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Harper Government Announces First Steps Towards World-Class Tanker Safety System

When the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) came into force on July 1 st, 2007, Transport Canada introduced administrative monetary penalties to certain parts of the Act, as a new enforcement mechanism designed to promote compliance and penalize those who did not comply. This approach provides Transport Canada with a more effective compliance program that improves the safety of the marine community, the marine environment and ultimately the general public.

These administrative enforcement tools were introduced when the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations came into force on April 3 rd, 2008. The current penalties range from $250 to $25,000. Anyone who is issued an AMP may request a review by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada www.tatc.gc.ca.

Although Transport Canada has introduced administrative monetary penalties, the department retains the ability to prosecute those who do not comply with the CSA 2001 or its regulations.

Should a major oil spill occur in Canadian waters, offenders would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Currently, the Administrative Monetary Penalty regime does not apply to Part 8 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, which deals with pollution preparedness and response. The government's proposed amendments to the Act would apply the AMP regime to Part 8.  Once the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations are updated to include the requirements contained in Part 8 and its regulations, marine safety inspectors will be able to issue administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance with the Act.



March 2013


Backgrounder






World-class tanker safety system: Safe tankers through rigorous inspection and prevention

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting both the safety of Canadians and the environment. No development will proceed unless rigorous environment protection measures are in place. These goals are part of its plan for Responsible Resource Development, which aims to create high-quality jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. Canada is taking further action to ensure that it has a world-class tanker safety system for shipping oil and liquefied natural gas safely through Canada's waterways before any major new energy export facilities become operational.

Eight new measures will strengthen Canada's tanker safety system.

  1. Tanker inspections: The number of inspections will increase to ensure that all foreign tankers are inspected on their first visit to Canada, and annually thereafter, to ensure they comply with rules and regulations, especially with respect to double hulls.
  2. Systematic surveillance and monitoring of ships: The government will expand the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP).
  3. Incident Command System: The government will establish a Canadian Coast Guard Incident Command System which will allow it to respond more effectively to an incident and integrate its operations with key partners.
  4. Pilotage programs: We will review existing pilotage and tug escort requirements to see what more will be needed in the future.
  5. Public port designations: More ports will be designated for traffic control measures, starting with Kimitat.
  6. Scientific research: The government will conduct scientific research on non-conventional petroleum products, such as diluted bitumen, to enhance understanding of these substances and how they behave when spilled in the marine environment.
  7. New and modified aids to navigation: The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG)  will ensure that a system of aids to navigation comprised of buoys, lights and other devices, to warn of obstructions and to mark the location of preferred shipping routes, is installed and maintained.
  8. Modern navigation system: The CCG will develop options for enhancing Canada's current navigation system (e.g. aids to navigation, hydrographic charts, etc) by fall 2013 for government consideration.

Tanker inspections

As of 2010, large crude oil tankers can no longer operate in Canadian waters without a double hull. A double hull is a type of hull where the bottom and sides of a vessel have two complete layers of watertight hull surface.

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