Our response to British Columbia’s Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement: Activities related to spill management

Table of Contents

Summary – Government of Canada Activities Related to Spill Management

Purpose

The Government of Canada makes the following submission in response to British Columbia’s Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement: Phase Two Enhancements to Spill Management in British Columbia. British Columbia does not address the robust federal safety regimes, the long-standing scientific expertise, and significant recent investments made by the Government of Canada related to spill management in its paper.

This submission outlines the full scope of federal activities in this sphere, to provide Canadians with a complete and accurate picture of spill management in Canada, and to allow a full understanding of the world-leading federal regimes that are well established, and where federal jurisdiction is clear.

Federal Systems Overview

Canada is a trading nation, and our coastlines and transportation systems are essential to the prosperity of our economy. The Government of Canada believes that Canadians want and deserve a clean environment and a strong economy. It also recognizes the importance of infrastructure development, including pipelines, to access new and growing markets for our natural resources and has been clear that this should be done in a safe and sustainable manner that protects Canada’s rich environment, respects the rights and treaties of Indigenous Peoples of Canada, and supports the competitiveness of our natural resource industries.

Canada has world-leading regimes for prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation for the transportation of petroleum and other products, as well as clear jurisdiction for interprovincial pipelines, and rail and marine transportation. The current railway, marine, and pipeline regimes are robust and continue to be advanced and improved and include comprehensive liability and compensation systems to minimize impacts on Canadians, ensure they are protected from costs and damages, and that the environment is protected.

These regimes are supported by extensive scientific research that enables evidence-based decision making. The federal government has been undertaking oil spill and response research for over 35 years, and has stepped up this scientific work over the past decade, producing over 60 peer-reviewed publications in the last 5 years alone. The Government of Canada has been a major contributor to the global body of scientific knowledge that has advanced the overall understanding of the fate and behaviour of petroleum products in ocean and fresh water, including for diluted bitumen.

Further, the Government of Canada is committed to the ongoing improvement of the federal regimes. For example, the historic investment of $1.5 billion in the national Oceans Protection Plan demonstrates the commitment to world-leading marine safety (with both prevention and response measures) and the protection of our vital coastal ecosystems, as well as further science and research investments. Similarly, the recent measures enacted under the Pipeline Safety Act and amendments to the National Energy Board Act demonstrate the commitment to world-leading pipeline safety. As does Canada’s commitment of $65 million in new funding (over five years) to support activities and priorities of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Trans Mountain Expansion project, which provides a mechanism for Indigenous communities to provide advice to federal regulators, and participate in the monitoring of the existing line, the expansion project, and the associated marine shipping.

The investments the Government of Canada has made in standards and capacity, have allowed Canada to create a world-leading safety system that provides our land and coasts with the highest level of protection from spills of petroleum and other products. On land, where gaps in the provincial system are identified, it will be essential for British Columbia to strengthen its system to better align with federal jurisdiction for interprovincial railways, the transportation of dangerous goods, and interprovincial pipelines to avoid unnecessary duplication between regimes, and, most importantly, to minimize the risk of confusion among regulated parties, responders and stakeholders which could compromise spill response and undermine public confidence.

In the marine sector, the Government of Canada has full jurisdiction and has developed a strong marine safety system that exceeds international conventions and standards in important aspects. We welcome British Columbia’s efforts where the land and water regimes interface and where the province has identified gaps in its provincial system.

It is essential that British Columbia’s proposal not impair Canada’s jurisdiction in these areas or conflict in any way with the federal regime. The Government of Canada will continue to exercise its jurisdiction for interprovincial railways, the transportation of dangerous goods, interprovincial pipelines, and the marine sector in a way that considers the benefits to Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada is unequivocal that, while British Columbia can legislate to ensure its provincial interests are addressed, any provincial regulation or legislation enacted by British Columbia needs to respect federal jurisdiction.

Oil Spill Response Science and Research

Collectively, the Government of Canada has dedicated approximately fifty scientists, technologists, chemists and engineers in four major programs to study oil spill behaviour and recovery technologies. The Government continues to be active in this space and can engage British Columbia by facilitating the dialogue and increasing their knowledge on current research findings.

The Government of Canada has been undertaking oil spill response science and research for decades, and has contributed to an extensive peer-reviewed body of knowledge related to oil spill science. Federal investments in this area have focused on increasing the collective ability to provide scientific advice for preparedness and response activities related to spilled petroleum products (both conventional and non-conventional). In 2016, the Oceans Protection Plan strengthened these investment further, through science and research on improving the security of transport of oil products, spill recovery and responses, and by focusing research on the fate, behaviour and effects of various oil products in different spill conditions and under extreme Canadian climates.

Since 2012, the Government of Canada has been conducting studies to determine the fate, behaviour, potential impacts, and effectiveness of response techniques on a variety of heavy oil products. We continue to increase our investments in science and research initiatives aimed at improving the safe transport of oil products, spill recovery, and response. In particular, research on the behaviour of diluted bitumen expanded substantially, and this work is continuing with further investments under the Oceans Protection Plan. This research has ranged from lab-scale and pilot-scale tests of oil spill behaviour to field trials and evaluations of response technology. Findings have shown that diluted bitumen behaviour falls within the range of conventional oil products and so conventional mechanical recovery methods have been found effective, especially in the initial stages of a spill.

It is important that spill responders have the information needed to predict the evolution of the spill, determine the best response plan, and be equipped with effective spill response technologies. Lastly, they need to understand the impacts on the environment in order to focus longer-term environmental remediation efforts. The research, in progress since 2013, is addressing these needs.

Federal scientists have published or presented over sixty papers on diluted bitumen science in peer-reviewed fora since 2012. They have informed decisions for major projects, such as oil transportation via oil tankers, pipelines and rail. Research undertaken by federal government scientists has improved our understanding of the fate and behaviour of a number of diluted bitumen products should they spill into marine or fresh waters. This research has contributed to an increased understanding of issues such as the physical and chemical properties of fresh and weathered diluted bitumen, interactions with sediments and shoreline materials, the applicability of certain countermeasures to respond to diluted bitumen spills as well as shoreline characterization and penetration and retention of diluted bitumen on shorelines.

Additionally, a synthesis of the Knowledge of the Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen in Aquatic Ecosystems has recently been undertaken through Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s scientific peer review process, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/index-eng.htm). This document provides an analysis of the state of the science in this area.

Most importantly, through this ongoing work, we can improve our predictions of the fate and behaviour of spilled petroleum products (both conventional and non-conventional), and better understand the effectiveness of specific response tools. Based on current scientific evidence and limited real-world spill experience, diluted bitumen behaves similarly to conventional crude oils; it will float initially for several days depending on environmental conditions. This knowledge, coupled with hydrodynamic models, can help predict what can happen to the oil when spilled, thereby informing oil spill contingency planning, environmental assessments and monitoring. This knowledge is also used by spill response personnel to place equipment strategically to protect vulnerable shorelines and to guide responders in determining the best response plans and most effective spill response technologies.

More information is provided in Chapter 1 – Oil Spill Response Science and Research and accompanying Annex – Understanding Spills of Diluted Bitumen into Aqueous Environments

Federal Regimes Related to Prevention and Response

The Railway Safety Act, the Pipeline Safety Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Marine Liability Act, the Fisheries Act, as well as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, establish a comprehensive world-leading federal regime in Canada related to the transportation of petroleum and other products.

The highest safety and security standards are in place in all modes of transportation to prevent incidents and accidents, while enabling rapid, science-based planning and response actions in the unlikely event of a spill.

This robust federal system is built on the “polluter pays” principle, whereby the industry transporting the product is responsible for costs related to cleanup and pollution damage. Further, a world-leading suite of liability and compensation measures is in place, addressing activities under federal jurisdiction and protecting Canadians from damages and costs associated with spills.

Marine Sector

The Government of Canada has established a national ship-source oil spill regime comprised of three key areas: prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation. This world-leading regime has its foundation in international obligations and is built on international and domestic cooperation and standards. Transport Canada is the regulator responsible for ensuring the regime is comprehensive and aligned with other transportation regimes across the country and internationally. The Canadian Coast Guard is the on-water operator to ensure responses to marine incidents are effective, efficient and appropriate. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada provide the scientific expertise to support the system. Through new legislation and major investments, such as the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is dramatically strengthening this already robust regime.

The more than 100 regulations, 30 acts and international agreements and commitments that make up Canada’s marine safety regime, are first and foremost focused on preventing accidents from occurring. Canada’s robust inspection and oversight regime, as well as clearly defined compulsory marine pilotage areas, that ensure Canadian pilots familiar with local waters and appropriate travelling speeds are onboard transiting vessels, are ways in which the federal regime keeps marine incidents from occurring.

Canada also has clear requirements related to response planning. Ship-owners are required to have plans in place which detail their response efforts should an on-water spill occur and are also responsible for having agreements with a certified Response Organization who provide oil spill response services on behalf of the polluter. These plans, certified by Transport Canada, include the identification of their Geographic Area of Response, and the response capacity.

The Canadian Coast Guard provides oversight of every marine incident. Should the polluter be unable, unwilling or unknown, the Canadian Coast Guard through its robust Environmental Response and Incident Management regimes, will assume command of the situation and manage effectively and efficiently to ensure an appropriate response to the incident. The Government of Canada is investing in the Canadian Coast Guard with the Oceans Protection Plan to further enhance our ability to respond to oil spills. This includes adding two new emergency towing vessels in the West Coast, building four new lifeboat stations in the West Coast, buying state-of-the-art equipment, and training more people to protect British Columbia’s coastline.

Similar to the other systems in Canada, the ship-source oil spill response system is built on the “polluter pays” principle making polluters responsible for spills in Canadian waters and ensuring they have the resources in place to cover their obligations. The Government of Canada continues to make improvements to the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund to ensure unlimited industry-funded compensation is made available to those affected by ship-source and mystery-source spills. This ensures maximum financial protection for taxpayers and makes it one of the most robust and comprehensive systems in the world.

More information is provided in Chapter 2 – Marine Regime Related to Spill Management.

Railways and Surface Transportation

Under the Railway Safety Act, railway companies are responsible for the safety of their rail line infrastructure, railway equipment, and operations. This includes ongoing inspections, testing, and maintenance programs in accordance with regulatory requirements, as well as any particular operating and environmental conditions.

Transport Canada’s role is to monitor railway companies for compliance with rules, regulations, and standards through audits and safety inspections. The department conducts approximately 33,000 oversight activities, including audits and inspections every year.

The Government of Canada has made significant and dramatic improvements to the regime in recent years, notably since Lac-Mégantic. Taking concrete steps to strengthen the rail safety regime in Canada through regulatory and legislative reform, including increasing the amount of inspections; lowering speed limits on trains transporting dangerous goods through municipalities; implementing requirements which provide municipalities with information about dangerous goods travelling through their communities; introducing new rules on train securement; new tank car regulations; and, providing the Minister of Transport and inspectors new powers to order railway companies to take corrective measures when safety is found to be an issue.

