Government of Canada introduces Oceans Protection Plan legislative changes

News release

Oct. 30, 2018 – Ottawa

Canada’s oceans are a source of inspiration and pride for all Canadians, and contribute to the growth of our economy. But as overseas trade and the movement of goods grow, there is a need for greater emphasis on marine safety and environmental protections. Now more than ever, the Government of Canada recognizes that enhanced prevention and safety measures are needed to ensure the safe transportation of goods in Canadian waters.

Yesterday, the Government introduced the Budget Implementation Act, which includes proposed legislative changes to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Marine Liability Act. These changes deliver on commitments made under the Oceans Protection Plan to enable the Government to respond to marine pollution incidents faster and more effectively, and to better protect marine ecosystems and habitats.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, are pleased to support the introduction of these proposed legislative changes under the Oceans Protection Plan.

If passed, these amendments would improve marine safety and environmental protection by:

  • modernizing Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund, including unlimited compensation for victims and responders in the event of an oil spill from a ship;

  • strengthening the legal authority to regulate marine vessels in order to protect the marine environment, including for example to protect endangered whale populations;

  • authorizing the Minister of Transport to issue interim orders to allow for immediate actions to be taken to address a pressing risk to marine safety or to the marine environment;

  • enabling more proactive, rapid, and effective response to oil spills in Canada’s waters, while maintaining the polluter pays principle; and

  • supporting research and innovation to enhance marine safety and environmental protection.

These proposed changes are a key element of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national strategy is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines for generations to come. The strategy is being developed in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.


“These proposed changes to legislation will strengthen marine environmental protection and marine safety for generations to come. As we mark the second anniversary of the launch of the Oceans Protection Plan, we renew our commitment to meaningful action to safeguard Canada’s coasts and waterways.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“The introduction of the proposed Oceans Protection Plan legislative changes clearly demonstrates our Government’s commitment to making Canada’s waters and coasts safer, cleaner, and healthier. The proposed changes will make our world-leading marine safety system even stronger, bringing benefits for those who work on our waters and live on our coasts.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

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Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard

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