Canada has the world’s longest coastline, and our water is one of our most important resources. Canadians across the country rely on transportation to go about their everyday life or to deliver products to market in a safe and responsible way.
As we mark the one-year anniversary of Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan—the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways—the Government of Canada is pleased to introduce the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act in Parliament. Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada has already invested more than $450 million.
Today, Bill C-64 was introduced in Parliament. The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, said the proposed legislation will proactively deal with wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels. Bill C-64 will also bring the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 into force of law in Canada. It is one of several measures the Government of Canada has committed to delivering and implementing under the Oceans Protection Plan.
The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act will:
- prohibit vessel abandonment;
- strengthen owner responsibility and liability for hazardous vessels and wrecks, including costs for clean-up and removal; and
- empower the Government of Canada to take proactive action on hazardous vessels before they become more costly to Canadians.
Preventing abandoned vessels and reducing the impacts from wrecked and hazardous vessels will improve environmental protections and increase economic opportunities through tourism and fishing. At the same time, these actions will reduce local threats to human health and safety while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come.
The Oceans Protection Plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system, while preserving our ecosystems, creating strong Indigenous partnerships and engaging coastal communities, and investing in research to ensure decisions are evidence based.
Oceans Protection Plan Quick Facts
- On September 21, 2017, the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 was tabled in Parliament. The Convention will strengthen vessel owners’ liability for hazardous wrecks from marine incidents.
- On September 7, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada launched a five-year $1.3 million Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Removals Program.
- In August 2017, Transport Canada announced a total investment of over $175 million in seven measures to help protect Arctic waters as part of the Oceans Protection Plan.
- In May 2017, Transport Canada launched a five-year $6.85 million Abandoned Boats Program, which provides funding support for the removal and disposal of hazardous small boats, helps educate boat owners about responsibly managing their end-of-life boats, and supports research on boat recycling.
- Last November, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
We are taking further action on our promise to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Holding vessel owners accountable for their actions is an important step in ensuring Canadians are not burdened by the effects of wrecked and abandoned vessels, nor responsible for their clean-up costs. This is an important stage in addressing abandoned and wrecked vessels. This will give the shore back to the communities and protect our coasts and the quality of our water. The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
“Today’s announcement is an important step in delivering on our government’s commitment to addressing wrecked, abandoned and hazardous vessels throughout Canada’s vast waterways. The legislation will mean increased accountability on Canadian waterways, so that responsible vessel owners and the public can safely use, and enjoy, Canada’s pristine environment.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“It’s important to celebrate our ambitious actions to protect Canada’s oceans and coastlines. We have not only strengthened our ability to respond quickly to marine environmental emergencies, but our scientists are expanding their knowledge of species and vulnerable coastal areas. In years to come, this program will continue to support a growing Canadian economy and a healthy environment.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
“The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act will be the first of its kind in Canada. It will strengthen owner responsibility and liability for their vessels, including costs for clean-up and removal. The Government of Canada takes the protection of the marine environment seriously.”
Member of Parliament for South Shore – St. Margaret’s