The federal government announced it is further strengthening Canada’s tanker safety system. These measures act on recommendations by the independent Tanker Safety Expert Panel and build on other studies, as well as input received from provincial governments, aboriginal groups and marine stakeholders from across Canada. These safety measures are in addition to those announced by the Government of Canada in March 2013. The new announcements focus on preventing spills, cleaning them up quickly when they do occur, and making sure polluters pay. Implementing these new measures represents an ongoing commitment to the Canadian public towards Canada’s tanker safety system, which is essential to protect our marine environments and responsibly transport our natural resources.
The measures include:
Modernizing Canada’s marine navigation system. Canada will implement e-Navigation, which reduces the risk of an oil spill by providing accurate and real-time information and data on navigational hazards, weather and ocean conditions to vessel operators and marine authorities to minimize the potential of collisions and accidents.
Establishing new area response planning partnerships for each of the following regions that have current or projected high levels of tanker traffic: the southern portion of British Columbia; Saint John and the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia; Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec. Oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in these four areas will take into consideration the area’s geography, environmental sensitivities, and oil tanker traffic volumes.
Supporting aboriginal communities so that they can participate in marine emergency preparedness and response planning around their communities.
Amending legislation to provide the use of alternate response measures such as the use of chemical dispersants and burning spilled oil during emergencies, and to clarify the Canadian Coast Guard’s authority to use and to authorize these measures when there is likely to be a net environmental benefit.
Strengthening the polluter pay regime by introducing legislative and regulatory amendments that will enhance Canada’s domestic Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF). These amendments will remove the fund’s existing per-incident liability limit of $161 million in order to make available the full amount of the SOPF for a single incident—currently around $400 million. They will ensure compensation is provided to eligible claimants and recover these costs from industry through a levy, in the unlikely event that all domestic and international pollution funds have been exhausted. Lastly, they will compensate those who have lost earnings due to an oil spill even if their property has not been contaminated by a spill.