Canada-United States marine pollution contingency plan

Official title: Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan

Subject category:
Marine / Oceans
Type of agreement / instrument:
Canada - United States
Cooperative Arrangement
  • Signed by Canada August 3, 2017.
  • In force in Canada August 3, 2017.
  • In force internationally August 3, 2017.
  • The 2017 Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (JCP) will supersede the 2013 revised Can-US JCP. The 2017 JCP has been updated to address mutual assistance in non-adjacent waters of both countries as outlined in the Plan.
Canadian Coast Guard
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
For further information:
Web links:
Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (PDF)
Contact the Canadian Coast Guard
Compendium edition:
February 2022
Reference #:

Plain language summary

Canada and the United States (US) have a Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (JCP) whose main purpose is to provide a coordinated system for planning, preparedness and response to spills incident occurring in the coastal waters and great lakes regions between the two countries.

The JCP is intended to ensure awareness and enable a coordinated federal response to pollution incidents that could affect both countries and covers all potential sources of marine pollution.


The Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan is an agreement between the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and the United States Coast Guard. It evolved out of the 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and is designed to deal with accidental and unauthorized releases of pollutants that cause or may cause damage to the environment along the shared maritime boundary.

The JCP provides a coordinated mechanism for planning, preparing for, and responding to spills in contiguous waters and established procedures for the coordination of spill response efforts between Canada and the U.S. The Plan covers all potential sources of marine pollution (i.e., ships, offshore platforms, mystery spills).

Key elements

Annexes to this plan cover CANUSLAK - the Great Lakes, CANUSLANT - the Atlantic coast, CANUSPAC - the Pacific coast, CANUSNORTH - the Beaufort Sea, and CANUSDIX - the Dixon Entrance. Regional Annexes must be exercised at least once every five years.

Expected results

The Plan serves as a means for Canada and the US to meet their commitments under the International Convention for Oil Pollution Prevention Response, and Cooperation, 1990, which states that countries should have agreements in place to quickly inform other nations of marine spills that may impact their waters, and to seek aid in the event a spill exceeds one nations ability to respond.

Canada is committed to ensuring cooperative bilateral response planning at the local and national levels to releases of pollutants that affect the geographical areas included in the annexes.

Canada’s involvement

The CCG is the lead agency. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) plays an advisory role where ECCC’s National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC) provides science-based expert advice 24/7. Its scientific advice informs actions that reduce the consequences of environmental emergencies.

During an emergency, the NEEC is ECCC’s focal point for the provision of scientific advice, such as weather forecast, contaminant dispersion and trajectory modelling, fate and behaviour of hazardous substances, the establishment of clean-up priorities and techniques, as well as the protection of sensitive ecosystems and wildlife such as migratory birds and fish.

The Joint Response Team (JRT) is an integrated response team with members from both countries. For significant pollution incidents requiring multi-agency cooperation and in support to the CCG, the NEEC may chair a Science Table when requested by the lead agency. The Science Table brings together relevant experts in the field of environmental protection during significant environmental emergency response efforts. The members of Science Tables can include response agencies, all levels of government, Indigenous representatives, local communities, industries, environmental non-government organizations and academic institute.

Results / progress


In January 2022 the JCP National Coordination Group (NCG) hosted a two day workshop with regional and district representatives. The objectives were to discuss updates to the 2022 JCP Plan and National Strategies.


Regional and district input gathered for inclusion in the upcoming 2022 JCP Plan.

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