Following an open and competitive process initiated through the Oceans Protection Plan, Atlantic Towing Limited of Saint John, New Brunswick, has been awarded a three-year contract worth $67M for the lease of two emergency offshore towing vessels that will operate in the waters off the coast of British Columbia. The vessels are capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, such as tankers and container ships, before they get too close to shore. As part of the contract, Atlantic Towing Limited will also provide training in offshore emergency towing to Coast Guard personnel and partners, including Indigenous communities, involved in marine safety.
On March 30, 2020 the ports of Matane, Gaspé, Rimouski and Gros-Cacouna will be transferred from Transport Canada to the Government of Quebec under the Port Facility Transfer Program. In addition to the commercial docks, the transfer includes buildings and storage areas, breakwaters at the Matane and Gros-Cacouna ports and a spur pier at the Port of Rimouski. The Government of Canada will provide $163 million for the four ports, including a $148.8 million grant to the Province to support the future costs of operating and maintaining the ports, the balance representing investments in specific projects and other costs to be incurred by Transport Canada prior to their transfer.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Customs Notice 18-12 Coasting Trade Vessels Leaving Canadian Waters. At present, the policy is to cancel a coasting trade licence when a temporarily imported vessel leaves Canadian waters and goes international, irrespective of the authorized dates the licence was issued for. Effective immediately a coasting trade licence will no longer be cancelled by the CBSA when a vessel leaves Canadian waters, unless the vessel has completed the activity for which the licence was issued or if the authorized dates indicated on the licence have passed. A new coasting trade licence is not required providing the dates on the existing coasting trade licence remain valid.
Six Canadian innovators will lead roundtable discussions with Canadians on digital and data innovation From early August to mid-September, innovative experts will host roundtable discussions in cities across Canada with business, academia, civil society and others. Target cities for roundtables include Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John’s, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. All Canadians are invited to participate in the National Digital and Data Consultations online.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal says it has found there is a reasonable indication that dumping and subsidizing of some steel products by several Asian countries have harmed or could harm Canadian steel producers. The tribunal says it found the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam all likely interfered in the market for cold-rolled steel in coils and strips. The tribunal’s inquiry follows investigations by the Canada Border Services Agency on dumping and subsidies. The agency’s investigation continues and it will issue preliminary determinations by August 20. On July 18, 2018, the CBSA issued assessments of anti-dumping duty against two importations of steel rebar from Turkey that arrived in Canada in 2017. The total amount of anti-dumping duty retroactively assessed by the CBSA was over $1.8 million.
The Government of Canada has granted $25,000 for a University of Alberta project called “A genetic algorithm approach towards optimizing container placement in intermodal trains for reduced aerodynamic drag.” The project will help develop a computerized method to optimize the loading of trains in order to reduce wind drag. Canadian National Railway estimates that each aerodynamic gap greater than 10 feet between containers can increase the train’s fuel consumption by up to 1%.
The BC government has released the first three intentions papers for consultation on sectoral strategies for reaching the government's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. These papers which cover Clean Transportation, Clean, Efficient Buildings and a Clean Growth Program for Industry will be integrated into the energy roadmap, economic development strategy, tech strategy and the new emerging economy taskforce. The intentions paper for Clean Transportation include integrating transportation and land use planning; supporting electric or hybrid ferries; increasing use of clean electricity and technologies in ports; integrating cleaner and more efficient shipping corridors; examining ways to shift modes of transportation, such as moving more goods by rail; and, increasing engagement with stakeholders to make trade and shipping more efficient in BC.
Ottawa has announced $26.6 million in funding for research to help better understand noise pressures on marine mammals. Darren Fisher, a Halifax-area MP, made the announcement today on behalf of the new Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, at Halifax’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography where much of the research will be carried out. The Fisheries Department says the research will help identify how to reduce the impacts of noise stressors on whales and other marine species. It says the initial focus will be to better understand the effect of shipping-related noise on right whales, the southern resident killer whale (SRKW) and the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga, amongst others. As part of the initiative, Dalhousie University in Halifax will receive $635,000 to support its monitoring of the North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Roseway Basin, off southern Nova Scotia and the University of BC will receive $1.1M to examine how changes in the food web affect the abundance and quality of Chinook salmon in critical habitats of the SRKW.
