The Government of Canada has released a discussion paper, Strengthening Marine Environmental Protection and Response: Potential Legislative Amendments, to provide information on the overall direction of the potential changes being considered to better protect marine environments from the impacts of shipping, strengthen the spill response regime, and support research and innovation.
A new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station will be built in Tahsis, BC to allow for an enhanced response to marine emergencies on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The new station will be home to a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat, and will operate 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. It is expected to open in early 2020. The Government of Canada worked closely and in partnership with the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation in selecting the location for this new station.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet will benefit from two contracts awarded to acquire, upgrade, and sustain defensive systems for the Royal Canadian Navy. The two contracts are as follows:
RAMSES is an electronic attack system that protects the modernized Halifax-class frigates against radio frequency guided missiles. It employs jamming signals to track and distract anti-ship missiles from hitting the ship. MASS is an integral part of the anti-ship missile defence suite. It is a firing system used to launch decoys to project vessels against anti-ship missiles guided by radio frequency, laser and infrared seekers.
A $610-million contract has been awarded to Chantier Davie, of Lévis, Quebec for the acquisition of three icebreakers and work to prepare the first ship for service in the Canadian Coast Guard. The first vessel is expected to begin operations for the upcoming icebreaking season, beginning in December 2018. The second and third vessels will be converted, refit and available to support Coast Guard programs by the summer of 2019 and the winter of 2019-2020, respectively. This contract will help to secure up to 200 well-paying middle class jobs at Chantier Davie.
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.