Canada’s rail liability and compensation regime is already robust, and establishes important measures such as minimum levels of insurance for rail operators, up to $1B for railways carrying substantial amounts of specified dangerous goods, whereas there is no third-party liability insurance requirement for provincial railways in British-Columbia. This world leading regime is supplemented by the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods which has no limits.

In addition to railway safety, the Government of Canada has a robust compliance and response program that requires dangerous goods to be properly classified and transported in the appropriate means of containment. The program sets out the parameters for Emergency Response Assistance Plans for anyone transporting or importing dangerous goods in a quantity or concentration that is specified by regulation, which includes petroleum and other products. The Government of Canada continues to work to strengthen its oversight and preparedness program for dangerous goods, including through recent regulatory amendments.

More information is provided in Chapter 3 – Railways and Transportation Regime Related to Spill Management.

Pipelines

Canada now has one of the most rigorous and effective pipeline safety systems in the world. Pipelines are the safest means of transporting all oil types, including conventional and non-conventional. While our primary objective is incident prevention, we have also established a world leading preparedness and response system and a comprehensive liability and compensation regime to ensure that Canadians are protected from costs and damages and that the environment is protected in the event of a spill. Many of these measures were introduced as part of the Pipeline Safety Act which holds industry to among the highest standards.

Creating a culture focused on safety and prevention of incidents is paramount. We have updated and strengthened rules relating to activities around pipelines to prevent incidents; implemented Administrative Monetary Penalties; and, made public information on the use of best available technologies in pipeline construction and operations.

On preparedness and response, we have set out clear and comprehensive regulatory requirements supported by rigorous regulatory oversight. Companies must have a comprehensive Emergency Management Program in place that includes consideration of potential effects on any potentially impacted area (e.g., marine and freshwater environments). The National Energy Board can also establish requirements for a Geographic Response Plan. Companies must involve local communities, including Indigenous communities and first responders in planning and operations.

The Pipeline Safety Act enshrines the “polluter pays” principle in law so that polluters, not Canadian taxpayers, are financially responsible for the costs and damages they cause. Companies are responsible for all actual losses or damages incurred by any person; costs incurred by government (federal or provincial) or any Indigenous governing body; as well as costs associated with the loss of non-use values which consists of public resources such as a national park or eco-system.

In addition, federally-regulated pipeline companies will be automatically responsible, up to set limits, no matter who or what causes an incident. For operators of major oil pipelines, this is set at $1 billion (limits for other companies to be set out in regulations). This means no determination of fault or negligence is required before action is taken to respond to a spill. Companies must also prove they have the financial resources to match their liability. In an exceptional circumstance where a company is unable or unwilling to respond to an incident, the National Energy Board would have the authority to take over control if the Governor in Council agrees. Any costs would be 100% cost-recovered from industry.

A concrete demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to safe and secure pipeline operations is federal approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project that was subject to over 150 conditions. For example, Trans Mountain is required to consider response times and geographic response plans; to file updates to its Emergency Management Program; to file an Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise and Training Program; and, to complete a full-scale emergency response exercise for specific scenarios. The National Energy Board’s exercise evaluations will be made publically available on its website.

More information is provided in Chapter 4 – Pipeline Regime Related to Spill Management.

The Government of Canada takes its responsibilities seriously to ensure a strong economy and a clean environment go hand-in-hand for the benefit of all Canadians. Canada is internationally recognized as a sound place to invest, and getting our resources to global markets is critical for creating good middle-class jobs. We stand by our commitments to British Columbians and all Canadians to protect the environment and our coasts through our world-leading regimes and to improve them by implementing further world-leading measures. The prevention, preparedness, response, liability and compensation measures that we have advanced ensure that Canada maintains the highest safety and security standards in all modes of transportation.

Chapter 1 – Oil Spill Response Science and Research

The Government of Canada has several ongoing science and research initiatives related to oil spill preparedness and response. This includes increasing the investment in improving the security of the transport of oil products, spill recovery and responses, by focusing research on the fate, behaviour and effects of various oil products in different spill conditions and under extreme Canadian climates.

Through a $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan the Government of Canada is putting in place the resources, processes, and training regimes to reduce the potential for an oil spill to occur along our coastlines. However, in the unlikely event of a spill, it is important to have in place the spill response protocols and technologies needed to respond quickly and effectively. This investment is extending the investment in managing oil spills that began in 2012.

The Government recognizes the importance of ensuring spill responders have the information needed to predict the trajectory of a spill, determine the best response plans and actions, and be equipped with the best spill response technologies and equipment. It is important to understand the impacts on the environment in order to focus longer-term environmental remediation efforts. Researchers in federal departments are carrying out studies to determine the fate, behaviour, and potential impacts of spilled oil, both conventional and non-conventional, bringing their unique expertise and resources to different aspects of the issue.

Since 2012, our understanding has greatly improved related to the fate and behaviour of a number of diluted bitumen products should they spill into marine and fresh waters (Annex A – Understanding Spills of Diluted Bitumen into Aqueous Environments). This knowledge includes: physical and chemical properties of fresh and weathered diluted bitumen, interactions with sediments and shoreline materials, and how this changes as the diluted bitumen weathers. Additionally, we are better able to predict the fate, behaviour and biological effects of spilled diluted bitumen, utilizing this new knowledge and employing enhanced meteorological and hydrodynamic data in improved spill models.

Additionally, our findings have shown that diluted bitumen behaviour falls within the range of conventional oil products and so conventional mechanical methods have been found effective, especially in the initial stages of a spill. We are continuing to study both the impacts of a spill of diluted bitumen on biota, as well as mapping the baseline ecological state of the coastal ecosystems that could be affected by an oil spill. For example, we are conducting baseline studies of ecosystems along British Columbia’s northern coast. These studies can be used for a range of activities, including to identify more fragile ecosystems on which regional response plans could focus.

A synthesis of the Knowledge of the Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen in Aquatic Ecosystems has recently been undertaken through Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s scientific peer review process, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/index-eng.htm). This process brought together federal scientists and external experts to summarize the state of knowledge in this field and can be used to further direct future research efforts.

  1. Oil Spill Behaviour Science

    Since 2012, significant research has been conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Natural Resources Canada to better understand the fate, behaviour and effects of diluted bitumen spills.

    Federal scientists, in collaboration with colleagues in other levels of government, academia, and the private sector, have made considerable progress, publishing more than 60 peer-reviewed papers or conference presentations. In addition, there are 30+ additional peer-reviewed papers published by external organizations. These studies on the fate and behaviour of spill hazardous materials including oil and related petroleum spills provide information and data that informs oil spill emergency responders, regulators, academics, environmental non-governmental organizations, Canadians and Indigenous Peoples.

    For example, over the past four decades, Environment and Climate Change Canada has built one of the world’s leading oil spill research programs. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Emergencies Science and Technology Section has extensive experience and expertise in the study of oil fate and behaviour, physical/chemical properties, petroleum forensics, spill countermeasures, field response, and oil spill modelling.

    The Open Government data portal is one of the mechanisms being used to provide access to the data resulting from studies conducted by federal government scientists.

    Two examples of these data are:

    Physiochemical properties of petroleum products database; https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/53c38f91-35c8-49a6-a437-b311703db8c5

    Shoreline classification data including that for the Northern British Columbia Coastline is included in the links below. Additional information and supplementary data including videos and photographs will be added shortly.

    Environment and Climate Change Canada hosts the annual Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response as a platform to discuss spill related issues including diluted bitumen. The 41st Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program Technical Seminar will take place in Victoria, British Columbia in October 2018 to highlight the importance the government places on public concerns and facilitate dialogue.

  2. Oil Spill Response Technology

    The Government of Canada is committed to ongoing science work related to hydrocarbons and spill response. This includes increasing investments in improving spill response technologies.

    This commitment includes $5M of funding from Natural Resources Canada of external technology development under the Oil Spill Response Science Program. These projects are focused on improving recovery technologies and processes for the clean-up of heavy oil products spilled in marine environments. These projects, undertaken in collaboration with academia, industry and oil spill responders, will help build more solutions into this space.

    Through the Oil Spill Response Science Program, Natural Resources Canada has provided funding of more than $925,000 to BC Research Inc. in Richmond, British Columbia. BC Research Inc. is partnering with NORAM Engineers and Constructors and the University of British Columbia to accelerate the development of a hybrid spill-treating agent as a rapid response agent to combat large-scale marine oil spills.

    More recently, one of the initiatives under the Oceans Protection Plan being led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, will focus on a study of alternative oil spill response measures, through a $45M multi-partner research initiative. This initiative is aimed at addressing knowledge gaps in oil spill research that will bring together a national/international network of scientists from:

    • Academia;
    • Industry; and,
    • Other government agencies.

    The deliverables from this program will support the consideration and potential use of additional tools for emergency spill response. The program will also enhance the level of science-based decision making in oil spill response operations based on a determination of net environmental benefit in order to reduce, eliminate and/or mitigate impacts to aquatic environments and their living resources.

  3. Dangerous Goods

    Transport Canada is conducting scientific research related to the transport of petroleum crude oil. Collaborating with such industries as the Canadian Crude Quality Technical Association, Transport Canada is studying crude oil variability in flammability and its risks during transport, as well as developing a field tester to measure hydrogen sulfide gas concentration that may evolve in the vapour space of a petroleum crude oil container.

    Transport Canada is conducting numerous research projects to improve the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods. Some projects include assessing the behaviour of crude oil in various conditions and containers, investigating tank car steels, and the modelling of a cryogenic UN Portable Tank during fire testing.

  4. Support to Emergency Response

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides support to the emergency response regime through leadership, scientific expertise and facilitates the consideration of effect oil spills have on Canada’s coastal, marine, and estuarine ecosystems. Fisheries and Oceans Canada enhances knowledge for science-based decision making in oil spill response operations through several initiatives, including:

    • Scientific advice offered through the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat peer reviewed process;
    • Environmental Incident Coordinator Program;
    • Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research;
    • National Contaminants Advisory Group;
    • Multi-Partner Oil Spill Research Initiative and Alternative Response Measures; and
    • Coastal Environmental Baseline Program.

    The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat coordinates the development of peer reviewed science advice for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Recently, peer reviewed science advice has been developed and continues to be improved on a number of important topics, for example:

    • Identifying how shipping activities may potentially impact the marine and freshwater environment by examining the activities that are involved, the type of cause-effect relationships that are known to exist; and the mechanisms that ultimately lead to effects in the aquatic environment. Each pathway represents an area where mitigation measures can be applied to reduce or eliminate a potential effect including in prevention and response.
    • Improving our understanding of vulnerable ecosystems and fate and effects of oil products. This includes an overview of oil properties and effects to aquatic biota, the development of a framework to assess vulnerability of biological components to oil spills in the marine environment, identifying research requirements for the biological effects of oil and gas in the marine environment, and identification and re-assessment of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas and Ecologically Significant Species.

