The Government of Canada is investing in a marine science initiative led by the University of Waterloo in Iqaluit, Nunavut. With the changing environment due to the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and persistent chemicals that are present in the North, more science, data and Inuit knowledge are needed. The data collected under this project, will help characterize the current state of the coastal ecosystem of Iqaluit. The project, which received an investment of nearly $108 000, is measuring the concentration of contaminants like mercury and methyl mercury in species like molluscs, starfish and cod. This research initiative is part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program.
The following communities will receive a portion of the $1,273,045 provided to assess and remove abandoned boats under Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program:
These announcements come on the eve of the coming-into-force of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, on July 30, 2019, which will make it illegal to abandon boats and increase vessel owner liability, and strengthen the Government’s response in cases where owners do not behave responsibly in disposing of their vessels at the end of their useful life.
On July 8th Transport Canada expanded the slowdown zone where vessels are required to travel at 10 knots through the season where North Atlantic Right Whales are present. Mandatory speed restrictions were expanded to include any vessel over 13 metres long operating in areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Transport Canada has fined three vessels for alleged non-compliance of a temporary mandatory speed restriction. Vessels have been assessed penalties of up $7,800 CAD.
The Minister Transport, on his tour through BC this week, announced $5.8 million in Indigenous and Local Communities Engagement and Partnership Program funding for 21 projects with Indigenous groups. This funding will allow for longer-term Indigenous participation in engagement activities linked to Oceans Protection Plan initiatives or Canada’s marine safety system. Specially this will support building local capacity and expertise to help Indigenous communities take a greater role in the design and implementation of aspects of the transportation system and environmental protection measures.
In addition to this announcement was an addition $6.9M to extend the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (EMSA) initiative pilot project through to March 2022. EMSA uses technology to provide accessible, near real-time, vessel movement data to coastal partners and stakeholders. This funding is going towards new maritime data sources, enhancing existing data sources, and building capacity for partners piloting the system.
Transport Canada has announced $102M of funding towards transportation improvements, including:
The Port of Nanaimo will be receiving $46.2M in funding by the federal government to enable the Port to make significant infrastructure improvements and expansions at its Duke Point facilities. The existing wharf will be expanded to 325 metres from its current 182, an existing crane will be replaced with two 24-metre cranes, a new warehouse will be built for general cargo, a new maintenance and administration building, truck gate, increasing the terminal’s storage area and upgrades will be made for electrical, sewer, drainage, water and security systems around the facility. An estimated 900 jobs will be created in the region during construction, besides the long-term employees who will be working at the expanded facilities.
As part of the government’s efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale, DFO fishery officers and the Canadian Coast Guard spent three days searching for and retrieving lost fishing gear, known as ‘ghost gear,’ from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In total, teams removed 101 lost snow crab traps and over nine kilometres of rope from the water. The operation focused on the areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the most gear was reported lost or missing by responsible fish harvesters. Since 2018, harvesters in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence have been required to report lost gear and there have been over 1,000 reports of lost fishing gear this year. Fishery officers will return any legal fishing gear that was reported lost, but all unreported gear will be held pending investigation, which may lead to charges.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have issued a joint notice asking shipowners and operators to strengthen the inspections for the insect. The warning comes after several vessels arrived in Vancouver last week with infestations and the vessels were ordered to vacate the port. The USDA and CFIA have encouraged ship operators to do more than normal self checking for the AGM as all the vessels with infestations had been inspected and certified in Asian ports, yet moths and larvae were still present.
The federal government has reached a deal to sell Ridley Terminal to a US equity firms and First Nations. Located in Northern BC, Ridley Terminals Inc. is a Crown corporation that owns the facility in the Port of Prince Rupert which exports coal. This deal will see 90 percent of its shares sold for $350-million to U.S. private equity firms, Riverstone Holdings LLC and AMCI Group. The remaining 10 percent will be transferred to a limited partnership owned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation.
The provincial government is taking the first step towards ensuring that more BC logs are processed in BC by applying a new, targeted fee-in-lieu of manufacturing for exported logs harvested from a coastal BC Timber Sales licence. The fee will be dependent on the economics of individual stands. Stands containing high-value species and that are easily accessible will have a higher fee than stands with low-value species that are remote and difficult to access. This will be in effect for five years, starting July 31, 2019. Further details including log export exemptions, including maps to exempted areas can be found at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FLNR0179-001419
The Government of Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin No. 11/2019 to implement additional speed restrictions in specific zones in the Gulf of St Lawrence in response to recent deaths of the North Atlantic Right Whales.
Adding to the situation this week were three North Atlantic Right Whales found entangled in rope and fishing gear. All three were sighted in areas already closed to fishing. The three whales are being monitored and attempts at disentanglement will be attempted if it can be done safely.
The new Environmental Response Regulations were published on July 10th in the Canada Gazette Part II and are now in force. The principal objective of the Regulations is to improve the effectiveness of Canada’s Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime for prescribed vessels and Oil Handling Facilities (OHFs) while engaged in the loading and unloading of oil. Enhanced prevention and planning activities by the OHFs, in conjunction with increased compliance and enforcement by Transport Canada, provides an increased state of readiness. TP 14909E is the associated guidance document.
The Province has renewed its service contract with BC Ferries for the next four-year term April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024. The renewed contract reflects increased annual funding from the Province to BC Ferries of $32.5 million to support fare affordability and another $5.8 million annually to support the increase of 2,700 round trips on 10 minor and northern routes announced earlier this year.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Customs Notice 19-14 to advise that as of June 30, 2020, the CBSA will no longer accept B13As. Exporters, or their customs service providers, will be required to report their exports electronically. There will be two electronic reporting methods available to exporters to report goods: the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) and the G7 Export Reporting Electronic Data Interchange (G7-EDI). Exporters can register for CERS once it is in place, March 16, 2020. G7-EDI is currently in existence and can be used now. G7-EDI requires an investment from the exporting client.
Exporters currently using CAED and participants in the Summary Reporting Program will receive letters from the CBSA with information about how to activate their CERS account between February and June 2020. CAED will be decommissioned on June 30, 2020.
The Canadian government has announced that they will be making a $17 million investment into increasing capacity at the Port of Belledune to increase the movement of domestic goods to international markets. The project includes filling in the water gap between the M.D. Young Terminal and Rayburn Doucett Terminal to create a larger berth. This work will also create additional space for commodities at the south end of Terminal 3 which handles general cargo and bulk. The Port of Belledune is a deep-water facility located in northeastern New Brunswick which handled its record annual volumes of 2.9 million metric tons in 2018.
The BC government announced that as of Monday, July 1, the container trucking commissioner will have authority to set rates and fuel surcharges. The decision is designed to help maintain stability, fairness and competitiveness in the sector. In setting rates, the commissioner will be guided by the principles of balancing fair compensation for drivers and ensuring the ongoing competitiveness of the sector. This action supports the commissioner’s implementation of a new $25 positioning rate to compensate drivers for trips without containers, which currently are unpaid.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport has issued a statement on the deaths of several North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters. With six deaths reported in the month of June, Transport Canada is implementing an interim precautionary speed restriction of 10 knots, for vessels of 20 metres or more in length travelling in the western the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the two designated shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island, effective immediately. The penalty for non-compliance is $25,000.