Bill C-64 in protection of Canada’s marine environment launched
The Government of Canada via its 'Ocean Protection Plan' is acting to prevent its eco-marine environment from being affected as wrecked, abandoned, and hazardous vessels, including small boats, pose environmental, economic, and safety hazards, and are a concern for coastal and inland water communities across Canada. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, highlighted yesterday’s passage of Bill C-64: the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.
Specifically, the Act prohibits vessel abandonment and brings into Canadian law the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007.
The Act boosts owners to be more responsible and liable towards their vessels, as it is against irresponsible vessel management. In the meantime, it enables the Government of Canada to remove problem vessels.
According to the government, the non-compliant vessels will pay penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for companies or corporations, while regulatory offence prosecution could result in a maximum fine of $1M for individuals and $6M for companies or corporations.
Moreover, Canada launched two short-termed funding programs in 2017 in favour of coastal communities and other eligible recipients in removing and disposing of high-priority, smaller vessels:
- Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program;
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program.
Moreover, Transport Canada's project supports education and awareness activities and research on vessel recycling and design.
Additional actions taken in light of the National Strategy include improving vessel owner identification, creating an inventory of problem vessels and assessing their risks, and establishing a polluter pays approach for vessel clean-up.
Launched in November 2016, Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.
We are proud to see the passage of this significant legislation, which will enable us to better protect our coastlines by requiring responsible vessel management and prohibiting vessel abandonment. Canada’s coastlines are an important part of Canadian life and culture, and we must work together to protect and restore them.
Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport commented.