    The Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan is investing additional resources for increased capacity to provide more comprehensive support to the marine emergency response regime, including for planning and preparedness through to recovery and restoration.

    Specifically, the Environmental Incident Coordinator Program has been established to enhance Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s participation in the existing marine emergency response regime. Environmental Incident Coordinators:

    • Support a well-informed planning and preparedness regime;
    • Participate in response exercises to test and train responders;
    • Provide technical expertise and support to responders;
    • Facilitate the provision of scientific advice during a response; and,
    • Relay information back to Fisheries and Oceans Canada regionally as well as with national counterparts to continue to inform and improve on the response process.

    The Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research performs collaborative research to support evidence-based decision making, including: predicting the fate, behaviour and interaction of petroleum products in the environment; and testing various techniques to mitigate the impacts of oil spills on ecosystems.

    The National Contaminants Advisory Group engages with experts from various sectors to better understand the biological effects of oil and gas contaminants and the use of countermeasures for oil spills on aquatic organisms and resources.

    Under the Government of Canada’s Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, two pilot sites in the Province of British Columbia (Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert) have been identified for the collection of new data to characterize the ecosystem and develop a baseline of information that may be used to inform decision-making, including a cumulative effects of marine shipping framework and other assessments. This work is being developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and coastal communities.

    Chapter 2 – Marine Regime Related to Spill Management

    The Government of Canada is accountable to Canadians to ensure that the public interest is being protected in the event of a marine pollution incident. Canada’s ship-source oil spill prevention, preparedness, response, and liability and compensation regime is already well established.

    This robust regime is primarily administered by Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, while Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Natural Resources Canada provide scientific expertise to support the system.

    This regime has been highly effective in responding to marine pollution incidents in all regions of Canada and utilizes a collaborative approach for marine pollution response that includes federal, provincial, municipal, Indigenous Peoples, and private sector partners to ensure an appropriate response.

    Canada’s marine regulatory regime is built on international and domestic cooperation, and is supported by more than 100 regulations enabled by almost 30 Acts as well as international agreements and commitments. Canada has been a member of the International Maritime Organization1 since 1948 and is a signatory to agreements which establish standards and best practices for prevention, preparedness, response, compensation, and cooperation. Implementation of our national ship-source oil spill preparedness and response regime is guided by these standards and we work closely with international partners, both in planning and during operations.

    The regime sets the guidelines and regulatory structure for the preparedness and response to marine oil spills and ensures that industry is prepared for and responds to spills in Canadian waters. For example, prescribed vessels and oil handling facilities, must have an arrangement with a Transport Canada certified Response Organization that would respond to a spill on the polluter’s behalf. There are four Response Organizations in Canada that service Canadian waters south of the 60th parallel and are certified every three years by Transport Canada. Response Organizations maintain strategically located response equipment, trained responders, response plans and conduct exercises on a regular basis.

    Finally, the ship-source oil spill preparedness and response regime is based on the “polluter pays” principle, whereby the polluter is responsible for costs related to cleanup and pollution damage. This principle is implemented in Canadian law, with the intent to establish uniform rules that are consistent with international law and that balance the interests of ship-owners and other parties involved in a maritime accident.

    1. International Framework

    Canada is a leading member of the International Maritime Organization. Recent investments through the Oceans Protection Plan have reinvested in Transport Canada’s international engagement capacity to ensure that Canada remains a present and reliable partner, able to nurture and leverage international partnerships in support of Canadian interests and priorities.

    The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ratified by Canada in 2003, provides a global framework for the oceans to protect the marine environment, delimit ocean boundaries, and establish navigation rights and responsibilities. In addition to this convention, there are a number of other international conventions under the International Maritime Organization that have been ratified and implemented domestically, these include:

    • The International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea, 1974, and the Protocol of 1988 relating to the Convention (SOLAS) that sets out how a vessel is constructed, the safety equipment required on board and establishes security requirements.
    • The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers that sets out the competencies of a vessel’s crew.
    • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (MARPOL) that sets limits on a vessel’s operational discharges and sets detailed technical standards for
      • Carrying and handling oil;
      • Carrying and handling noxious liquid substances in bulk;
      • Carrying packaged dangerous goods;
      • Managing vessel sewage discharges, garbage and air emissions.
    • The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, (OPRC), 1990 provides a framework for dealing with pollution incidents, including oil pollution, either nationally or in co-operation with other countries; and
    • Other international agreements on liability and compensation for oil spills.

    2. Marine Safety and Incident Prevention

    The marine international framework underlies Canada’s marine safety regime and plays an important role in the prevention of incidents. In order to implement this framework domestically and to ensure safe shipping in Canada, Transport Canada undertakes a number of activities related to the prevention of marine safety incidents and ship-source oil spills, such as developing laws and regulations and monitoring and enforcement.

    The primary legislation that governs marine safety in Canada is the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. The Act protects the health and wellbeing of people and the environment, regulates marine transportation and provides authority to investigate and, if necessary, to prosecute. Other important marine legislation includes: the Oceans Act, the Pilotage Act; the Canada Marine Act; the Marine Liability Act; the Marine Transportation Security Act; the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act; the Navigation Protection Act; and the Coasting Trade Act.

    The marine safety system is designed to prevent incidents from happening. This is achieved by establishing regulations, enacting vessel construction standards, conducting ship and equipment inspections, and establishing requirements for the competency of crews. As an example related to construction standards, Transport Canada ensures that oil barges and tankers meet the double hull construction standards. This means that the bottom and sides of tankers have two complete layers of watertight hull surface, which helps maintain a vessel's watertight integrity if the outer hull is damaged and therefore reduces the likelihood of spills.

    Ultimately, ship owners and the marine transportation industry are responsible for preventing oil spills under Canadian law and its supporting regulations. For example, the marine transportation industry must put in place procedures for safe operations onboard their ships, follow international rules for preventing collisions at sea, have up-to-date nautical charts, have a passage plan for each trip, be equipped with technology that allows Canada to monitor the ship’s progress, and ensure that their officers and crews are properly trained, qualified, and competent.

    This regulatory approach is supported by a number of federal programs intended to support the marine transportation industry, provide safe navigation, and prevent incidents. For example, the Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres provide distress and safety call monitoring and coordinate responses, broadcast maritime safety information (weather and navigational warnings), screen vessels entering Canadian waters, deliver information and advice to regulate marine traffic movement, and take appropriate action to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vessels in Canadian waters. In terms of preventing pollution, the National Aerial Surveillance Program has significantly contributed to the decrease in oil discharges in Canadian waters and runs frequent surveillance patrols.

    All vessels, including tankers, must follow routing and reporting procedures on Canada’s coasts. Tankers must also observe any bans and other navigation restrictions and are encouraged to observe voluntary exclusion zones. These requirements help to keep our coasts clean and safe. In addition to these prevention measures, the Pilotage Act establishes Pilotage Authorities, which among other things, establish compulsory pilotage areas. In these areas, large vessels of certain types, including tankers, must take certified or licenced pilots on board. These pilots have expertise in navigation, the handling characteristics of the vessels they are guiding, as well as expertise in navigating the local waterways.

    3. Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime

    Described as a public-private partnership, the Government of Canada provides the legislative and regulatory framework, including oversight of preparedness and response actions both before and during a spill, while industry bears the responsibility for funding, responding to, and cleaning up ship-source oil spills.

    Transport Canada is the lead regulatory department that manages and governs Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime. The regime is designed to ensure that Canada maintains a robust level of preparedness and capacity to respond efficiently to a spill along any of its three coastlines, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and select inland waters.

    Transport Canada’s marine safety programs provide Canadians with a safe and efficient marine transportation system worthy of public confidence. The department administers a number of acts and regulations related to shipping and navigation and assists with the administration of many others. Given the international nature of marine trade, Canada’s domestic regime is founded on international conventions, standards, and practices. Transport Canada:

    • Provides regime management and oversight through the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and associated regulations and standards;
    • Certifies Response Organizations;
    • Reviews Oil Handling Facilities emergency and preparedness plans for compliance with regulatory requirements;
    • Applies and enforces regulations relating to Response Organizations, such as Western Canada Marine Response Corporation;
    • Applies and enforces regulations relating to Oil Handling Facilities;
    • Oversees an appropriate level of national preparedness;
    • Deters potential polluters and monitors marine oil spills through the National Aerial Surveillance Program2;
    • Inspects all tankers of 150 tonnes or more and ships of 400 gross tonnes or more that carry oil as fuel or cargo to ensure they have shipboard oil pollution emergency plans and an arrangement with a Response Organization; and
    • Enforces strict requirements for reporting pollution.

    The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has the authority and mandate to take command of pollution response incidents under the Oceans Act, and through the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. The Canadian Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for marine pollution response and through its Environmental Response program is responsible for ensuring the cleanup of ship-source and mystery-source spills of oil and all other pollutants into Canadian waters and with Canada’s exclusive economic zone.

    In the event of a ship or oil handling facility incident, the polluter must report the incident as required under the regulations of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. The polluter would appoint an on-scene commander, or if the polluter is unwilling or unknown, the Canadian Coast Guard will assume command and manage the incident as required.

    Response actions for the marine environment under the current federal regime are comprehensive, integrated and well understood by responders operating under the Incident Command System methodology. As the lead agency for the federal government in response to marine pollution, the Canadian Coast Guard has the mechanisms to leverage an Incident Command System as Incident Commander for response within Canadian Coast Guard’s mandate, or a Unified Command structure that integrates key parties, including the polluter, Indigenous Nations and provincial and territorial governments when appropriate and when required.

    The Canadian Coast Guard has the authority and jurisdiction to respond to marine pollution events, and to take command of a response if necessary if the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond appropriately.

    Should the polluter be unable, unwilling or unknown, the Canadian Coast Guard is ready and well positioned to work with industry response organizations and deploy its own strategically located vessels, equipment, and highly trained personnel to protect the marine environment. The Government of Canada is investing in the Canadian Coast Guard through the Oceans Protection Plan to further enhance our ability to respond to oil spills.

