The Oceans Protection Plan: One Year In The Making

The Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.

It has been one year since the $1.5 billion OPP was announced on November 7, 2016. The OPP was introduced with the intentions of improving marine safety and responsible shipping, protecting Canada’s marine environment, and offering new opportunities for Indigenous and coastal communities.

In the past year, the Government of Canada announced investment initiatives valued at more than $450 million into infrastructure and programs, science and research initiatives, new regulations and engagement activities as part of the OPP.

The Government has announced:

Infrastructure and Programs

Emergency Management & Response Capacity (Announced May 31, 2017)

An investment of $108.1 million over five years for the Canadian Coast Guard to:

  • Create 24/7 emergency management and response capacity within the three existing Regional Operations Centres in Victoria, Montreal and St. John’s to better plan and coordinate effective response during an incident.
  • Establish six new radar stations, receive five new search and rescue lifeboats, modernize response equipment and increase emergency vessel towing capacity.
  • Establish seven new lifeboat stations with an additional investment of $12.2 million, including resources and training for local communities. The new lifeboat stations are expected in Victoria, Hartley Bay, Port Renfrew and Nootka Sound, along with another three in Newfoundland.
  • Learn more here.

Coastal Restoration Fund (Announced May 31, 2017)

  • A Coastal Restoration Fund to support the restoration of coastal aquatic habitats and mitigate threats to marine species in Canada. ($75 million)
  • Learn more here.

Abandoned, Derelict and Wrecked Vessel Programs (Announced May 31, 2017)

  • The national Abandoned Boats Program led by Transport Canada. The program will allow provincial and local government as well as Indigenous groups to apply for funds to assess, remove and dispose of abandoned vessels. ($5.5 million)
  • A secondary program, the Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Removal Program, which will fund Harbour Authorities and other eligible recipients to remove and dispose of abandoned vessels located in small craft harbours owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. ($1.325 million)
  • Education, awareness and research projects related to abandoned vessels over the next five years. ($1.25 million)
  • Learn more here.

Arctic Marine Protection (Announced August 27, 2017)

An investment of $175 million over five years to:

  • Fund safety equipment, marine infrastructure, and training on Arctic coastal communities, with the goal of creating safer and more efficient resupply operations. ($94.3 million)
  • Build a new Arctic National Aerial Surveillance Program Complex in Iqaluit, Nunavut featuring a hangar and accommodations unit, to further improve spill prevention. This investment will enhance Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program Arctic and will help to survey the growing number of ships operating in Canada’s Arctic waters. ($29.9 million) 
  • $21 million will be spent over five years on Transport Canada’s Marine Training Contribution Fund. This investment will enhance and expand marine training and opportunities to underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people, Northerners and women in Canada’s Arctic.
  • Establish Transport Canada’s Office of Incident Management, which will modernize and standardize the department’s incident response processes. The Office will oversee implementation of the Incident Command System, a widely recognized and used response tool. This will improve the department’s response capability in emergency situations and improve coordination with other response partners. ($16.89 million)
  • Expand Transport Canada’s Community Funding Program. Through the program, eligible Indigenous groups, non-profits and communities can receive up to $50,000 to contribute their local knowledge towards improving marine transportation in Canada. This investment is meant to facilitate meaningful partnerships with Indigenous groups and increase their participation and input into decisions affecting Canada’s marine transportation system. ($13.4 million)
  • Learn more here.

Science & Research

Hydrography & Charting

  • An investment to improve hydrography and charting in areas of high marine traffic, commercial ports and waterways, to make navigation safer. ($20 million)
  • Learn more here.

Research Partnerships

  • A Partnership Fund, which will provide funds in support of collaborative research and to increase collective understanding of the ocean. ($5 million)
  • Learn more here.

Coastal Environmental Baseline Program

  • The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. The program will provide funds to collect comprehensive data on marine ecosystems in Canada. ($50.8 million)
  • Learn more here.

Marine Mammal Protection

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada will conduct a science-based review of the effectiveness of the current management and recovery actions for three endangered whale species, which are the North Atlantic Right Whale, St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and Southern Resident Killer Whale.
  • A Southern Resident Killer Whale Symposium which took place in October, 2017 and brought together experts and other interested parties to contribute to a greater understanding of the complex issues and shared responsibilities associated with protecting and recovering the species.
  • Learn more here.

Regulations

Oil Tanker Moratorium (Announced May 12, 2017)

  • The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48). The proposed Act would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading any of these oils at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. The proposed moratorium is in support of the OPP.

Pilotage Review (Announced May 31, 2017)

  • That the Pilotage Act is to be reviewed. The review is intended to support the delivery of safe, efficient and environmentally responsible marine pilotage services in Canada. The review is also part of the OPP.

Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels (Announced October 30, 2017)

Engagement

Three new online portals in an effort to engage Canadians and include them in decision-making related to the OPP. The portals provide opportunities for Canadian citizens, stakeholders and industry experts get involved and offer creative solutions leading to more effective policies. The three portals launched are:

Visit each of the portals to get involved in the Oceans Protection Plan and have your voice heard.

Learn More About:

Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan

Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan: What it means for Canada’s regions

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