Canada Border Services Agency has released Customs Notice 18-09, amending the time frames for the release of commercial goods. This notice will supercede Appendix B, in Memorandum, D17-1-4 Release of Commercial Goods. Upon implementation of changes to the house bill process (Date TBD), goods imported through the commercial process will only be eligible for release upon arrival of the goods at final destination (i.e. arrival at the location where the importer is seeking release). Changes to release time frames are required as a result of the amendments to the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations and the Customs Sufferance Warehouse Regulations which came into force . These amendments established the requirement for carriers and warehouse operators, to electronically notify the CBSA of the arrival of goods. Note CBSA has released a new version of the Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD), “Chapter 1: Advance Commercial Information (ACI) Marine” containing a number of updates, wording changes and clarifications on sub-location codes. An update to this Customs Notice will be published when an official system release date is available for the house bill process.
Changes to the occupational health and safety regulations for workers exposed to grain dust and flour dust in federally regulated workplaces take effect. The regulations will significantly lower the risk of workers coming into contact with airborne substances in the workplace, while ensuring consistency with most provincial and territorial regulations. These changes will also align the exposure limits for these hazardous substances with the highest safety standards in Canada and internationally. The Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) for grain dust in the federal jurisdiction of 10 mg/m3 is higher than the limit recommended by scientific consensus to protect the health and safety of employees at risk. The OEL for grain dust will be decreased to 4 mg/m3.
On July 11, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that amendments to the Marine Mammal Regulations (MMR) are now published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The new rules for whale watching and approaching marine mammals, which are now in effect, will provide a minimum approach distance of 100 metres for most whales, dolphins and porpoises to legally protect these animals from human disturbances. The required distance requirement will be greater for certain marine mammals, including killer whales in B.C. and the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga in Quebec, because of the threats they already face or because of local geography. These variations include:
The requirement to respect the approach distances does not apply to a vessel that is in transit. Amendments to the MMR also require operaters of a vehicle to report a collision or or other accidental contact with a marine mammal. Before the changes to the regulations, voluntary guidelines existed but they were not enforceable. These amendments now make it possible for anyone in contravention of the Regulations to be charged with an offence under the Fisheries Act.
The federal government is trying to figure out what to do with the MV Sun Sea, and has issued a Request for Information (RFI). Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is requesting Industry feedback regarding potential options for the vessel, which has been in the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency since 2010. The government is interested in obtaining input on alternative disposal methods that are environmentally sound and lower costs to Canada Taxpayers. The MV Sun Sea was carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils when it was intercepted off the coast of British Columbia on August 12, 2010. It is currently moored at a facility on the Fraser River in Delta, BC.
Transport Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin No. 09/2018 to remind vessel owners, authorized representatives and operators of commercial passenger vessels that they must “...develop procedures for the safe operation of the vessel and for dealing with emergencies.”
The Canadian Coast Guard opened the first of four new search and rescue stations planned for the west coast. The new Victoria station is in service now and enhances the Coast Guard’s marine search and rescue capacity around Victoria and in the eastern and central Strait of Juan de Fuca. It builds on the Coast Guard’s longstanding partnerships with volunteer organizations like the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, as well as with the Royal Canadian Navy and local first responders, to improve the marine safety system in the region. The station will be home to a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat and a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, and is located at the Victoria Canadian Coast Guard Base in James Bay. It will operate 24-hours-a-day. The west coast will also see two new search and rescue lifeboats in British Columbia in 2019. The CCGS McIntyre Bay will be stationed at Prince Rupert, and the CCGS Pachena Bay will serve the Port Hardy area as an interim measure. These vessels will be able to operate up to 100 nautical miles from shore, delivering modern search and rescue capability.
The Government of Canada has rejected the proposed Ajax Mine project in British Columbia because it was determined that the project will likely cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be justified in the circumstances. The Ajax mine proposal would have involved the construction and operation of a conventional open-pit copper and gold mine located adjacent to Kamloops, BC with an approximate lifespan of 23 years. The Government of Canada's decision follows an earlier decision by British Columbia to decline to issue the project a provincial environmental assessment certificate.
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:
Improving prey availability for the Southern Resident Killer Whales by:
Enhancing monitoring under the water and in the air by:
Encouraging compliance and strengthening enforcement by:
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.