    Greater Vancouver Integrated Response Plan

    The Greater Vancouver Integrated Response Plan for Marine Pollution Incidents is designed to serve as the guide for multi-agency on-water response to serious oil pollution events in the area of English Bay and Burrard Inlet, and reiterates that the Canadian Coast Guard is the lead federal agency to oversee the management of marine pollution spills. It is the product of an impressive cooperative effort by Federal Departments, First Nations, Provincial Ministries, Municipalities, the Port Authority, industry (including the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation), and non-governmental organizations, such as the Vancouver Aquarium. This Plan focuses on ship-source and mystery-source spills of liquid petroleum in the marine environment as covered under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

    Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan

    The Canadian Coast Guard works collaboratively with the United States Coast Guard through the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, which provides non-binding guidance for coordinating preparedness and response operations. This collaboration demonstrates the value and importance the coast guards bring to emergency planning, preparedness and response. The Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan has five geographic annexes which are under the oversight and responsibility of the respective Canadian Coast Guard Regional Director and United States Coast Guard District Commanders. British Columbia is covered by two separate annexes: CANUSPAC for the Pacific Coast, and CANUSDIX for the Dixon Entrance.

    The Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan is reviewed annually and updated every five years or as necessary.

    North Pacific Coast Guard Forum

    The North Pacific Coast Guard Forum was founded in 2000 by Japan and Canada became a full member in 2001. The purpose of the forum is to facilitate multi-lateral cooperation of the member states on matters related to maritime safety and security in the marine environment of the North Pacific Ocean by sharing best practices, exchanging information, and staging on-water exercises. The forum is comprised of officials from maritime safety and security agencies of: Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. It has seven working groups: combatting illegal trafficking, combined operations, emergency response, fisheries enforcement, information exchange, maritime security and the secretariat. Canada chairs the fisheries enforcement working group and the Canadian Coast Guard leads the Canadian delegation which also consists of federal representatives from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Conservation and Protection, the Canada Border Services Agency, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    4. Response Organizations

    Canada’s Response Organizations are private entities established and funded by industry to respond to ship-source oil spills. Transport Canada issues a certificate of designation3 to Response Organizations every three years based on a review of their plan to prepare and respond to spills of up to 10,000 tonnes within prescribed time standards and operating environments4. The Response Organizations are industry funded through a series of fees – an annual sum paid by vessels and Oil Handling Facilities – and a bulk oil cargo fee that is levied on vessels that carry oil as cargo.

    To operate in Canadian waters south of the 60th parallel, prescribed vessels and Oil Handling Facilities of a prescribed class must have an arrangement in place with a certified Response Organization. This arrangement ensures a response in the event of a spill. Select inland waterways, as prescribed by each Response Organization’s geographic area of response, are also covered by the regime. Along with an arrangement with a Response Organization, prescribed vessels are required to have a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan on board, official confirmation of an arrangement with a certified Response Organization, and a declaration identifying every individual authorized to invoke both the arrangement and the pollution emergency plan. Transport Canada’s inspectors inspect foreign vessels on a risk basis for compliance with a wide range of safety requirements, including the requirement to have an arrangement with a Response Organization.

    The requirement for a pollution emergency plan and arrangement with a Response Organization also applies to prescribed Oil Handling Facilities5. In addition, they must have on-site equipment to be ready to respond to an incident, as well as declaration describing the way in which the operator complies with the regulatory requirement and identifies every individual authorized to invoke both the arrangement and the oil pollution emergency plan. Transport Canada inspects these facilities to ensure that the required arrangements and plans are on site and in compliance with regulatory requirements.

    5. Protecting Marine Environments

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides leadership and facilitates the development and implementation of plans for the integrated management of activities and for measures that affect Canada’s coastal, marine, and estuarine ecosystems. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans administers the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and the Species at Risk Act and has program activities focus on:

    • Conserving and protecting Canada’s oceans and other aquatic ecosystems and species;
    • Managing Canada’s fisheries, Indigenous fishery programs, and aquaculture activities sustainably; and
    • Protection and recovery of aquatic species at risk.

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada ensures that federal and departmental policies, programs, and regulations with aquatic resource implications are informed by scientific and technical information. In support of the various emergency-response related Government of Canada initiatives, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing science advice, products and collaborations associated with spill response planning efforts including – environmental data, spatial data on species and habitats vulnerable to oil, data management, advice and input for spill trajectories, near shore hydrography and charting, tidal gauges, Indigenous partnerships, academic collaborations, and supporting engagement.

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Coastal Environmental Baseline Program will engage Indigenous and coastal communities to gather baseline environmental data on current environmental conditions, to better detect changes in the environment and improve our understanding of the effects of human activities on the marine environment over time. This program will also address data deficiencies and availability for environmental conditions in selected coastal areas, inform ecosystem characterization, and support evidence-based decisions concerning impacts to sensitive marine habitat and species. The project outcome is also expected to contribute to the overall spill response planning effort greatly.

    Environment and Climate Change Canada also plays an important role in the protection of marine environments, and administers and enforces federal environmental legislation, such as the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; and the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act.

    The Fisheries Act requires responsible parties to notify the designated authorities of a real or potential pollution release in contravention of the Act and to take appropriate response measures. The Deposit Out of the Normal Course of Events Notifications Regulations ensure alignment of emergency reporting requirements stemming from the Fisheries Act and the regulations made under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. These regulations also ensure coordination of reporting requirements with provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada, including British Columbia.

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s main role in emergencies is to provide partners with timely and informed science-based advice to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from environmental emergencies. The National Environmental Emergencies Centre is available 24/7 and can provide advice on topics such as:

    • Site-specific weather forecasting;
    • Spill trajectory modelling;
    • Fate and behaviour of hazardous substances;
    • Environmental sensitivity mapping;
    • Establishment of clean-up priorities;
    • Shoreline clean-up assessment techniques; and
    • Advice on the protection of sensitive ecosystems and wildlife (e.g., migratory birds).

    During the response to an environmental emergency, Environment and Climate Change Canada can convene a ‘’Science Table‘’ involving experts and stakeholders from all levels of government, Indigenous representatives, local communities, industries, and academics to provide consolidated scientific and technical advice to the agencies leading the response. Environment and Climate Change Canada has provided science and technical support in response to incidents in British Columbia on numerous occasions.

    6. Oceans Protection Plan

    In November 2016, the Government of Canada announced the Oceans Protection Plan, a $1.5 billion investment to further improve marine safety and responsible shipping, protect Canada's marine environment, and offer new possibilities for Indigenous and coastal communities. This plan represents the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s marine environment and includes many initiatives and programs that will continue to improve on Canada’s already strong marine safety and spill management systems.

    Among others, these initiatives and programs include:

    • Four new lifeboat stations which will be opened in strategic locations along British Columbia’s coast to improve response capacity for marine incidents and increase coverage to keep mariners and the environment safe. The new stations in British Columbia will be located in the areas of Victoria, Hartley Bay, Port Renfrew, and Nootka;
    • Regional Response Planning pilot project in Northern British Columbia and the development of a risk-based planning approach. Regional Response Planning is a holistic, risk-based approach to environmental response planning that takes into account unique regional, ecological, geological, and socio-economic factors;
    • Tougher requirements on industry to provide quicker action for any spills from a ship. To improve industry’s preparedness for oil spills, Transport Canada is reviewing the existing requirements for the industry-funded Response Organizations that provide spill response services in Canada. This review, which will include broad engagement, could result in amendments to time standards for responding to ship-source oil spills;
    • Enhanced emergency response capacity for Environment and Climate Change Canada by adding new environmental emergency officers on the Pacific (Vancouver) and Atlantic coasts, additional enforcement officers in British Columbia, additional wildlife biologists, and providing 24/7 oil spill modelling capacity;
    • Increase in the Canadian Coast Guard’s emergency towing capacity by acquiring and installing rapidly-deployable emergency towing kits to help vessels in distress and to avoid potential groundings and oil spills; engaging Indigenous Nations and industry to complete a towing needs assessment on the west coast of Canada to identify risks and potential mitigation solutions; and leasing two emergency towing vessels capable of towing large vessels in distress on the west coast;
    • Providing training in search and rescue, environmental response, and incident management to Indigenous Nations in British Columbia. Two training sessions were already completed in Bamfield, British Columbia, the first in October 2017 and a second in February 2018;
    • Giving greater power to the Canadian Coast Guard to intervene directly to prevent marine incidents such as where ship operators have been reluctant to act; and
    • Undertaking engagement and policy analysis to inform a proposal for a seamless, integrated response regime that goes beyond ship-source oil pollution and includes all marine pollution from all sources.

    7. Liability and Compensation

    The Marine Liability Act is the principal legislation dealing with liability and compensation in the event of pollution damage from a ship. Its intent is to establish uniform rules that are consistent with international law and that balance the interests of ship-owners and other parties involved in a maritime accident.

    The Marine Liability Act is based on the polluter-pays principle and there are various tiers of compensation available from multiple sources. The Marine Liability Act incorporates both international conventions to which Canada is party, and domestic compensation provisions, and provides for various levels of liability, depending on the type of oil causing the pollution damage and the type of vessel involved in an incident.

    The fundamental principles underlying the liability and compensation regime are:

    • Consistent international rules given marine shipping’s global nature;
    • Sharing the financial burden of compensation between ship-owners and cargo owners;
    • Compensation is provided for reasonable and justifiable costs and losses that are proportionate to the pollution or threat thereof;
    • Compensation is provided to quantifiable and actual costs and losses incurred with a direct link of causation to the pollution;
    • Equal treatment of all claimants; and,
    • Prompt and adequate compensation for all claimants.

    Generally, ship-owners are strictly liable for costs, losses or damage related to a discharge or threat of discharge from their ship. The international marine community has adopted a number of conventions at the International Maritime Organization that govern ship-owner liability and that create international compensation funds. Canada is party to four international conventions that are implemented in the Marine Liability Act:

    • International Convention of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992. Which establishes strict liability for the ship-owner, compulsory insurance, and limits to the ship-owner’s liability. There are 137 state parties to this convention.
    • International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992. Which creates an international compensation fund (the 1992 Fund) to provide compensation above and beyond the ship-owner’s liability. There are 115 state parties to this convention.
    • Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992. Which creates an optional Supplementary Fund for compensation in addition to the ship-owner’s liability and the 1992 Fund. There are 31 state parties to this protocol.
    • International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (Bunkers Convention). Which establishes strict liability for the ship-owner, compulsory insurance certified by state parties and limits to the ship-owner’s liability. There are 88 state parties to this Convention.

    The ship-owner is always held first and foremost strictly liable, with no need to prove fault or negligence. This liability is limited in accordance with the tonnage of the tanker involved in the incident (maximum of approximately $165 million) with compulsory insurance for the ship-owner to cover their liability.

    The international compensation funds provide compensation in the case when the ship-owner is not liable, unable to meet their liability or the damage surpasses their limit of liability. The total amount of compensation available for a tanker spill is $1.35 billion for a single incident (inclusive of the ship-owner’s liability).

    Canada’s domestic Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund was established in 1973 as the first domestic fund in the world providing additional coverage for oil spills. The Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund provides compensation for all types of oil from all types of ships in Canada. The Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund also covers marine mystery spills (i.e., spill from an unidentified source). The Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund was originally constituted by levies imposed on oil receivers and shippers in Canada. The Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund has since grown as a result of monthly interest payments to approximately $409 million as of April 1, 2017. The current per-incident limit of liability of the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund is approximately $171 million (adjusted annually for inflation), when added to the total coverage, it translates into approximately $1.5B for a spill involving a tanker.

