Government of Canada takes steps to speed up ocean protection
Ottawa, Ontario – Canada is committed to protecting its marine and coastal areas that are ecologically diverse and economically significant to Canadians. It is Canada’s responsibility to steward its resources with care, protecting the lifecycle of marine life and the Canadian middle class that depend on their own hard work and on the health of our oceans to make a living.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, introduced amendments to the Oceans Act today. These amendments facilitate the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) without sacrificing sound science or the public’s opportunity to provide input.
Marine Protected Areas can provide long term protection to marine creatures and the habitats they call home. However, current approval processes are long and can leave identified areas unprotected. The Government of Canada is proposing amendments to the Oceans Act to help protect areas that need it most, faster.
The proposed changes to the Oceans Act will help accelerate our marine conservation objectives. They include an option of providing interim protection to significant or sensitive areas that have been identified by scientists and through consultation with Indigenous peoples, local communities, and others interested in the area.
Once this interim protection is in effect, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard would have up to five years to recommend that a permanent MPA be put in place through extensive consultations with Indigenous peoples, Provinces or Territories, scientists, local communities and marine industries to determine the conservation objectives, the final boundaries, and long-term management of human activities.
To complement the proposed amendments to the Oceans Act, the Government of Canada is also proposing amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. These changes would prohibit oil and gas activities in marine areas where interim protection is in effect. They would also allow Natural Resources and Indigenous and Northern Affairs to cancel a company’s oil and gas interests and allow for compensation in areas where an Oceans Act MPAs are designated and to provide fair compensation for the canceled interests.
These amendments give the Government of Canada important tools to help protect coastal and marine areas in our oceans.
“I am pleased to propose these amendments to the Oceans Act that will help Canada provide protection to sensitive marine areas that need it most. As Canada continues to lead the way towards the sustainable management of our oceans, we will continue to base our decisions on sound science and collaboration with all our partners.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Minister LeBlanc announced the Government’s plan to examine ways to update the Oceans Act on World Oceans Day 2016.
Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs engaged with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous groups, industry stakeholders and environmental non-government organizations to discuss planned amendments to the Oceans Act.
The Canada Petroleum Resources Act provides the Ministers of Natural Resources and Indigenous and Northern Affairs with authority to regulate Canada’s offshore oil and gas activities in the Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay, and areas in the Atlantic that are not governed by federal-provincial Accord Acts, as well as the Arctic Offshore.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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