The controversial Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, Bill C-48, was rejected by the Senate’s Transport Committee this week after several amendments tabled by the Committee were opposed in the clause-by-clause review. The Committee’s recommendation to reject the bill will go the Senate for a vote later this month. The Senate is comprised of 65 independent, 9 Liberals and 30 Conservative senators and so far, no date has been set for the second reading and vote.
Another good news story, the U.S. is dropping its tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, almost exactly a year since the measures took effect. Global Affairs Canada said the tariffs will be removed within two days. Canada has agreed to lift tariffs that were imposed in retaliation. Tariffs of 25 per cent on imports of steel from Canada and 10 per cent on aluminum took effect on June 1, 2018. Canada’s steel and aluminum industries employed about 33,500 Canadians in 2017 and added $8.9 billion to the country’s gross domestic product, according to federal government figures.
Transport Canada has released Ship Safety Bulletin No.09/2019 to provide general information about the Regulations Amending the Navigation Safety Regulations (Automatic Identification Systems). These amendments will extend the AIS carriage requirements to vessels certified to carry more than 12 passengers or vessels that are more than 8 metres in length carrying passengers. The requirements come into force on June 15, 2019.
Parks Canada is revising its policy for national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) to ensure that it aligns with the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (2002). The updates will reflect the experience Parks Canada has gained from more than 20 years of establishing and managing NMCAs. Changes to the NMCA policy and the development of regulations under the CNMCAA will help guide managers in their decision making, and will help to ensure that NMCAs are managed effectively. Between May 8 and June 20, 2019, feedback is requested on proposed changes to the policy framework and the development of regulations. For information on the proposed changes visit, https://www.letstalknmcas.ca/lets-talk-nmcas.
The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government has announced the launch of the External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness. The committee seeks to bring together business leaders, academics and consumer representatives from across the country to advise the Treasury Board on regulatory competitiveness and innovation while ensuring Canadians’ health, security and safety, and protecting the environment. In addition, the committee will champion the use of regulatory pilots and identify areas of focus for the Centre for Regulatory Innovation.
Canada has joined the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. It was incorporated into Canadian law through the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which received Royal Assent in late February. The Convention establishes a framework for hazardous wrecks resulting from marine incidents. Owners of large vessels (300 gross tonnage or larger) will now be required to prove that insurance or other financial security is in place to cover the potential costs of wreck removal.
Ottawa is increasing the amount of money that farmers can borrow from $400,000 to $1-million for those affected by the canola dispute with China, but growers say the expanded agriculture loan program does nothing to resolve their greatest problem: the trade dispute with China that has closed the largest global market for Canada’s most valuable crop. The measures have been put in place to give farmers ore flexibility with cash flow while the Government works to resolve the trade dispute with China.
Government of Canada has awarded the contract for the dry-dock refit of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Canada’s largest icebreaker, to Chantier Davie. The two interim icebreakers, the CCGS Jean Goodwill and CCGS Vincent Massey, are currently undergoing conversion work at Chantier Davie. These interterm icebreakers will support Coast Guard programs by late 2019 and summer 2020, respectively.
The Government of Canada has awarded Ocean Industries Inc. the largest shipbuilding contract in its history with the construction of four large tugs for National Defence. The contract for the four tugs is worth $102 million. Two tugs will be stationed at Esquimalt, and two in Halifax. The tugs will be crewed by civilian DND employees and will be equipped for firefighting. They will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s five large tugs and two rescue boats. The work will be carried out at l’Isle-aux-Coudres shipyard over a period of 42 months and will mobilize 60 employees.
Transport Canada has launched a new Small Vessel Compliance Program for Fishing Vessels not more than 15 Gross Tonnage. Participating in the program is voluntary (though following regulations is not), and consists of a tool that provides guidance on legal requirements such as:
• registering the vessel with Transport Canada;
• carrying required safety equipment on board;
• developing safety procedures for operating the vessel and responding to emergencies; and
• ensuring the crew is properly qualified and trained.
Enrolling in the program will soon be possible online, but in the meantime, details on how to participate can be found in the bulletin: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/bulletins-2019-06-eng.htm
On April 25th, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Government of Canada will be adopting new standards to strengthen the conservation and protection of important marine habitat. As recommended by the Nation Advisory Panel, Canada’s approach to marine conservation networks going forward will include two distinct forms of protection – marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, such as marine refuges. Marine protected areas will function somewhat like national parks and will provide a high level of environmental protection by prohibiting four industrial activities within all of these areas: oil and gas activities, mining, dumping and bottom trawling. With respect to other effective area-based conservation measures, including marine refuges, economic activities within these areas will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. These will be allowed if they are consistent with the conservation objectives of that specific area.
Transport Canada has now issued Ship Safety Bulletin SSB No.: 07/2019. Due to changing migration of North Atlantic right whales and their increased presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Government of Canada has established seasonal speed restrictions in a specific zone. These restrictions combine "static zone" and "dynamic speed" sectors. The restrictions will be in effect from April 28 to November 15, 2019. These dates may change, depending on when whales are present. During this period, vessels of 20 m or more in length (LOA) must reduce their speed so as not to exceed 10.0 knots over the ground in the presence of North Atlantic right whales. Failure to comply may result in penalties ranging from C$ 6,000 to C$ 25,000 and/or penal sanctions under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
Feedback is being sought on proposed management measures to aid in the recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) for implementation in the spring of 2019. The proposed management measures focus on addressing key threats related to: contaminants, lack of prey availability and underwater noise and physical disturbance. The consultation period will close on May 3. To participate in the on-line survey visit the department’s website.
The British Columbia government is moving forward with several key actions that will benefit container truck drivers and the sector. Adopting 10 of 12 recommendations from the BC container trucking commissioner’s rate and renumeration report will ensure balance, stability and competitiveness of the trucking sector. Container truck drivers will receive an adjusted rate structure, which includes a 2% trip and hourly rate increase to help offset higher operational costs, effective June 1, 2019. The rate structure will help ensure fair compensation for drivers and increases will vary depending on the trip and the hours worked. Also the fuel surcharge formula will be amended to account for the average monthly cost of diesel prices in Vancouver, and a remuneration review will be held every two years.
Following an investigation authorized by the Minister of Transport, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has found that Canadian National Railway Company (CN) breached its level of service obligations. In September, CN announced its intention to impose embargoes on wood pulp shipments, several months before rail congestion and other challenges emerged in the Vancouver area, and imposed those embargoes in December 2018, rather than making every reasonable effort to deal with those challenges before unilaterally restricting the transportation of the shippers' traffic. The CTA ordered CN to develop and submit a plan to respond to future traffic surges in the Vancouver area and to avoid, or minimize, the use of embargoes. The determination also sets out criteria for the lawful use of embargoes, including that they be imposed only on an exceptional basis, be targeted to address specific challenges, and be lifted as soon as possible. The CTA found that Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), the two other railway companies investigated, had not breached their service obligations.
The Federal government has extended its deadline to decide the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to June 18. The decision to push the deadline back has reportedly been brought on by Indigenous groups telling the government that they need addition time for consultations.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced $877,838 for the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council to participate in a pilot project to develop, test, and evaluate a new maritime awareness information system. This national system is a key component of the Oceans Protection Plan’s Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (EMSA) Initiative. The web-based system will display a range of valuable near real-time maritime information, including data on vessel traffic, weather, and marine protected areas. As one of 10 Indigenous organizations across Canada participating in the pilot project under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council will test, provide feedback, and apply their local, traditional knowledge to improve and develop the system.