    The Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund is both a fund of last resort if claims are above and beyond the ship-owner’s liability, and of first resort if the claim can be filed directly to the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund Administrator who will assess claims, make an offer of compensation, and once accepted, seek to recover the amount paid from the polluter or other responsible party. The types of damage covered include:

    • Measures to prevent or minimize damage;
    • Clean-up and containment costs;
    • Property damage; and
    • Environmental damage limited to loss of profit, post-spill studies and costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement undertaken or to be undertaken.

    Economic losses, such as in the fisheries and tourism sectors or subsistence fishing and harvesting, may also be covered.

    Generally, all claims for compensation follow the following criterion:

    • Any expense, loss or damage must actually have been incurred;
    • Any expense must relate to measures that are considered reasonable and justifiable;
    • Any expense, loss or damage is compensated only if and to the extent that it can be considered as caused by contamination resulting from the spill;
    • There must be a reasonably close link of causation between the expense, loss or damage covered by the claim and the contamination caused by the spill;
    • A claimant is entitled to compensation only if he or she has suffered a quantifiable economic loss;
    • A claimant has to prove the amount of his or her expense, loss or damage by producing appropriate documents or other evidence.

    Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is making major improvements to the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund to ensure unlimited industry funded compensation is made available to those affected by ship-source spills. Specifically, these proposed changes include:

    • Removing the limit of liability on the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund to allow for an unlimited amount of compensation for eligible losses and damage with a guaranteed fund top-up;
    • Ensuring the ability to recover from industry through a modernized levy mechanism in the unlikely event that the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund is depleted;
    • Aligning with the international regime to ensure coverage to prevent or minimize economic losses, such as in the fisheries or tourism sectors;
    • Providing emergency funding to the federal incident commander and to responders under the direction of the federal incident commander when responding to a significant incident; and,
    • Instituting a fast-track system for small claims to the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund in order to reduce administrative burdens and facilitate prompt compensation.

    In 2014, Canada adopted amendments to the Marine Liability Act to implement in law a new international convention that addresses liability and compensation for incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances.

    The International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010 will establish a new liability and compensation regime covering all hazardous and noxious substances carried in bulk or in containers. This includes strict liability for the ship-owner with compulsory insurance and the creation of a new international compensation fund made up of contributions from receivers of bulk hazardous and noxious substances in state parties. The total amount available would be approximately $450 million for a single incident.

Chapter 3 – Railways and Surface Transportation Regime Related to Spill Management

The Government of Canada is responsible for the safety oversight of railways under federal jurisdiction, such as railways that cross provincial or international boundaries, and for developing a robust regulatory framework to ensure rail safety. Transport Canada actively promotes a strong rail safety culture within federally regulated companies by monitoring industry’s compliance with legal requirements, as well as their railway operations, with the objective of preventing rail-related accidents and incidents.

The Government of Canada’s primary objective for the rail safety regime is prevention of accidents, including accidents involving the transportation of dangerous goods. This is consistent with one of the stated objectives of the Railway Safety Act which is to “promote and provide for the safety and security of the public and personnel, and the protection of property and the environment, in railway operations.”

In Canada, the transport of dangerous goods is regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 and the subsequent Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 applies to the import, offer for transport, handling and transport of dangerous goods by all modes of transport – air, marine, road and rail (The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 does not apply to dangerous goods that are transported by a pipeline or confined only by the permanent structure of a vessel).

In addition, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, establishes the safety requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods, and allows Transport Canada to come into agreement with Provinces and Territories on the administration of the Program and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, which have been adopted by all provinces and territories, and establishes the safety requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods.

Dangerous goods will continue to move across Canada by road, rail, water, and air. These shipments range from industrial chemicals to manufactured goods and, while indispensable to our modern way of life, they can pose a threat if not handled safely.

Transport Canada is the focal point for the national program to promote public safety during the transportation of dangerous goods. Transport Canada has a robust compliance and response program that is responsible to conduct inspections, investigations, and enforcement activities to ensure that all who handle or transport dangerous goods comply with Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. It also serves as the major source of regulatory development, information and guidance on dangerous goods transport for the public, industry and government employees.

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 requires dangerous goods to be properly classified and transported in the appropriate means of containment. Additional requirements include proper documentation, safety marks, training, reporting and Emergency Response Assistance Plans (often referred to as Emergency Response Assistance Plan), if applicable. The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 is focused on preventing releases of dangerous goods under normal conditions of transport while ensuring an appropriate response capability exists in the event of an actual or anticipated release.

The Government of Canada has taken concrete and recent steps to strengthen the rail safety regime in Canada through regulatory and legislative reform and improved inspection capacity.

Similarly, the transportation of dangerous goods regime continues to be improved through regulatory amendments and alignment with other relevant federal regimes (e.g., marine sector). Separately and in addition to steps taken under safety legislation as described above, the Government of Canada has also acted to strengthen the liability and compensation regime for federal railways, which is set out in the Canada Transportation Act. This regime, which includes elements currently specific to accidents involving crude oil, is also discussed in this Chapter.

1. Rail Safety and Accident Prevention

Amendments to the Railway Safety Act, most of which came into force on May 1, 2013 provided Transport Canada greater oversight and enforcement capacity and clarified the Minister’s authority and responsibilities with respect to rail safety. For example, the amendments ensure that all companies operating on federal track are subject to the same high degree of safety requirements. The Act was further amended June 18, 2015 to enhance rail safety. For example, the Act was amended to provide the Minister with the authority to issue a Ministerial Order requiring a company to take corrective measures if it is believed to be implementing its Safety Management System in a way that could compromise railway safety.

 

On February 12, 2016, Transport Canada approved the Rule Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes. The objective of the rule is to further strengthen railway safety by reducing the risks and impacts of rail accidents involving dangerous goods. In addition to imposing speed limitations, the rule emphasizes track maintenance, risk assessments, and allows for the incorporation of safety and security concerns of municipalities and other levels of local government in risk assessments to be conducted by railway companies.

Under these rules, railway companies must restrict the speed of their trains carrying large volumes of dangerous goods to:
  • a maximum of 80 kilometres per hour at all times, and
  • a maximum of 64 kilometres per hour in highly urbanized areas and when transporting certain dangerous goods in DOT-111 tank cars through higher risk areas.

On April 1, 2015, new Safety Management Systems Regulations, 2015 came into force, requiring companies to integrate safety into day-to-day company operations, which includes elements such as the requirement to have a safety policy, safety targets, a risk assessment process, and monitoring procedures. Specifically, a railway company must conduct a risk assessment when beginning to transport dangerous goods, transporting dangerous goods different from those already carried, increasing the volume of dangerous goods carried, or changing the route on which dangerous goods are transported.

Also in 2015, Transport Canada approved revised Rule 112 of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules on train securement which made prominent requirements, establishing additional layers of defence to secure trains and further reduce the risk of runaway trains. The revised rule provides industry with a comprehensive handbrake application chart and additional physical measures to secure railway equipment. The rule came into effect on October 14, 2015.

In 2015, the Minister of Transport introduced a requirement that all federally regulated railway companies and provincially regulated railway companies operating on federally regulated track hold a valid Railway Operating Certificate in order to operate in Canada. Among the requirements to obtain a Railway Operating Certificate, companies must attest that they have:

  1. the human and financial resources to operate and maintain a railway at the highest level of safety, and
  2. a safety management system that meets the requirements of the Railway Safety Management System Regulations, 2015.

The Railway Safety Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations are designed to encourage regulatory compliance by having a monetary cost for contraventions of the Railway Safety Act, and regulations and rules made under the Act. The regulations came into force April 1, 2015. Administrative monetary penalties are issued by Transport Canada to either corporations or individuals. Penalties are based on the severity of the violation. The maximum amount is $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation.

Transport Canada has also strengthened its Rail Safety Inspectorate by increasing the number of inspectors and improving training. Transport Canada audits and inspects railway companies to verify they follow the rules, regulations, and standards that apply to them. Every year, Transport Canada conducts approximately 33,000 inspections of grade crossings, locomotives, freight and passenger cars, tracks, bridges and train crews. This includes more than 8,300 inspections conducted in British Columbia between March 2017 and March 2018.

Transport Canada hired additional inspectors with functional specialization in track, crossings and signals to expand Transport Canada’s capacity. Transport Canada also increased its capacity to audit Safety Management Systems of railway companies by hiring additional auditors. Furthermore, from a regulatory perspective Transport Canada is taking steps to address the risks from human factors in the rail industry through on-going work on fatigue in operating crews and Bill C-49, that will mandate the installation of locomotive voice and video recorders onboard locomotives, with a view to enhancing safety and preventing accidents.

In 2016, the Minister of Transport announced more than $20 million of funding under the Rail Safety Improvement Program. Funding was used to support 131 projects covering safety improvements on rail crossings and along rail lines, the use of innovative technologies, research and studies to improve rail safety, closures of grade crossings, and public education and awareness initiatives. Of the projects approved, 23% of the funding was allocated to projects in British Columbia.

The Rail Safety Improvement Program provides grant and contribution funding to improve rail safety and reduce injuries and fatalities related to rail transportation. The program funds:

  • Safety improvements to existing rail lines;
  • Closures of grade crossings; and
  • Initiatives to raise awareness about rail safety issues across Canada.

The program has two key components:

  • The infrastructure, technology and research component funds projects that address the immediate rail safety needs of communities, and
  • The public education and awareness component funds public education projects aimed at reducing railway-grade crossing collisions and trespassing incidents on railway property, particularly in high-risk areas.

2. Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP)

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 provides that anyone responsible for a means of containment (e.g., a driver, a company representative, a shipmaster, a train operator, etc.) has the duty to report any spills or anticipated release of dangerous goods that is or could be in excess of quantity or concentration specified by regulations, loss or theft of dangerous goods that endangers, or could endanger, public safety.

In addition, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 requires that before a person offers for transport or imports certain dangerous goods, they must have an approved Emergency Response Assistance Plan. An Emergency Response Assistance Plan outlines the response to a release or anticipated release of the dangerous goods while in transport. It is designed to make the technical knowledge of the industry and its resources, such as equipment and response personnel, more accessible for first responders in the interest of public safety.

Emergency Response Assistance Plans are now required for the rail transport of flammable liquids, such as crude oil, ethanol, diesel, gasoline, and aviation fuel.

