World-Class Tanker Safety System: Amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act)
Among the measures to create a World-Class Tanker Safety System, the Government of Canada has proposed amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to strengthen ship-source oil spill preparedness and response, introduce new requirements for oil handling facilities, and establish new offences for the contravention of pollution prevention provisions in Canada's waters, including administrative monetary penalties (AMP).The proposed amendments will:
- strengthen the current requirements for pollution prevention and response at oil handling facilities, requiring operators to be proactive in the prevention of spills, and also to have the capacity to effectively respond to a spill, if required. Currently, oil handling facilities are required to have emergency response plans in place. However, they are not obliged to submit these plans to Transport Canada. These amendments will make it mandatory for operators to provide these plans to Transport Canada to ensure they meet the regulations;
- increase Transport Canada's oversight and enforcement capacity by equipping marine safety inspectors with tools to effectively ensure compliance, introducing new offences for contraventions of the Act and extending the Administrative Monetary Penalty provisions to the Pollution Prevention and Response portion of the Act (Part 8). By doing so, Marine Safety inspectors have the ability to impose administrative monetary penalties to oil handling facilities not in compliance with regulations; and
- enhance response to oil spill incidents by removing legal barriers that could otherwise block agents of Canadian response organizations from participating in clean-up operations. Right now, Canadian oil spill response organizations have civil and criminal immunity in the Act when they respond to spills from ships. We will expand this immunity for when they respond to spills from oil handling facilities and provide immunity to foreign response organizations.