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.
At Tuesday’s Senate Committee hearing to discuss the proposed the Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48), the Chamber’s President, Robert Lewis-Manning, weighed in on the contentious oil tanker ban and recommended that other existing tools for managing marine traffic in sensitive marine ecosystems be considered instead of imposing a moratorium on the export of specific commodities. The oil moratorium threatens to scare away foreign investors, who have already reduced investment levels in Canada amid a deepening lack of confidence in Canada’s regulatory regime.
Canada Border Services Agency has released Customs Notice 19-04 to clarify the use of the 9000 generic type sub-location code on cargo reports in all modes. The sub-location code is a four-digit identification number that identifies the location and destination of goods. Goods arriving in bulk by sea, which are offloaded in an area where a suitable sufferance warehouse does not exist to store those types of goods must be released prior to their offload from the vessel and the port must be a designated commercial vessel port of entry.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, welcomed the Royal Assent of Bill C-57, the Act to Amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The amendments expand the scope of the original Act and provides a new approach to sustainable development. Amendments to the Act include:
The National Energy Board (NEB) today delivered its Reconsideration report to the Government of Canada, with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved. The considerable benefits of the Project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government.
The NEB will impose 156 conditions on the Project if it is approved and has made 16 new recommendations to the Government of Canada. The Reconsideration report concludes that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would likely be significant. While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant. The Chamber has issued a statement welcoming the NEB’s decision.
BC Premier John Horgan took to twitter to respond and stated that he remains convinced that the project is not in the best interests of British Columbians. Environment Minister George Heyman echoed Premier Horgan’s comments and added that the province will continue to assert its right to defend its environment in court.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has released its Interim Report on Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy following a number of hearings conducted across Canada. Parts of the Chamber of Shipping’s testimony to the Committee in September 2018 can be viewed in the report.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has reported that 37 of 110 cars derailed and spilled crude on farm land near St. Lazare, Manitoba on February 16th. The CN railcars were upgraded tankers (all Class 117R cars) which are considered to have improved safety features. There was no fire or injuries in the derailment and most of the crude has been contained near the tracks. TSB is still working to determine how much oil spilled and how many of the railcars were breached.
Just earlier this month following the derailment near Field, BC the Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced a Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act to all railway companies mandating the use of handbrakes when a train is stopped on a mountain grade after an emergency use of the air brakes effective immediately.
Transport Canada has issued two Ship Safety Bulletins this week:
Yesterday, Minister Wilkinson, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, launched the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, a $55 million investment over five years to support the recovery of aquatic species at risk. In partnership with Indigenous communities, organizations, provinces and territories, industry and academia this fund focuses on seven priority freshwater places and two priority marine threats, including physical and acoustic disturbance such as ship strikes and marine noise. Interested parties are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and submit an expression of interest by March 22, 2019. Successful applicants at this stage will be invited to submit a project proposal for further consideration.
Earlier this week Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau announced that the federal government is providing over $190,000 to remove wrecks and/or gain legal possession of abandoned boats across Canada. In BC these include the removal of 13 and another three funded to obtain legal possession in Victoria, Steveston, Alert Bay, Port Edward, Pender and Bowen Island.
Transport Canada is proposing to amend the Navigation Safety Regulations to expand the Automatic Identification System (AIS) carriage requirements to a wider category of passenger vessels. Amendments published in the Canada Gazette Part I, Vol 153 No 6 on February 9th will strengthen the surveillance and enforcement of current and future requirements respecting the disturbance of the whales by small vessels. Affected stakeholders include owners of commercial vessels registered in Canada as passenger vessels or ferries, if their vessels are certified to carry more than 12 passengers or if their vessels are eight metres or more in length and are certified to carry passengers. Having access to AIS data will help to inform future protection measures of this endangered species and the protection of other species.
The Canadian Border Services Agency National Targeting Centre has updated its Pre-Arrival Notice requirements. Details of the requirements can be found here: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/bsf732-eng.html.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has announced that the Government of Canada's intends to amalgamate the Oshawa and Hamilton port authorities to form a new entity. Aligning with the Transportation 2030 vision, the amalgamation seeks to improve port efficiencies and planning in the region. The Oshawa and Hamilton port authorities carry similar commodities including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo such as fertilizers, asphalt and grain. Cargo handled at both ports produces over $6 billion in economic activity and 4500 direct and indirect jobs. An official certificate of intent will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on February 9, 2019. Interested parties will have until March 11, 2019 to submit comments.
The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans held its first day of study of Bill C-55, an act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, on Tuesday. The provisions in the bill are meant to create a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada, and improve the process of designating them, helping to speed a process which can currently take up to 10 years. The bill focuses on conservation and sustainability, however, industry has concerns about insufficient consultation and uninformed decision making that will have a wide-reaching affect on the marine industry.
Further to the announcement on January 14th, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) commenced its investigation into possible freight rail services issues in the Vancouver area in December 2018 and January 2019 by holding oral hearings on January 29th & 30th. Participants provided oral submissions to a 3-person Panel, presided by CTA Chair and CEO Mr. Scott Streiner. Participants expressed concern that recent embargo and permitting systems discriminated against some commodities, congestion and delays of export cargo arriving at terminal was having an economic impact on shippers, and a lack of empty marine containers had delayed unloading of rail cars. The three railways appearing before panel, BNSF, CP Rail and CN Rail indicated that any operational measures undertaken during the time frame being investigated were to address a surge of volumes and did not constitute a service failure. The CTA has 90 days to complete the investigation.
This week NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson won a significant by-election in Nanaimo and secured the coalition government in place between the NDP and Green Party. Also of note Premier Horgan made some changes to key Deputy Ministers in his Cabinet:
As part their investigation into possible freight rail service issues in the Vancouver area, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) will conduct on January 29th and 30th from 9:00 am at The Sutton Place Hotel (845 Burrard St). The hearing will be used to gather additional information and hear evidence from witnesses regarding freight rail service issues. Members of the public are welcome to attend as observers – seating will be limited. The Chamber has submitted a request to appear before the panel.