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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:

  • Imposing a new mandatory requirement for all marine vessels (including recreational boats) to stay at least 200 metres away from killer whales, effective July 11, 2018;
  • Asking vessels to move further away from key foraging grounds within shipping lanes of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard, and partnering with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program on a voluntary vessel slowdown in Haro Strait starting in July 2018;
  • Working with BC Ferries to develop a noise management plan to reduce underwater noise impacts of its fleet on killer whales; and
  • Developing the necessary tools to implement mandatory measures where needed to reduce noise from vessel traffic, such legislation if required.
  • Increasing scientific research, monitoring and controls of contaminants in whales and their prey, and funding additional research on prey availability.

Improving prey availability for the Southern Resident Killer Whales by:

  • Reducing the total fishery removal for Chinook salmon by 25-35 per cent, to help increase prey availability;
  • Implementing mandatory fishery closures in specific areas where  whales forage for food by closing these areas to recreational finfishing and commercial salmon fishing, and exploring the use of additional regulatory measures; and
  • Increasing scientific research, monitoring and controls of contaminants in whales and their prey, and funding additional research on prey availability.

Enhancing monitoring under the water and in the air by:

  • Adding to the under-water hydrophone network in the Salish Sea to  better  measure noise impacts and track the noise profile of individual vessels; and
  • Increasing aerial surveillance patrols through the Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program to better monitor and enforce new measures.

Encouraging compliance and strengthening enforcement by:

  • Investing in education and awareness among recreational boaters to reduce their impact on the whales by providing, for example the Cetus Research and Conservation Society with  funding of up to $415,000 for three years to deliver the Straitwatch program;
  • Adding more fishery officers on the water to verify compliance with approach distances and disturbances and harassment provisions of the regulations and enforce fisheries closures; and
  • Enhancing strong enforcement of environmental regulations to reduce contaminants affecting the killer whales.

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.

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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:

  • improving the existing Thornton Rail Tunnel ventilation system so that trains can pass through the tunnel more frequently;
  • improving the rail corridor by building 5.5 kilometres of track adjacent to the existing double-tracked corridor;
  • designing and raising Douglas Road so it crosses over the existing Canadian National railway l corridor;
  • building the Centennial Road overpass, a 600 metre-long, two-lane elevated viaduct structure;
  • extending the existing two-lane Waterfront Road by 600 metres;
  • realigning 350 metres of Commissioner Street; and
  • building 9.4 kilometres of new siding track and reconfiguring train switching operations within the  Canadian Pacific railway corridor, along the south shore of Burrard Inlet in the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby.

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.


Friday, 22 June 2018 13:40

CCG to receive 3 interim icebreakers

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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.

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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.

Friday, 22 June 2018 08:26

Transport Canada seeks candidates

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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.

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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.
 

Friday, 08 June 2018 11:26

Fraser River Estuary receives $2.6M

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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. 

Friday, 08 June 2018 11:22

Interactive map launched for NARW

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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. 

Friday, 08 June 2018 11:18

Class 1 Dangerous Goods Consultation

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The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) has released the draft of the updated safety standard CGSB-43.151, “Packaging, Handling, Offering for Transport and Transport of Explosives (Class 1)” for a 60-day consultation. The safety standard sets out the selection and use requirements for dangerous goods containers used to transport Explosives (Class 1). Once the safety standard has been finalized and published, a publication notice will be published specifying the coming into force date of the updated standard.  Comments are due by July 31, 2018.  To obtain a copy of the draft safety standard, please contact the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) directly via Robert Long at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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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:

  • Identify steps that could be taken to better protect and help the recovery of right, beluga, and killer whales;
  • Identify immediate and longer term improvements limiting the impact of human activities on each of these species and, by so doing, add to recovery efforts and to recommendations for new or enhanced actions;
  • Call expert witnesses on each species, hearing from those who might be affected by any possible actions, and working to find a balance among various competing claims; and that the Committee present its final report to the House within four months of the adoption of this motion.

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.

 

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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.

Friday, 01 June 2018 08:30

We bought a pipeline

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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.

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