The Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released its report on the Canadian Coast Guard titled, When Every Minute Counts: Maritime Search and Rescue. Canada’s maritime search and rescue workers save an average of 15 lives every day and are responsible for monitoring millions of square kilometres of some of the harshest marine conditions in the world. Yet the Canadian Coast Guard — which leads maritime search and rescue operations — is hampered by its position within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which leaves it at the mercy of the department for funding and prevents it from receiving long-term sustainable capital funding. Senators recommend that the coast guard be made a separate statutory agency, reporting to the Minister of Transport.
Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Sonterra Ross, Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority announced this week more than $6.8 million in joint funding for a dolphin extension project in Victoria. The project involves extending the dolphin structure at Ogden Point port in Victoria by more than 55 metres and adding two breasting dolphins on each side of the main pier structure to accommodate larger vessels. The new structure will be able to dock quantum-sized cruise ships that are increasingly being used by cruise lines, allowing this popular hub on Vancouver Island to accommodate more passengers while supporting tourism and economic growth for the region as a whole.
Nairobi hosted the first ever global conference on the sustainable blue economy co-hosted by Canada, Kenya and Japan. Canada led by example and committed to taking action to strengthen science and research to advance the sustainable blue economy; promote collaboration for sustainable partnerships and projects; and promoting actions that put people and resources at the centre of sustainable development. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced immediate Canadian action in support of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included up to $9.5 million to advance activities of the Decade of Ocean Science and up to $1 million to the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action and for the Government of Canada’s support to the United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean.
With the recent departure of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent from Arctic waters, the Canadian Coast Guard’s 2018 Arctic operational season is nearing an end. Seven icebreakers were deployed to the Arctic, providing safe escorts of ships through ice-covered waters, responding to incidents including search and rescue and environmental response, supporting safe navigation, Fisheries and Oceans science missions, and training operations with partners. As of November 5, the Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) centre in Iqaluit provided support for 166 vessels in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone (NORDREG). These vessels include Canadian Coast Guard ships, cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships, research vessels, bulk carriers, tugs, fishing vessels, pleasure crafts and adventurers. Extreme and challenging ice conditions this season resulted in difficult transit of some vessels in the Northwest Passage. In addition to ice-breaking services, Coast Guard successfully responded to 20 search and rescue and 14 environmental response incidents. The Coast Guard’s Arctic season will resume again in May 2019.
With the Government of Canada’s focus now turned to trade diversification, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, led a successful 10-day trade mission with close to 100 participants, representing 65 agricultural organizations/companies from across Canada from the seafood, livestock, pork, beef, grains, oilseeds, pulses, processed food, beverages and horticulture sectors, concluded with some significant agreements. Canada and China signed 18 agriculture and agri-food agreements worth over $353 million which contributed to a further $1.67 billion in deals struck by all Canadian companies over the 10-day trade mission.
The Canadian Coast Guard is strengthening its network for monitoring marine traffic on the West Coast, with six new radar installations that will provide a more reliable and accurate picture of traffic in the waters off southern British Columbia. The radars will be installed in six areas: South Grenville and South Douglas Channels, Lama Pass / Seaforth Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound, Queen Charlotte Strait, Seymour Narrows, and the North Strait of Georgia. These areas were chosen based on existing gaps in radar coverage and prioritized based on traffic volume and risks to navigation.
Transport Canada is proposing that a new regulatory package be introduced to amend its Navigation Safety Regulations. Specifically, the proposed regulatory amendments would:
Details can be found at: https://letstalktransportation.ca/navigation-safety-regulations.
The Government of Canada is supporting the development of well-trained, skilled personnel to serve the aerospace industry of the future, by donating ten old BO105 helicopters to educational institutions across Canada. These helicopters were in service in the Canadian Coast Guard for more than 30 years. As part of the Coast Guard’s Fleet Renewal Plan, the Government of Canada has over recent years purchased and deployed 22 new helicopters, including 15 light-lift helicopters (Bell Epi 429) and seven medium-lift helicopters (Bell Epi 412).
