Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes: annex 3
Annex 3: discharges from vessels
The purpose of this annex is to ensure that discharges from vessels do not adversely impact the Great Lakes.
Under the Constitution of Canada, the federal Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction over navigation and shipping. Existing laws, regulations, regulatory programs, inspection protocols and enforcement regimes are designed to address threats to the Great Lakes from vessel discharges.
Discharges of polluting substances from vessels have been addressed under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement since it was first signed in 1972. Oil was originally the discharge of greatest concern. The introduction of the zebra mussel in 1988 focused attention on the potential for ships’ ballast water discharges to introduce aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the Great Lakes.
The Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement includes commitments to protect the Great Lakes from the discharge of ballast water, oil, hazardous polluting substances, garbage, wastewater, sewage, AIS, pathogens, and antifouling systems.
The most recent binational report on Great Lakes water quality, presented to the International Joint Commission by Canada and the United States in April 2012, indicated that, with the exception of AIS found in ballast water, the impact on the Great Lakes from all of these discharges or potential discharges is low. Thanks to enhanced ballast water regulations introduced by Transport Canada, no new introductions of AIS to the Great Lakes have been attributed to ballast water since 2006.
This annex includes actions to continue implementing existing ballast water and discharge requirements, to advance new treatment technologies and control measures for AIS, and to ensure that canals and waterways are considered in measures to prevent and control AIS. Additional provisions to address risks from AIS are included in the aquatic invasive species annex.
Goal 1: Implement Canadian ballast water requirements to protect the Great Lakes from AIS.
Result 1.1 - Continued implementation of the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
- (a) Continue to enforce the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations to promote 100 percent compliance from vessels arriving in the Great Lakes from outside the Canadian exclusive economic zone.
Goal 2: Respect Canada’s international obligations by advancing additional treatment technologies and control measures to further reduce the risk of introduction into or spread of AIS in the Great Lakes.
Result 2.1 - Reduction of the risk of introduction of AIS discharged by ships into the Great Lakes.
- (a) Implement the requirements of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004; and
- (b) Research and develop additional practicable measures to further reduce the risk of introduction into or spread of AIS via ships within the Great Lakes.
Goal 3: Protect the Great Lakes from the following harmful discharges from vessels: oil and hazardous polluting substances; garbage; wastewater and sewage; biofouling; and antifouling systems.
Result 3.1 - Continued efforts to ensure that discharges from vessels remain a low risk to the quality and protection of the Great Lakes.
- (a) Implement the requirements of Annex 5 (discharges from vessels) of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement through policy, regulations, research and enforcement actions.
Goal 4: Ensure that vectors other than vessels associated with navigation and shipping, such as canals and waterways, are considered in the prevention or spread of AIS.
Result 4.1 - Binational risk assessment of pathways and vectors of AIS.
- (a) Assist other departments as required in their research into other vectors of introduction of AIS involving navigation and shipping.
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