Transport Canada has developed a powerful approach to preventing and responding to dangerous goods incidents. Over the past few years, Transport Canada has strengthened its oversight program, including the hiring of close to 90 inspectors, resulting in approximately 5,200 inspections; an increase of 120% since 2013-2014. In 2017-2018, an estimated 864 inspections will be completed in the Pacific region; an increase of 83% from the planned total of 476 inspections in 2013-2014. In 2018-2019, Transport Canada is planning approximately 1,025 inspections in the Pacific region; an increase of 115% from 2013-2014.

In addition, Transport Canada’s Canadian Transport Emergency Centre, most commonly known as CANUTEC, provides remote technical emergency response advice during dangerous goods incidents in all modes of transport on a 24/7 basis, including security-related events. It provides advice primarily to first responders during incidents involving dangerous goods.

3. Liability and Compensation

The Canada Transportation Act was amended in 2015 to set out a robust regime for rail liability and compensation comprising two tiers. The first tier prescribes minimum levels of insurance that federally regulated freight railways must carry based on the type and volume of dangerous goods they transport, enforceable by administrative monetary penalties of up to $100,000 per violation for non-compliance. These risk-based minimums range from $25 million for railways carrying limited or no dangerous goods, up to $1 billion for railways carrying substantial amounts of specified dangerous goods. This currently applies primarily to Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. For accidents involving crude oil, railways are held liable up to their required insurance level, without requiring proof of fault or negligence.

The railway insurance levels established under the regime are expected to cover costs for the vast majority of accidents. However, in the event that damages from a rail accident involving crude oil exceeded the railway’s required insurance level, the second tier – a supplementary, shipper-financed compensation fund – would cover all remaining damages.

There is no limit on claims to this fund, titled the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods. In the unlikely event that accident damages were more than the railway’s insurance coverage and the amount in the Fund combined, the Government of Canada’s Consolidated Revenue Fund could be called upon as a backstop.

The two-tier regime represents a strengthened approach to federal rail liability and compensation developed following the devastating Lac-Mégantic derailment of 2013. The railway involved in that accident had insurance inadequate to the scope of damages. The enhanced regime is meant to ensure that in the event of future rail accidents, sufficient resources will be available to adequately compensate victims, pay for clean-up costs, and protect taxpayers. It provides greater certainty for victims of crude oil accidents by taking a no-fault approach to railway liability, whereas previously this was determined by the courts, and by establishing a fund that allows unlimited compensation. This enhanced federal regime aligns with the “polluter pays” principle at the heart of liability regimes in other modes and sectors in Canada, such as pipelines and ship-source oil spills.

Chapter 4 – Pipeline Regime Related to Spill Management

Canada’s federally regulated pipeline safety system is comprehensive, sound, and Indigenous Peoples and communities are fully involved in all aspects of pipeline safety operations.

With 825,000 kilometres of transmission, gathering and distribution pipelines in Canada, most provinces have significant pipeline infrastructure. Close to 100 pipeline companies are federally-regulated and operate approximately 73,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal agency that regulates cross-border pipelines in Canada. The National Energy Board ensures that pipeline companies meet strict requirements to keep Canadians and the environment safe.

The Government of Canada has taken a number of steps in recent years to strengthen the federal pipeline regime, including the Pipeline Safety Act, which amended the National Energy Board Act. The Act built on similar work to strengthen the offshore, nuclear, marine, rail safety, and compensation regimes. It introduced a number of new measures focused on incident prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation, applicable to federally regulated pipelines, including associated marine terminals.

British Columbia’s spill response regime addresses many of the same elements of the federal regime including around marine protection, prevention and response measures. We welcome opportunities to continue to work together to ensure complementarity between provincial and federal regimes and to minimize duplication.

Natural Resources Canada and other federal departments and agencies, including the National Energy Board, provided input during the early stages of British Columbia’s emergency management regulatory framework. The National Energy Board has been actively engaged in the British Columbia spill regime initiative through regulator-to-regulator discussions with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

National Energy Board input has focused on avoiding regulatory duplication or conflict and clarifying regulatory expectations for companies that may fall under both National Energy Board regulatory requirements and the British Columbia Spill Regime. The National Energy Board and Natural Resources Canada also participated in the “Symposium on Land Based Spill Preparedness and Response in British Columbia” hosted by British Columbia Ministry of the Environment in April 2016. We appreciate that British Columbia has acknowledged jurisdictional considerations and emphasized its plan to work on complementary measures going forward.

The National Energy Board has also established a working relationship with the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Emergency Management British Columbia. The National Energy Board interacts with these organizations through meetings and workshops and in particular, through emergency response exercises and incidents.

The National Energy Board has participated in Unified Command under the Incident Command System with British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy on a number of occasions in this context. The placement of an Emergency Management Specialist in the National Energy Board’s Vancouver Regional Office has facilitated opportunities to continue proactive engagement with British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Emergency Management British Columbia.

The National Energy Board and British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy are also working together to lead a project under the Environmental Emergencies Working Group of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. The objectives of the project are to promote cooperation amongst governments in response to environmental emergencies. As co-chairs, the National Energy Board and British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy have developed the project strategy and continue to work together to guide the Project Working Group and will oversee the documentation that will be produced.

1. Prevention and Response

The Government of Canada’s primary objective for pipeline safety is the prevention of incidents. Recent measures implemented at the federal level that advance world-leading incident prevention in the pipeline sector include:

  • Updating and strengthening damage prevention requirements;
  • Providing new funding of close to $65 million (over five years) to fund the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees for the Trans Mountain Expansion project to involve Indigenous Peoples of Canada in the ongoing monitoring of the environmental, safety and socio-economic issues over the full lifecycle of the project;
  • Adding provisions for implementing Administrative Monetary Penalties; and,
  • Making public the National Energy Board’s report on the use of “best available technologies” in pipeline construction and operations.

Emergency management is best achieved through clear and comprehensive regulatory requirements and regulatory oversight. For federally regulated pipelines, these requirements are set out in the National Energy Board Act and the National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations. The legislation requires companies regulated by the National Energy Board to have a comprehensive Emergency Management Program in place that is subject to the National Energy Board’s compliance verification activities.

The preparedness and response regime for federally-regulated pipelines allows companies and other emergency response stakeholders to be ready and able to react swiftly and effectively by:

  • Involving local communities, including Indigenous communities, in planning and operations;
  • Requiring companies to plan for and be able to respond to an incident of any size or duration;
  • Requiring companies to hold a minimum level of financial resources in readily accessible form to ensure they can respond quickly;
  • Authorizing the National Energy Board to assume control of incident response in exceptional circumstances, if a company is unable or unwilling to do so; and,
  • Authorizing the National Energy Board to order reimbursement of certain clean-up costs.

British Columbia has been a key contributor to the federal-provincial-territorial dialogue on pipeline safety including in the lead up to the Pipeline Safety Act legislation in 2015. Natural Resources Canada shares British Columbia’s interest in advancing safety objectives including ensuring the safe movement of energy resources and protection of the environment, aided by enhanced spill recovery and response. Continued cooperation will ensure that our efforts are complementary, and that they enable economic growth and a clean environment for the benefit of British Columbians and all Canadians.

The National Energy Board and the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission have a Memorandum of Understanding that addresses supporting one another in emergency situations. The National Energy Board has similar cooperative working relationships with other provincial departments and energy regulators.

2. Liability and Compensation

The liability and compensation regime for federally-regulated pipelines ensures Canadians are protected from costs and damages and that the environment is protected following any incident. To build on the current unlimited liability in the case of fault or negligence, the Pipeline Safety Act established “no fault” absolute liability on the part of pipeline companies, set at $1 billion in the case of operators of major oil pipelines. For example, the Trans Mountain pipeline has a financial assurances plan that provides for coverage of $1 billion (growing to $1.1 billion with the current Expansion Project) for loss or damages from a spill including cleanup and remediation, and loss of non-use value of a public resource.

Other improvements to pipeline liability and compensation include:

  • Requiring companies to have sufficient financial resources to cover the costs of an incident. This requirement has to match, at a minimum, the amount of absolute liability imposed on companies (e.g., $1 billion for operators of major oil pipelines);
  • Providing an interim government financial backstop to ensure funds are available to the National Energy Board to assume control of incident response. The National Energy Board will also have the authority to fully recover associated costs from industry;
  • Ensuring companies are responsible, by law, for all costs associated with an unintended or uncontrolled release from a federal pipeline, including all actual losses or damages incurred by any person; the costs and expenses reasonably incurred by the Crown (federal or provincial) or any Indigenous governing body; and loss of non-use value relating to a public resource such as a national park or eco-system.

3. Emergency Management Requirements Related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project

A concrete demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to safe and secure pipeline operations is federal approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. In November 2016, the Government directed the National Energy Board to issue a certificate for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project subject to over 150 conditions as set out in the National Energy Board Report, including those related to mitigating the risk and impact of oil spills. These conditions are in addition to the robust regulatory framework under the National Energy Board Act and the National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations that the Project falls under. The conditions include items related to:

  • Regulatory and/or overarching requirements (9 conditions);
  • Project engineering and safety (53 conditions);
  • Emergency preparedness and response (15 conditions);
  • Environment (49 conditions);
  • Air emissions and greenhouse gases (9 conditions);
  • Socio-economic considerations (35 conditions);
  • Economic, finance and markets (2 conditions); and,
  • Project-related marine shipping (6 conditions).

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project Certificate Condition 117 requires Trans Mountain to file updates on the enhancements already implemented in its Emergency Management Program. The National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations state that an Emergency Management Program must anticipate, prevent, manage and mitigate conditions during an emergency that could adversely affect property, the environment or the safety of workers or the public. This includes the need for emergency procedure manuals that are regularly reviewed, updated and made publically available. A company must also have a site-specific plan for sensitive areas such as wetlands or national parks.

Companies regulated by the National Energy Board must establish and maintain a close working relationship with agencies that may be involved in an emergency response related to a pipeline to ensure effective coordination. This could include first responders, city planners, municipalities, and Indigenous communities. Companies must also have their emergency response plans and related emergency management program information posted on their publically available websites.

The National Energy Board also verifies compliance with regulatory requirements. This can include, for example, a comprehensive emergency procedures manual review, National Energy Board evaluations of company emergency response exercises, and management system audits. During compliance verification, National Energy Board Inspection Officers and other staff work with the company, local municipalities, first responders, Indigenous groups, and other stakeholders; each of whom may be involved during an emergency response.

It is worth noting that Trans Mountain Expansion Project Certificate Condition 119 requires that Trans Mountain file an Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise and Training Program and Condition 136 requires Trans Mountain to complete a full-scale emergency response exercise prior to operations commencing for specific scenarios, including a scenario for a diluted bitumen release into Burrard Inlet as a result of a release from the Westridge Marine Terminal. The National Energy Board’s exercise evaluations will be made publically available on its website.

The National Energy Board enforces regulatory requirements in order to obtain compliance, deter future non-compliance, and prevent harm by using the most appropriate tool or tools available. The National Energy Board posts information on its website on its compliance and enforcement activities with the goal of providing information related to its compliance and enforcement actions, in a manner that is clear and accessible.

