Oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast
From Transport Canada
On May 12, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48) in Parliament. If passed, this Act would provide an unprecedented level of coastal protection in northern British Columbia. The proposed moratorium supports the government’s Oceans Protection Plan, a national strategy to protect Canada’s coasts while growing the economy.
On this page
- Oil products to be covered by the moratorium
- Amending the schedule of persistent oil products
- Non-compliance and enforcement
The proposed moratorium would prohibit oil tankers from stopping, loading or unloading crude or persistent oil products in northern British Columbia. It would apply to tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil products.
The moratorium would cover the area from the Canada/United States border in the north, down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland across from the northern tip of Vancouver Island. It also includes Haida Gwaii.
It would protect the coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It would also strengthen an existing voluntary tanker exclusion zone that has been in place since 1985.
Shipments of less than 12,500 metric tonnes will continue to be allowed to ensure north coast communities and industries can receive critical shipments of heating oils and other petroleum products.
Read the community and industry resupply study for information on the 12,500 metric tonnes threshold.
Oil products to be covered by the moratorium
The moratorium would apply to the shipment of:
- crude oils as defined by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and
- related heavy oil products
A list of oil products for the moratorium is in a schedule to the proposed Act.
Examples of related oil products the moratorium would apply to:
- partially upgraded bitumen
- synthetic crude oil
- petroleum pitch
- slack wax
- Bunker C fuel oil
Examples of related oil products the moratorium would not apply to:
- liquefied natural gas
- jet fuel
Amending the schedule of persistent oil products
If the Act is put in place, amendments to the schedule could be considered following a regulatory review. The review would assess:
- the latest science and evidence of how oil products act when spilled
- innovations and technological developments in the transportation of oil, and
- the state of clean up technology
Environmental safety is the main consideration for amending the list of products covered by the moratorium.
Non-compliance and enforcement
To demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment to this moratorium, the proposed Act includes an enforcement regime.
Penalties would match the scale of a violation and could reach up to $5 million.