers and improving business investment between Canada and the United States. Businesses will continue to benefit from the removal of unnecessary costs and duplicate requirements, as well as better market access. Consumers can benefit from timely access to products with consistent quality and safety standards.
The Government of Canada announced, ahead of Kinder Morgan's May 31st deadline, that it is purchasing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and related pipeline and terminal assets for $4.5 billion in an effort to secure the timely completion of the project. Federal loan guarantees will ensure that construction continues through the 2018 season, eliminating the uncertainty for families whose financial security relies on this project going ahead this year. As this is not intended to be a long-term investment, the Government of Canada will work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners. The Government has also extended federal indemnity to protect any prospective new owner from costs associated with politically motivated delays. The backgrounder provides further details of the investment.
In response to the United States’ decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum shipments, Canada has announced its intention to impose tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States—representing the total value ($16.6 billion) of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the US measures. These countermeasures will take effect on July 1, 2018 and will remain in place until the US eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada. Consultation on the proposed countermeasures is open until June 15 and details can be found at: https://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/cacsap-cmpcaa-eng.asp.
As part of its Regulatory Modernization Initiative, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is launching consultations on rail-related regulations and guidance materials. These consultations will support the implementation of the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49), which amends the Canada Transportation Act to introduce new measures related to freight rail. The CTA invites affected stakeholders to share their views to ensure that the CTA's rail-related regulations and guidance materials are relevant, clear and up to date. The rail consultations which end on September 30, 2018 and a discussion paper is available to explains many of the regulations and guidance materials under review.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (M16P0378) into the causes and contributing factors that led to the October 2016 grounding and sinking of the US-registered tug Nathan E. Stewart near the entrance to Seaforth Channel. The report underlines the need to effectively and reliably manage the risk of fatigue in the marine industry. The investigation determined that the second mate who, contrary to Canadian regulations, was keeping watch alone on the bridge at the time of the accident, had fallen asleep and missed a planned course change. For more than two days, he had been working a 6-on, 6-off shift schedule, alternating six hours of duty and six hours of rest. This schedule presents a number of challenges which have been well documented by various studies and experts internationally, notably the difficulty in obtaining sufficient restorative rest during the off-duty periods. The Board has made two recommendations following this investigation. Firstly, it is recommending that Transport Canada require that watchkeepers receive mandatory education and awareness training to help identify and prevent the risks of fatigue. Secondly, it is recommending that vessel owners implement comprehensive fatigue-management plans, tailored specifically for their individual operations.
The Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49) received Royal Assent on May 23rd. The Act was built from extensive consultations with stakeholders, including many representatives of the agricultural sector. It includes a number of new tools and benefits for the grain industry, such as establishing reciprocal penalties between railway companies and their customers, and clarifying the definition of “adequate and suitable” service. The Act also amends the Coasting Trade Act to permit the movement of empty containers between Canadian ports and provides ports wilth the abilty under the Canada Marine Act to obtain a loan through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Dominic LeBlanc, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the finding under the Species at Risk Act that Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) face an imminent threat to both survival and recovery. The Ministers came to this opinion after reviewing an assessment that considered the biological condition of Southern Resident Killer Whale population, ongoing threats, and mitigation measures. Lack of prey is one of the critical factors affecting the recovery of SRKW. To address this, Minister LeBlanc has announced measures to increase prey availability and conserve Chinook salmon. These include $9.5 million in funding from the Coastal Restoration Fund to support eight projects across British Columbia and a reduction in the total fishery removals for Chinook salmon of 25-35%