Understanding Spills of Diluted Bitumen into Aqueous Environments

A. Preamble

The federal government has been undertaking oil spill and response research for over 35 years and has produced over 60 peer reviewed publications in the last 5 years alone (see Appendix C) focused on the science of diluted bitumen spills. A significant body of knowledge has also been advanced through other Canadian and international researchers (see Appendix D). As a result of this research, Canada has advanced overall understanding of the fate and behaviour of petroleum products in ocean and fresh water. Based on current scientific evidence and limited real-world spill experience, diluted bitumen behaves similarly to conventional crude oils; it will float initially for several days depending on the environmental conditions.

Since 2013, the Government of Canada has made concerted efforts to increase investment, collaboration and coordination of work between Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada to increase understanding of spills of diluted bitumen in marine and freshwater environments. This was strengthened through investment in 2016 in the Oceans Protection Plan. This includes increasing the investment in improving the security of transport of oil products, spill recovery and responses, by focusing research on the fate, behaviour and effects of various oil products in different spill conditions and under extreme Canadian climates.

Collectively, the Government of Canada has dedicated approximately fifty scientists, technologists, chemists and engineers in four major programs to study oil spill behaviour and recovery technologies. There is a significant body of work in the public domain that have been peer reviewed domestically and internationally, which helped inform decisions on pipeline projects as well as oil spill planning and preparedness.

The Government of Canada’s scientific research is focused on answering three key questions:

  1. Does a spill of diluted bitumen behave differently than a conventional crude, and if so, how is it different?
  2. Will existing spill response technologies work for spills of diluted bitumen?
  3. Will a spill of diluted bitumen have a different effect on the environment than that of a conventional crude oil?

These questions are not independent, but can be addressed individually, and are being addressed by scientists in the federal government, academia, industry, and by response technology developers.

B. Background

Diluted Bitumen

Bitumen is the thick, (barely) fluid oil extracted from oil sands. Being thicker than conventional crude the oil needs lighter solvents or oils added to it to reduce its viscosity for transportation by pipeline. The resulting product is called “diluted bitumen”.

The type of diluted bitumen is determined by the diluent used:

Pipeline Transportation: research has shown that diluted bitumen is not corrosive in transport pipelines, contrary to popular belief. In 2013, the United States National Academy of Science, after extensive consultation, found “no evidence of any causes of pipeline failure that are unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen”.

  • Natural Gas (NG) condensate (C4 to C8): This consists of small hydrocarbons containing 4 to 8 carbons (C4 to C8). NG condensate is used only inside Alberta in gathering and feeder pipelines;
  • Light oil (“CRW”) condensate (C4 to C40): CRW condensate is used to make the diluted bitumen called “dilbit” that is transported in Canada’s regulated transmission pipelines leaving Alberta;
  • Synthetic crude oil (SCO) (C12 to C40): SCO is used to make the diluted bitumen called “synbit” that is transported in transmission pipelines leaving Alberta.

Anatomy of an Oil Spill

By far the biggest impacts on the evolution of any crude oil spill are the environmental factors at the time of the spill. This affects, for example, how fast the slick will spread, the extent to which the oil will disperse into the water column, or sink to the bottom.

The effects that conditions, such as wave action, temperature, or sediment load, will have on a spill depends on the physico-chemical properties of the oil, and how these properties evolve over time. The two most important oil properties that determine spill behaviour are the density and the viscosity of the oil.

When a crude oil is spilled in the environment, a wide variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes defined as “weathering” begin to transform the oil. The first prominent change observed is the loss of lighter, non-persistent hydrocarbons. In the case of a spill of dilbit, the smallest hydrocarbons (C4 to C12) originating from the diluent would quickly evaporate; the medium-sized hydrocarbons from the diluent would stay with the oil and so leave the weathered oil slightly lighter (less dense) than the original bitumen. For a spill of synbit, the hydrocarbons from the synthetic crude oil that were added as diluent would not evaporate, leaving the weathered oil lighter than the original bitumen.

Over longer time frames (days, weeks, and months), natural processes such as photolysis from sunlight, and bacterial degradation will act on the oil, completely degrading some of the smaller oil hydrocarbons. However, the larger hydrocarbons in crude oil, including diluted bitumen, are resistant to natural degradation processes and will persist in the environment. This can lead to fouling of beaches, ocean bottoms, with the attendant effects on ecosystems.

Oil Spill Modelling

It may be frustrating to hear “it depends” when one asks how a spill of diluted bitumen will behave. But just like whether you wore a coat this morning “depended” on the temperature, or if it was raining, and conversely, your tolerance to cold and rain, the same with oil spills: their behavior depends on environmental factors, and the type of oil.

Oil spill modelling, and the science that feeds these models, is used to answer these “it depends” scenarios.

One objective of modelling is to run “what-if” scenarios. That is, to determine the direction and fate of an oil slick based on the environmental conditions such as water type, prevailing currents, the time of year, and wave energy. In this way spill response personnel and equipment can be strategically positioned and particularly vulnerable shorelines identified. Another use of modelling is in real-time scenarios in order to guide responders in the event of a spill. However, this can be somewhat difficult as key information often takes time to be determined, such as the volume and type of oil spilled.

Models have become more sophisticated over the years, evolving from simple two-dimensional models of the spreading of an oil slick, to complex three-dimensional models that also predict dispersion into the water column. Model improvements have allowed scientists to better describe the impacts of wind and hydrodynamic variability on the fate and behaviour of oil, and the effectiveness of oil spill response measures, which in turn would allow for a more timely and effective response to any oil spill. The chemical and physical understanding of diluted bitumen, established by federal science over recent years, is foundational to the successful development and deployment of these models

Oil Spill Response Methods

The main approaches for oil spill response are: (1) Mechanical clean-up: physical containment with booms and recovery using skimmers; (2) Spill treating agents ; (3) In-situ burning; (4) Translocation; and (5) Decanting; and (6) Natural attenuation.

Ideally, weather and response times would allow the deployment of booms to contain the spill and allow for recovery. However, effective boom deployment rests on the ability to detect and respond to the spill in its early stages when it is still “containable”. That said, mechanical recovery is still the most common approach to oil spills.Footnote 6

The remaining response methods are the focus of the Ocean Protection Plan’s alternative response measures (ARMs) program and the multi-partner research initiative. Spill treating agents, including dispersants, surface washing agents, and herders, represent chemical treatments to mitigate environmental impacts of a spill. In-situ burning has the potential to remove large quantities of oil in a short period. Translocation, the physical relocation of spilled material, has the potential to assist the natural breakdown of petroleum products while decanting can be of value in remote locations. None of the approaches are 100% effective, and in some instances a response operation may be focused on the monitoring of natural recovery (natural attenuation). Each of these approaches is associated with a different suite of benefits and risks. Ultimately, the most appropriate type of response will be situation dependent and will require a science-informed analysis of the risks associated with each available option (net environmental benefit analysis) relative to that of no-treatment.

C: What are the Knowledge Gaps?

Four of the more comprehensive reports on oil spill preparedness and response were from the Tanker Safety Expert Panel (Part 1, 2013 and Part 2, 2014), the Royal Society of Canada (2015) and the US National Academy of Sciences (2016). Appendix A describes some of the key findings from these reports.

The main knowledge gap identified in these reports was the lack of data on the of fate, behaviour and environmental effects of the full range of oil types, including diluted bitumen, in the full range of environmental conditions encountered across Canada, and in the Arctic. In particular, there is the need for this information to optimize spill response plans for a given region and its environmental conditions. Finally, for diluted bitumen, the need was identified to determine the extent to which oil weathering could affect spill response technologies and strategies.

D: Federal Research into Diluted Bitumen Spill Behaviour and Impacts

It is important that spill responders have the information needed to predict the evolution of the spill, determine the best response plan, and be equipped with effective spill response technologies. Lastly, they need to understand the impacts on the environment in order to focus longer-term environmental remediation efforts. The research, in progress since 2013, is addressing these needs.

Through the $1.5B investment in the Oceans Protection Plan the Canadian government is putting in place the resources, processes, and training to reduce the potential for an oil spill to occur along our coastlines. But in the event of a spill, to have in place the spill response protocols and technologies needed to respond quickly and effectively. This is extending the investment in managing oil spills that began with the World Class Safety System program.

Researchers in three federal departments, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Natural Resources Canada, are carrying out studies to determine the fate, behaviour, and potential impacts of spilled diluted bitumen, bringing their unique expertise and resources to different aspects of the issue.

Expertise

The federal science family working on diluted bitumen spill science has a considerable range of expertise that it is being used to study diluted bitumen spill behaviour. This includes experts in:

Federal scientists have published or presented over sixty papers on diluted bitumen science in peer-reviewed fora. (Appendix C)

  • Fundamental science of multi-phase behaviour: needed to understand how oil, water, and minerals interact;
  • Petroleum chemistry and analysis: needed to determine the properties and composition of diluted bitumens;
  • Petroleum processing: asking the question, can diluted bitumen properties be changed to improve spill behaviour;
  • Toxicity: needed to determine impacts of diluted bitumen on biota in water environments;
  • Ecosystems: necessary in regional response planning;
  • Water chemistry analyses, including oil components that dissolve in water: needed to study the impacts and evolution of an oil spill;
  • Remote surveillance: needed to detect and monitor oil spills;
  • Pipeline integrity: needed to minimize the risk of a leak; If there is a leak, to minimize both the time for detection and volume of oil released.

Facilities

Federal research on diluted bitumen spills ranges from laboratory-based studies of the fundamentals of diluted bitumen spill behaviour to large-scale wave tank studies. These federal projects are being carried out at research facilities in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta.

In Alberta, two temperature-controlled spill tanks have been developed to study how a fresh oil behaves from sub-zero air temperatures (only in winter) to summer conditions. In Nova Scotia, wave tanks are being used to perform detailed studies of the effectiveness of treatment agents such as dispersants. In Ontario, a state-of-the-art climate-controlled test facility with a large flume tank that will allow for oil weathering studies over an extended period of time and with freezing conditions is nearing completion.

This research is supported by comprehensive and advanced analytical methods in all three federal departments.

With relevance to pipeline integrity, federal scientists and engineers also conduct research on pipeline corrosion, the manufacture of pipeline fittings, pipeline welding, and pipeline coatings, with all the associated research facilities. In addition, a project to develop new techniques for detection of pipeline corrosion and leaks, spill containment, and for testing of pipe integrity is underway.

Lastly, the federal government has provided funding for several technology developers to improve spill recovery technologies, especially for heavy oils such as diluted bitumen. This includes funding of the development of an alternative response measure proposed by the British Columbia Research Institute. See Appendix F for a listing.

