Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be starting a new aerial operation in 2020 with the use of a new surveillance plane. The plane is set to help spot any illegal fishing activity in the waters off Vancouver Island. The aircraft will operate out of Campbell River, with additional planes operating out of St. John’s and Halifax. In addition to illegal fishing, the planes can also gather information about vessel movement, environmental conditions, pollution levels and species.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced more than $2.9 million in funding for the Southern Resident Killer Whales. The funding will go towards supporting researchers at the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University and the Universite du Quebec a Montreal with the goal of leveraging financial and our scientific resources to help protects injured whales and inspiring the next generation of scientists. In addition to the southern resident killer whale, the funding will be used to further research on North Atlantic right whale and St. Lawrence estuary beluga.
Earlier this week, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the establishment of eight marine refuges in Howe Sound to protect nine newly discovered glass sponge reefs. The Howe Sound glass sponge reefs are some of the most biologically productive reefs, providing habitat for more than 84 species of invertebrates and fish, such as prawns and rockfish. Together, the 9 reefs clean over 17 billion litres of water, filtering bacteria and processing carbon and nitrogen. Fishery closures to preserve the glass sponge reefs will take effect in advance of the spring fishing season and apply to all commercial, recreational and Indigenous bottom contact fishing activities. Prawn and crab traps, shrimp and groundfish trawls, groundfish hook and line, and the use of downrigger gear in recreational salmon trolling are now prohibited within the protected areas.
Transport Canada’s marine cargo services meets internationally recognized standards for ensuring the safe loading and stowage of regulated cargoes, inspecting vessels on which dangerous goods in solid bulk and/or packaged form are loaded, carried or unloaded, and approving the procedures established by a shipper regarding sampling, testing and controlling of the moisture content of a cargo which may liquefy. Currently, vessel operators are subject to a complex fee structure for marine cargo services, with 40 different fees spread out over three separate regulations. The fee modernization will seek to consolidate and simplify the marine cargo fees and regulatory structure, as well as update and/or add new fees to better reflect the true cost of delivering these services.
Transport Canada wants input from stakeholders, and you are invited to participate in the conversation be visiting: Let’s Talk modernizing fees for Marine Cargo Services website. This public consultation will be open until April 12, 2019.
This week the Government of Canada announced the establishment of the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area located off the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. While relatively small in size at 1000 km2 and well away from recognized large-vessel traffic routes, the corresponding regulations include a prohibition on the discharge of vessel sewage and grey water. With this regulatory approach, we see the potential start of a trend in Canada towards regulating shipping operations through the Oceans Act rather than the Canada Shipping Act, including a different system and level of enforcement and penalties.
Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada has passed Bill C-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. The Act prohibits vessel abandonment, which poses environmental, economic, and safety hazards, and brings the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 into Canadian Law. The Act increases owner responsibility and liability for vessels, addresses irresponsible vessel management, and enables the Government of Canada to remove problem vessels. Lack of compliance could lead to fines of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for companies or corporations, while regulatory offence prosecution could result in a maximum fine of $1M for individuals and $6M for companies or corporations. The Act will enable Canada to be a signatory to the IMO’s Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks.
At Tuesday’s Senate Committee hearing to discuss the proposed the Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48), the Chamber’s President, Robert Lewis-Manning, weighed in on the contentious oil tanker ban and recommended that other existing tools for managing marine traffic in sensitive marine ecosystems be considered instead of imposing a moratorium on the export of specific commodities. The oil moratorium threatens to scare away foreign investors, who have already reduced investment levels in Canada amid a deepening lack of confidence in Canada’s regulatory regime.
Canada Border Services Agency has released Customs Notice 19-04 to clarify the use of the 9000 generic type sub-location code on cargo reports in all modes. The sub-location code is a four-digit identification number that identifies the location and destination of goods. Goods arriving in bulk by sea, which are offloaded in an area where a suitable sufferance warehouse does not exist to store those types of goods must be released prior to their offload from the vessel and the port must be a designated commercial vessel port of entry.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, welcomed the Royal Assent of Bill C-57, the Act to Amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The amendments expand the scope of the original Act and provides a new approach to sustainable development. Amendments to the Act include:
The National Energy Board (NEB) today delivered its Reconsideration report to the Government of Canada, with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved. The considerable benefits of the Project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government.
The NEB will impose 156 conditions on the Project if it is approved and has made 16 new recommendations to the Government of Canada. The Reconsideration report concludes that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would likely be significant. While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant. The Chamber has issued a statement welcoming the NEB’s decision.
BC Premier John Horgan took to twitter to respond and stated that he remains convinced that the project is not in the best interests of British Columbians. Environment Minister George Heyman echoed Premier Horgan’s comments and added that the province will continue to assert its right to defend its environment in court.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has released its Interim Report on Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy following a number of hearings conducted across Canada. Parts of the Chamber of Shipping’s testimony to the Committee in September 2018 can be viewed in the report.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has reported that 37 of 110 cars derailed and spilled crude on farm land near St. Lazare, Manitoba on February 16th. The CN railcars were upgraded tankers (all Class 117R cars) which are considered to have improved safety features. There was no fire or injuries in the derailment and most of the crude has been contained near the tracks. TSB is still working to determine how much oil spilled and how many of the railcars were breached.
Just earlier this month following the derailment near Field, BC the Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced a Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act to all railway companies mandating the use of handbrakes when a train is stopped on a mountain grade after an emergency use of the air brakes effective immediately.
Transport Canada has issued two Ship Safety Bulletins this week:
Yesterday, Minister Wilkinson, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, launched the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, a $55 million investment over five years to support the recovery of aquatic species at risk. In partnership with Indigenous communities, organizations, provinces and territories, industry and academia this fund focuses on seven priority freshwater places and two priority marine threats, including physical and acoustic disturbance such as ship strikes and marine noise. Interested parties are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and submit an expression of interest by March 22, 2019. Successful applicants at this stage will be invited to submit a project proposal for further consideration.
Earlier this week Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau announced that the federal government is providing over $190,000 to remove wrecks and/or gain legal possession of abandoned boats across Canada. In BC these include the removal of 13 and another three funded to obtain legal possession in Victoria, Steveston, Alert Bay, Port Edward, Pender and Bowen Island.
Transport Canada is proposing to amend the Navigation Safety Regulations to expand the Automatic Identification System (AIS) carriage requirements to a wider category of passenger vessels. Amendments published in the Canada Gazette Part I, Vol 153 No 6 on February 9th will strengthen the surveillance and enforcement of current and future requirements respecting the disturbance of the whales by small vessels. Affected stakeholders include owners of commercial vessels registered in Canada as passenger vessels or ferries, if their vessels are certified to carry more than 12 passengers or if their vessels are eight metres or more in length and are certified to carry passengers. Having access to AIS data will help to inform future protection measures of this endangered species and the protection of other species.
The Canadian Border Services Agency National Targeting Centre has updated its Pre-Arrival Notice requirements. Details of the requirements can be found here: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/bsf732-eng.html.