To uphold the Government of Canada’s high standards for marine shipping in the north, Transport Canada has introduced new Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations. The regulations incorporate the Polar Code into Canada’s domestic legislation.
Canada’s Arctic is a vast and diverse region, an integral part of marine transportation connecting Canada to other countries and an essential lifeline for northern communities.
The Polar Code addresses the unique hazards encountered by certain vessels that operate in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Polar Code and Canada’s new regulations include a variety of safety and pollution prevention measures, including those related to vessel design and equipment, vessel operations and crew training. Drawing from decades of experience as an Arctic regulator, Canada played a key leadership role in developing the Polar Code at the IMO.
In addition, Transport Canada is taking action to support safe and responsible shipping in Arctic waters through the Oceans Protection Plan. Mr. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced in August 2017 more than $175 million in funding to help protect Arctic waters.
As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government committed to reviewing the Pilotage Act to support the delivery of safe, efficient and environmentally responsible pilotage services. The ongoing review addresses a wide range of topics including governance, safety, labour models, tariffs, economic considerations and emerging issues, including pilotage in the North.
The $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan -the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways- aims to create a world-leading marine safety system, while preserving ecosystems, creating strong Indigenous partnerships and engaging coastal communities. Under the plan, the Canadian government also announced introduction of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (Bill C-64) in Parliament, in late October.
Except for this, the initiative has given priority on assessing the environmental effects of shipping, on enhancing marine pollution prevention and responsiveness, as well as reducing local marine traffic issues impacting marine life.
“These new regulations demonstrate Canada’s leadership on the international stage when it comes to shipping safety and pollution prevention in the Arctic. Under the Oceans Protection Plan, we will continue to protect the safety of those who travel on Canada’s waters and safeguard our coasts for future generations as we continue to support the economy,” said Mr. Garneau.