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.
Transport Canada has charged New Brunswick Southern Railway with 24 counts of violating the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, including 12 counts for failing to create proper shipping documents for the purpose of transporting petroleum crude oil; and, 12 counts for having unqualified personnel offering dangerous goods (crude oil) for transport. These charges follow an investigation into the accident in Lac-Mégantic. New Brunswick Southern Railway has agreed to pay $10,000.00 in fines with $40,000 to be invested in improving the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods in Canada.
Transport Canada has initiated its second call for proposals under the Clean Transportation System – Research and Development program. Over the next three years, the government is investing $1.5 million to developing innovative clean technologies to improve the environmental performance of Canada’s transportation system specifically in the marine, rail and aviation sectors. Recipients have until May 8, 2019 to submit their application. Funding is aimed at advancing knowledge and technology innovation that contribute to reducing emissions from the transportation sector.
Premier John Horgan has appointed Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, as minister’s special advisor to George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on marine debris protection. Her responsibility will be to develop recommendations for a provincial action plan, in collaboration with the federal government, to eliminate the environmental threats caused by derelict vessels. This could include boat licensing, a recycling program boats and marine infrastructure, identifying best practices, and an action plan to curb the disposal of plastics in the marine environment.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has appointed Murray Hupman as President and Chief Executive Officer of Marine Atlantic Inc. for a term of five years. Murray Hupman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management. He has occupied various positions at Marine Atlantic Inc. in past years and has been the Vice-President of Operations since 2011. He has gained board experience with the Chamber of Commerce of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Port aux Basques Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Ferry Operators Association.