The Government of Canada is looking for innovative solutions and is engaging with small businesses to help clean up our oceans and waterways and minimize impacts of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear. Seven plastics challenges are being launched via the Innovative Solutions Canada program, inviting Canadian small businesses to develop innovative technologies to reduce domestic plastic waste. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is specifically looking for Made in Canada innovations that will protect our marine environments and wildlife, and foster sustainable economic prosperity for generations to come. The following challenges are now open to Canadian businesses for submissions:
The Government of Canada was proud to participate in the first-ever global action aimed at combatting maritime pollution crime, an INTERPOL-led exercise code-named Operation 30 Days at Sea. Environment and Climate Change Canada and Transport Canada conducted numerous vessel inspections as part of Operation 30 Days at Sea. Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft flew almost 100 hours on the East and West Coasts, over 640 vessels. More than 20,000 vessels were also monitored through the aircraft’s automatic identification system. Information from these inspections and overflights is currently being compiled and could lead to future investigations. Marine pollution crime includes illegal discharges of oil and disposal of waste at sea; breaches of ship emissions regulations; and illicit pollution incidents on rivers, in coastal areas, and other land-based areas (run-off to the sea). The collaborative efforts of 276 law enforcement and environmental agencies across 58 countries have detected more than 500 offences around the world through this initiative.
All those who declare plant, animal or food imports to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) need to be aware of an important deadline coming in the new year. By January 1, 2019, those who declare imports electronically to the CBSA should complete testing and be certified to transmit their import declarations through the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). The IID provides commercial importers/brokers with a single portal to submit all import information and documents required to meet federal government import regulations, and obtain an admissibility decision electronically. The new process also allows importers to transmit their declarations up to 90 days in advance and reduces processing time.
Transport Canada has lifted the mandatory speed restriction for vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to ensure ships can operate safely in winter months. No North Atlantic right whale deaths from vessel strikes were reported this year and Transport Canasda will ask vessels to voluntarily slow down should a whale be spotted in or near the shipping lanes. On April 28, 2018, a speed restriction was implemented for vessels 20 metres or more to a maximum of 10 knots in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ships were allowed to travel at normal speeds in parts of two shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island if no whales were spotted in the area.
Canada Border Services Agency’s Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU) web page has been updated with more current and relevant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), application forms, contingency plans, error codes and more. Visit the site at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/menu-eng.html.
The Canadian Coast Guard’s two new Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels (CSSVs) built by Kanter Marine of St. Thomas, ON have been accepted and will operate within the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Isle-aux-Coudres. The CCGS Jean Bourdon and CCGS Helen Irene Battle will enhance the capability of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as well as other departments and agencies, to monitor and observe marine and environmental conditions. In addition, the new CSSVs will be able to assist with a number of activities related to search and rescue, aids to navigation, law enforcement, emergency response, and natural disasters, as well as supporting ecosystems and fisheries science in the region.
Ministers Wilkinson, Garneau and McKenna participated in search and rescue and environmental response simulations to commemorate the second anniversary of the Oceans Protection Plan. Since the creation of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada taken steps to protect our endangered whales and Marine Protected Areas with over 11,000 hours of surveillance and enforcement this year alone. The government is also working with Indigenous peoples to help them respond to marine emergencies in their communities by providing marine safety training. The Coast Guard’s capacity to respond to incidents has been enhanced with the purchase of 23 portable skimmers and 67,000 feet of curtain booms to help with oil spills and four new Coast Guard facilities, including two search and rescue stations. Through the Coastal Restoration Fund over 30 aquatic habitats will be restored and 16 new science projects are underway to help respond to oil spills and better understand marine mammals’ environment.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced a suite of additional bold measures focused on broadening and strengthening protection for the species. An additional $61.5 million is being committed to implement the new measures. With the suite of actions announced today, we continue our unprecedented initiative to protect and recover this endangered species. The plan is to have additional measures in place by the time the whales usually return to the Salish Sea in greater numbers in late spring. New measures announced include:
• continuing to identify and protect new areas of habitat necessary for survival or recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Population;
• introducing important measures aimed at protecting and recovering Chinook salmon stocks that are significant for the Southern Resident Killer Whales;
• expanding the vessel slowdowns to further reduce underwater noise;
• developing agreements with ferry operators and other marine industry partners to formalize current voluntary measures to reduce noise;
• expanding vessel monitoring systems and capabilities to develop real time ability to avoid whale encounters and providing funding to Ocean Wise for the development and deployment of a Whale Report Alert System;
• launching consultation with marine industry on development and implementation of Noise Management Plans;
• advancing feasibility work on one or more South Resident Killer Whale sanctuaries within sub-areas of critical habitat the whales use for foraging; and
• enhancing regulatory control of five key organic pollutants, including two flame retardants to lessen contaminants impacting these whales.
On Monday, October 29th - the Minister of Finance introduced Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures. This omnibus bill not only included many budget-related legislative amendments, but also significant amendments to both the Canada Shipping Act (CSA) and the Marine Liability Act (MLA). While it was expected that there would be amendments to the CSA to allow the Minister to regulate for environmental reasons, the amendments proposed in the Bill provide for significant new powers and authorities. More details on the amendments can be found under Division 22 and Division 23.