The Government of Canada has tabled amendments to the Pilotage Act, which establish several themes, including centralization of regulatory powers and standardization in Transport Canada, increased transparency, and increased powers of enforcement and monetary penalties. Overall the amendments have the potential to support improvements to safety, efficiency, and competitiveness. Items that should be of close interest to shipowners, operators, and agencies include:
There is still a great deal of analysis required of this draft legislation, especially as it is the most significant change to the Pilotage Act in years. We will continue to evaluate it as we prepare to provide feedback to Government through the legislative process. With only 29 sitting days remaining for the House of Commons, this bill will move rapidly through the legislative process.
The full Bill can be found here: http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-97/first-reading
The regulatory package has published in Gazette I on March 30, 2019 to address a series of changes to the regulation of rail transportation following amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, and the Safe and Accountable Rail Act, and implementation of the new Transportation Modernization Act. The proposed amendments would update the Railway Interswitching Regulations to align with the introduction of long-haul interswitching (LHI) and with changes in how regulated (30 km) interswitching rates are calculated under the amended Act; prescribe filing and information requirements for freight railways concerning their minimum third party liability insurance requirements, also in line with the amended Act; and designate various rail-related provisions and Agency orders as subject to AMPs of up to $25,000 for non-compliance, including LHI orders. Overall, the proposed regulatory amendments would ensure that recent legislative amendments are smoothly implemented and can be properly enforced.
Legislation has been introduced to amend the Coastal Ferry Act that aims to put the needs of coastal communities at the heart of decision making. The amendments are based on the recommendations in Blair Redlin’s report on the Coastal Ferry review. Highlights include:
Starting April 1, 2019, sailings will be restored on the majority of ferry routes that were cut in 2014, making it easier for people in coastal communities to get around. This will result in over 2,700 additional round trips added to schedules on 10 minor and northern routes.
The federal Crown has decided not to appeal the acquittal in the case of the MV Marathassa, the cargo ship that spilled 2,700 litres of fuel oil into English Bay in 2015. Originally accused of discharging a pollutant into the waters and with discharging a substance that was harmful to migratory birds, a Provincial Court judge dismissed all charges after finding that the incident was caused by two shipbuilder defects on the newly-built ship. The ship was also charged with failing to implement its shipboard pollution plan by failing to take samples of oil in the water and by failing to assist with the oil containment, but the judge found that at the ship had extensive pollution-prevention systems in place and had conducted a comprehensive crew selection and training program.
First Nations across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are being invited to participate in a $6.8-billion plan to purchase 51 percent of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. This values the project at more than $13-billion. The group, known as Project Reconciliation, is led by Delbert Wapass, former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan and current vice-chairman of the Indian Resource Council. The group is in talks with major Canadian banks to lead a syndicated debt issue to finance the acquisition and its share of the expansion costs. The structure will be that each participating First Nation would own shares, with those along the pipeline right-of-way owning a more senior class of share.
As provided for under the new Services Fee Act, all government fees that are subject to the Act will increase by 2.2% effective April 1, 2019. This will include the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Navigation Services Fee, Transport Canada's inspection fees, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency fees.
The Service Fees Act changes the Government of Canada’s approach to fees for services, and how departments create more transparency for Canadians.
The act requires government departments to:
• report on costs of services we deliver
• publish fee revenues
• issue fee remissions and report on them
• establish service standards and make them accessible to the public
• track and report on performance results
• adjust fees for inflation, per the Consumer Price Index
Each new requirement of the act has a different start date:
• Service standard review by June 2018
• Applying inflation (Consumer Price Indexing) on April 1, 2019
• Implementing a department remission policy on April 1, 2020
Adjusting regulatory fees for inflation
Starting April 1, 2019, the Government of Canada will adjust fees according to the Consumer Price Index, also known as inflation.
The Consumer Price Index is a percentage set by Statistics Canada each year. To set the index, Statistics Canada uses an average of price changes for predefined consumer goods and services, including transportation, food and medical care.
The rate of 2.2% will apply to most regulatory fees as of April 1, 2019. Note that since inflation is calculated on an annual basis, a new inflation rate will apply every April 1.
SSB: 04/2019 Hydrostatic testing of pressure containers under the Vessel Fire Safety Regulations
This bulletin applies to Canadian vessels that are of
• more than 15 gross tonnage; or
• 15 gross tonnage or less and carrying more than 12 passengers.
The VFSR set out requirements that must be met for hydrostatic testing of pressure containers (cylinders), such as fire-extinguishing agent bottles. Section 1.49 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) outlines the pressure cylinder marking and product approval requirements for transportation of pressure cylinders to shore facilities for refilling, exchanging or requalification from a Canadian-flagged vessel.
SSB: 05/2019 Safety measures concerning life-saving appliances
This bulletin applies to all Canadian vessels.
This bulletin reminds the marine community of some well-established safe practices for life-saving appliances. The recommendations and information provided in this bulletin are complementary to the applicable legal obligations.
The Government of Canada has announced that six international organizations will receive more than $4.1 million for research projects that will help improve protocols and decision-making to minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills. The recipients include: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; Johns Hopkins University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; SINTEF Ocean; Texas A&M University; and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. These projects are part of the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative, announced last year to leverage collaboration among oil spill experts in Canada and abroad to ensure we have the capability to provide the best scientific advice and tools to respond to oil spills in our waters. The Multi-Partner Research Initiative will support a variety of different but interrelated research projects on alternative response measures for oil spills while facilitating partnerships among the best researchers across Canada and around the world. These collaborative efforts will improve our knowledge of how oil spills behave, how best to contain them and clean them up, and how to minimize their environmental impacts.
The BC Court of Appeal will hold a five-day hearing to consider provincial powers in the political battle over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The BC government is seeking the ability to restrict the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta. The Court will determine whether the proposed amendments in BC’s Environmental Management Act will be valid or overridden by federal law.
A letter from Finance Minister Bill Morneau has indicated that exploratory talks may soon be underway with Indigenous groups on possible equity and revenue-sharing arrangements on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Key discussion points will be on the opportunity for meaningful economic participation in the project and the economic development of their communities in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation.
The 2019 Federal Budget was tabled earlier this week. With a focus on securing voters, it contains little in the way of substantial opportunity to address competitiveness, productivity, and investment certainty. It offers billions in targeted support for students, seniors, first-time homebuyers, workers and national pharmacare. Overall, it is projecting a $19.7 billion deficit for 2019-20.
On the marine front, topics that were addressed include:
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.