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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.

Friday, 19 April 2019 14:09

Hupman named Marine Atlantic CEO

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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.

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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:

  • The inclusion of principles in the Act regarding efficient and cost-effective pilotage services (clause 226);
  • An emphasis on emerging technologies (clause 226);
  • Transparency of all contracts (clause 231);
  • The improvement of the tariff setting process while retaining the current regulatory safeguards (238); and
  • The standardization that will occur with regulatory powers being retained by Transport Canada (clause 252).

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



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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 ActThe 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.



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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:

  • requires the BC Ferries commissioner to prioritize public interest when regulating ferry services, including consideration of GHG emission targets;
  • increases the number of BC Ferry Authority directors appointed by government from two to four, to bring a greater public interest perspective to the role of BC Ferries’ shareholders;
  • ensures that the BC Ferry Authority oversees the strategic direction of BC Ferries in support of public interest including safe, reliable and affordable coastal ferry services in British Columbia;
  • requires the BC Ferry Authority to set term limits when appointing directors to the BC Ferry Services Board, to improve the oversight of BC Ferries; and
  • expands definition of ‘executive’ at BC Ferries to include ‘vice-presidents,’ to provide greater transparency and oversight of executive compensation. 

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.

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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.



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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.



Thursday, 28 March 2019 13:10

CPI Increases to Government Fees

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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.



Thursday, 28 March 2019 12:53

Ship Safety Bulletins

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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.



Friday, 22 March 2019 14:18

Canada invests in oilspill research

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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.

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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.



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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.

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