Oceans Protection Plan: strategic environmental assessment public statement

A review of the potential environmental impacts of the Oceans Protection Plan.

The Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways. It also grows our economy. With this Plan, future generations will enjoy and benefit from this key part of Canada’s identity. It is structured around 4 priority areas:

  • creating a world-leading marine safety system that protects Canada’s waters
  • restoring and protecting marine ecosystems and habitats
  • creating stronger local emergency response through Indigenous partnerships and by engaging coastal communities
  • investing in oil spill cleanup research and methods to ensure that decisions taken to protect the marine environment are evidence-based

The OPP requires a whole-of-government approach. The responsibilities for specific areas and measures fall within the purview of multiple federal departments across initiatives. Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Natural Resources Canada are all contributors to the OPP.  

This is a review of how ECCC’s contribution to the OPP will affect the environment.

Specifically, ECCC’s contribution to the Plan will help meet the 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals including:

  • “Healthy coasts and oceans” by supporting healthy, resilient and productive ecosystems
  • “Safe and healthy communities” by preventing environmental emergencies or mitigating their impacts on communities

ECCC’s OPP initiatives will produce positive environmental effects by contributing to a marine safety system that is better positioned to prevent and respond to pollution incidents. Preparedness and response to oil spills in the ocean will be improved by:

  • increasing the number of environmental emergency officers, enforcement and wildlife officers across Canada, and in particular on the Pacific and Atlantic coast
  • improving marine weather forecasting
  • allowing the use of alternative response measures
  • undertaking regional response planning activities
  • undertaking scientific studies to better understand the ocean and coastal environments

These activities and outcomes contribute to reducing the impacts on the environment in case of an incident.

It is difficult to assess the potential negative environmental effects. However, it is unlikely that there will be any significant negative environmental effects. If any are identified they will be mitigated as part of the initiative’s implementation.

In order to effectively implement the OPP, public consultation and engagement sessions are being undertaken. ECCC takes advantage of these sessions for insight about its own initiatives.

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