On March 18, 2013 the Federal government announced proposed amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (the “Act”) and introduced eight new tanker-safety measures. The announcement was made by Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver and Transportation Minister Denis Lebel in Vancouver, British Columbia. Recently the province of British Columbia has expressed considerable concern regarding future tanker traffic arising from increased export of petroleum products from the province. The eight measures include increased inspections of foreign tankers, expanded aerial surveillance designed to monitor ship traffic and detect oil spills, a review of tug-escort requirements, expanded research into petroleum products to understand how they behave when spilled in the marine environment, and more ports being designated for traffic-control measures. The first port to be designated to receive traffic-control measures is Kitimat, British Columbia. The ministers also announced the creation of a tanker safety panel to recommend further measures for enhanced environmental safety.
Further, the newly announced Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act will amend the Act to include measures to increase regulation regarding ship-source oil spill preparedness and response, introduce new requirements for oil handling facilities, and establish new offences for the contravention of the Act, including administrative monetary penalties.