NAC Terms of Reference

National advisory council on Marine oil spill preparedness and response

1. Definition of the National Advisory Council (NAC)

The NAC is a national forum that complements Canada's Regional Advisory Councils (RAC) by assembling their presidents (or official delegate) to meet with Transport Canada, Marine Safety (TCMS) regional and headquarters representatives.

2. Purpose/Principle

The NAC is to provide the opportunity for RACsTC and specified other Government Departments to study Canada's Oil Spill Response Regime in an atmosphere of co-operation. This will be accomplished by sharing ideas beneficial to the Regime through collegial and effective meetings.

3. Objective

To ensure that Canada's Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime functions effectively as intended and to continually search for improvements that will enhance the Canada's spills prevention, preparedness and response functions.

4. Role of the NAC

4.1 The NAC provides the means of bringing together RAC representatives and TC Officials from each region to identify and review national issues/concerns with respect to Canada's marine oil spill preparedness and response regime in order to:

  • Elevate issues identified within RACs that have the potential to become national issues in the areas of preparedness and response, as well as public awareness, as it pertains to Part 8 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001).
  • Be a conduit for information and learning for RAC Presidents in their respective regions and guide their regional members in educational, awareness and meaningful discussion on relevant issues; and
  • Advise TCMS on national policies and plans, and to raise regional RAC issues through a national forum.

4.2 The NAC is to assess and continually study at the national level Canada's oil spill preparedness and response regime to ensure:

  • That Canada is adequately prepared for a major oil spill response; and
  • A continued refinement and improvement of the national regime.

4.3 The NAC must recognize that preparedness involves the effective management of four factors:

  • The risk of spills of various kinds and magnitudes;
  • Ensuring appropriate response;
  • Cost of the spill response system; and
  • Compliance.

4.4 The NAC, in exercising its advisory role:

  • Reviews and comments on national strategic issues and policies, including those presented by other government departments, for example Environment Canada (EC) or the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).
  • Raises and discusses issues identified by their respective RACs.
  • Considers issues of national significance related to the RAC mandate.
  • The NAC may request information on specific issues from other government departments, as well as from TC and Response Organizations (ROs). This will be done through the TCMS NAC Secretariat.
  • For issues of a national concern, provide recommendations to the TC as required.

4.5 Members of the NAC will present recommendations and potential solutions for discussion and/or action at NAC meetings.

4.6 In the event that the NAC is unable to reach consensus on a matter, members will ensure the differing views are reflected in any report.

5. NAC Membership

5.1 NAC membership consists of the President of each RAC and TCMS representation from headquarters and each region. There are six RACs, one located in Newfoundland, Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, Arctic and Pacific.

5.2 In the event that a RAC President is not available for a NAC Meeting, the Vice-President of the RAC will represent the President.

5.3 In the event that the Vice-President is not available for a NAC Meeting, the RAC members shall choose an alternate to attend on behalf of the RAC President.

5.4 NAC members may invite any appropriate representative of other government departments to participate at a NAC meeting; this will be done through the NAC Secretariat.

5.5 NAC members may request technical advice and administrative support from the Council's Secretariat.

5.6 In order for NAC Members to be effective in their role it is imperative that they become familiar with the intricacies of the Canadian oil spill preparedness and response regime, the appropriate sections of the CSA 2001, it's regulations and standards and it's implementation.

6. Reimbursement of Expenses

6.1 NAC Members or their alternates will be reimbursed, in accordance with Treasury Board directives, for travel, living and other expenses incurred in connection with their work for the NAC while absent from their ordinary place of residence as specified.

7. Role of TCMS, Environmental Response (ER), with the NAC.

7.1 ER will develop and maintain Terms of Reference and appropriate policy documents with the NAC.

7.2 ER may request that the NAC consider certain specific topics within the oil spill preparedness and response regime.

8. Role of the Secretariat

8.1 The Secretariat will ensure that NAC members have the necessary background documentation to assist them in their deliberations.

8.2 The Secretariat will provide administrative support such as:

  • Arranging meeting places for the NAC;
  • Preparing record of decisions or minutes of NAC meetings that will contain decisions taken, and follow-up actions proposed;
  • Distributing the agenda and background information to all members at least two weeks prior to a meeting;
  • Arrange and coordinate teleconferences as required;
  • Arranging for presentations and briefings to members; and
  • Keep a running log of all issues identified by the NAC.

8.3 The Secretariat in cooperation with the RAC Secretariats will assist members with their required travel in accordance with Treasury Board Travel Guidelines.

8.4 The Secretariat will strive to ensure that appropriate personnel from TC and other organizations attend meetings to provide information and advice as required.

9. NAC Meetings

9.1 Face-to-face NAC meetings will be held on an annual basis.

9.2 All NAC Members will discuss and collectively decide the venue for NAC meetings.

9.3 NAC meetings will generally take place over a one-day period; this can be extended depending on the complexity of agenda items.

9.3.1 This meeting will convene the full NAC Membership consisting of RAC Presidents and TC Representatives.

9.3.2 RAC Presidents may convene at times deemed necessary with due consideration to other meeting attendees.

9.3.3 Conference calls will be arranged when necessary.

9.4 The meeting will be co-chaired by a RAC President and a TC Representative.

9.5 RAC Presidents, may wish to elect a rotating spokesperson to act as co-chair.

9.6 The accepted agenda and timelines will be adhered to at the NAC Meetings.

9.7 All NAC members (or their representative) are expected to attend NAC Meetings.

9.8 CCG and EC will be invited to attend all NAC meetings.

9.9 RAC Members will be invited to NAC meetings when the meeting is taking place in their region, budget and space permitting. TC will pay travel expenses for one RAC representative from each region, either the President or an alternate.

10. NAC Terms of Reference

10.1 The NAC Terms of Reference may be revised as required.

10.2 A review of the Terms of Reference will take place every two years.

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