Efforts and Outcomes to date

The following is a high-level overview of the federal research that is addressing the three key questions regarding diluted bitumen spill behaviour. A more detailed synthesis of the Knowledge of the Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen in Aquatic Ecosystems has recently been undertaken through Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s scientific peer review process, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/index-eng.htm). This document provides an analysis of the state of the science in this area. In general, federal research has focused on:

Does a spill of diluted bitumen behave differently than a conventional crude, and if so, how is it different?
Here is what we are doing:

From 2013, with the advent of the World Class Tanker Safety Systems research program, research by federal scientists into oil spill behaviour, and in particular, diluted bitumen spill behaviour increased substantially. This work is continuing with the Oceans Protection Plan. The research has ranged from bench-scale, fundamental research, to wave-tank studies to characterize the behaviour of diluted bitumen and other oil products in a range of conditions that can be found in Canada. The factors being studied include type of water (fresh or saline), type of diluted bitumen products, temperature, presence of sediment, and length of time. Studies of conventional crude and heavy fuel oils under the same spill conditions have been included for comparison.

In addition to R&D on diluted bitumen behaviour and recovery, the federal government invests about $2.6M per year on pipeline integrity R&D as well as $300K per year on geological hazards related to pipelines. The main areas of research include:

  • ‎Understanding corrosion and cracking phenomena in pipelines, identifying integrity threats and developing mitigation strategies;
  • Identifying the required properties of steels and welds for use in new pipelines;
  • Developing methods for testing modern steels and welding technologies to achieve these required properties;
  • Developing new high-strength steel alloys; and
  • ‎Developing methodologies, sensors and practices for evaluating and controlling corrosion in pipelines.

This work aims to develop stronger and safer new pipelines as well as to maintain existing pipelines with improved safety and reliability.

Findings

Natural Resources Canada has nine science experts working in the area of oil spill behaviour and response with a current annual budget of about $2M.

Research undertaken by federal government scientists over the past five years has improved our understanding of the fate and behaviour of a number of diluted bitumen products should they spill into marine and fresh waters. This knowledge includes: physical and chemical properties of fresh and weathered diluted bitumen, interactions with sediments and shoreline materials, and how this changes as the diluted bitumen weathers. Additionally, we are better able to predict the fate, behaviour and biological effects of spilled diluted bitumen, utilizing this new knowledge and employing enhanced meteorological and hydrodynamic data in improved spill models.

Specifically:

  • Some diluted bitumen types have been shown to float under conditions where a conventional crude dispersed into the water column (wave-tank scale). The extent to which a diluted bitumen floated depended on the oil composition and temperature; the warmer the water, the more prone it was to dispersing into the water;
  • The length of time a diluted bitumen sample will remain floating (and so more recoverable) will depend on its composition and environmental factors (same as for conventional crudes) ;
  • The oils ability to pick up sediment, and so have more tendency to sink, decreases as the diluted bitumen weathers.
Will existing spill response technologies work for spills of diluted bitumen?
Here is what we are doing:

The federal government is investing up to $50M into oil spill response technologies though programs such as Oil Spill Response Science Program (OSRS) and future programming through the Oceans Protection Plan. For example, more than eight projects funded through OSRS are focused on improving recovery technologies and processes for the clean-up of heavy oil products spilled in marine environments. These projects are in collaboration with academia, industry and oil spill responders and will help build more solutions into this space. See Appendix F for more details.

Findings

Diluted bitumen behaviour falls within the range of conventional oil products and so conventional mechanical methods have been found effective, especially in the initial stages of a spill.

Viscosity of the oil will be an important factor in any mechanical recovery system: higher viscosity oils will tend to remain together, but be harder to pump the oil as it is removed from a skimmer (for example), while lighter oils will spread faster, but be easier to pump.

Other findings include:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has committed to invest $77.7M from 2013 to 2022 to work on oil spills, including diluted bitumen spills.

They have a team of 15 scientific experts working in this area.

  • With weathering dilbit, more than synbit, will have significantly increased viscosity. Consequently, skimmers for high viscosity floating oil would need to be available for use;
  • Alternative response measures (herders, solidifiers, surface washing agents) will be studied for their effectiveness on diluted bitumen. A database of effectiveness for spills of diluted bitumen, under what environmental conditions, will be created;
  • Under conditions simulating breaking waves, where chemical dispersants have proven effective with conventional crude oils, a chemical dispersant had quite limited effectiveness in dispersing a diluted bitumen (large wave tank);
  • Knowledge is being developed of the applicability of certain countermeasures to respond to diluted bitumen spills, shoreline characterization, and penetration and retention of diluted bitumen on shorelines;
  • Methods to detect and monitor oil on shorelines with unmanned aerial vehicles have been successfully tested;
  • While not a spill recovery technology per se, scientists are conducting studies on whether a ‘pre-treatment’ of the diluted bitumen can improve its spill behaviour;
  • Solidification agents are being designed as possible agents to treat diluted bitumen spills.
Will a spill of diluted bitumen have a different effect on the environment than that of a conventional crude oil?
Here is what we are doing:

Environment and Climate Change Canada, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada are studying both the impacts of a spill of diluted bitumen on biota, as well as mapping the baseline ecological state of the coastal ecosystems that could be affected by an oil spill.

Findings

Under the Oceans Protection Plan, Environment and Climate Change Canada has approximately 25 science staff and $3.5M per year for these studies.

  • Baseline studies of ecosystems along the BC northern coast are being done. These studies can be used, for example, to identify more fragile ecosystems on which regional response plans could focus;
  • Biodegradation studies confirm a similar behaviour as that for conventional crudes: certain smaller molecules in the oil are significantly biodegraded, but not the heavier ends;
  • Photolysis studies of diluted bitumen as compared to conventional crudes have been carried out;
  • Researchers are conducting toxicity end-point studies to determine toxicity end-points, that is how does the toxicity of the water change with time after a spill and how does toxicity vary with different petroleum products (conventional crude, diluted bitumen, or fuel products;

A bibliography of published findings is provided in Appendix C.

Activities under the Oceans Protection Plan will contribute significantly more to this body of knowledge. See Appendix E for details.

Dissemination of knowledge

In the event of a spill, the mechanism by which the government of Canada knowledge is accessed in response to a spill incident can vary slightly depending on the location and nature of the spill; however, in general, strategic technical advice is coordinated through ECCC’s National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC). The NEEC provides support for environmental emergencies on a 24/7 basis and is the federal government agency that typically coordinates GoC stakeholder collaborations.

More generally, the knowledge generated regarding diluted bitumen spill behaviour can be used to run predictive modelling scenarios under various conditions and locations. These can then be used in regional response planning to prioritize deployment of resources.

The Open Government data portal is one of the mechanisms being used to provide access to data resulting from studies conducted by federal government scientists. Two examples of this data are;

Physiochemical properties of petroleum products database; https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/53c38f91-35c8-49a6-a437-b311703db8c5

Shoreline classification data including that for the Northern BC Coastline is included in the links below. Additional information and supplementary data including videos and photographs will be added later.

Open Government Portal

Collaborations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has on-going collaborative research agreements to study the fate, behavior and impact of oil spilled in aquatic environments with academia (University of Ottawa, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, University of Guelph, University of Victoria, Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie Universities, and New Jersey Institute of Technology), and international partners (the State Oceanic Administration of China, the Australian Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, and United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Under the Oceans Protection Plan, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is leading a multi-partner research initiative (MPRI) with the objective to form collaborations with the best oil spill researchers in the world. The MPRI is led by Fisheries and Oceans in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada, and Canadian Coast Guard. To guide this work an advisory committee was established, of which British Columbia is a member.

There was general agreement among advisory committee members that much work remains to be done with regards to alternative response measures (ARMs) in Canada. It was suggested that MPRI should focus on funding research that will support ARMs development for Canada.

In that context, the following research priorities were raised noting that they will need to focus on the science required for public and regulatory acceptance:

  • Natural attenuation (focus on the potential biodegradation rates for oil and refined products).
  • Chemical spill treating agents, e.g. dispersants, surface washing agents and herders
  • Oil translocation (studies on shoreline clean-up)
  • Decanting (review of technologies and regulatory hurdles)
  • Field studies with controlled oil spills in the environment (could include Arctic and other cold water/harsh environments).
  • Oil detection and monitoring (in the atmosphere, on/in water, in sediments) using remote and in-situ devices, development of oil spill trajectory models, and improve our understanding of oil behaviour, fate, transport and biological effects.
  • Open data to improve methods of data sharing will focus on improved methods of data sharing (e.g., data base libraries) to support net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) and the development of decision making tools for selection of response tools and determination of end-points for treatment.
  • Strengthened science communication and engagement plan on oil spill research to build public confidence in Canada’s ability to respond to oil spills, particularly with Indigenous groups. Similarly, the need to build and maintain (via ongoing engagement) positive relationships with Indigenous communities in order to build trust.

Appendix A: Previous Report Findings

Tanker Safety Expert Panel – “A Review of Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime: Setting the Course for the Future” (Part 1, 2013) and “A Review of Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime: Setting the Course for the Future, Phase II and Requirements for the Arctic and for Hazardous and Noxious Substances Nationally” (Part 2, 2014)

Part 1 findings:

The Panel determined that the response regime had “stood the test of time” but that there were a number of improvements that could be made. In particular, regarding oil spill science, they asserted that starting points should be that spill response planning should be based on the specific needs of the geographic area.

Recommendations of the Panel encompassed issues around risk assessment, response planning (including a wildlife aid strategy), strengthening the “polluter pay” principle, enhancing stewardship, remove legislative barriers to alternative response measures, increasing scientific advice for spill preparedness, increased communication, and continuous improvement. They state that “…The Government of Canada should work closely with industry to establish a national research and development program for oil spill preparedness and response….”

Part 2 findings:

Specifically regarding the science of oil spills, they acknowledge that while there has been a significant body of research on oil spills under arctic conditions, knowledge gaps remained that need to be addressed.

Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel - “Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released in Aqueous Environments” (2015).

The Panel found that while the crudes transported in Canada cover a wide range of types from light oils to bitumen, and that their properties determine how rapidly a slick from a spill would spread, sink, or disperse, they concluded that “the overall impact of an oil spill, including the effectiveness of an oil spill response, depends mainly on the environment and conditions (weather, waves, etc.) where the spill takes place and the time lost before remedial operations”. The highest research priorities they identified were (quoting directly from the document):

  1. Research is needed to better understand the environmental impact of spilled crude oil in high-risk and poorly understood areas, such as Arctic waters, the deep ocean and shores or inland rivers and wetlands.
  2. Research is needed to increase the understanding of effects of oil spills on aquatic life and wildlife at the population, community and ecosystem levels.
  3. A national, priority-directed program of baseline research and monitoring is needed to develop an understanding of the environmental and ecological characteristics of areas that may be affected by oil spills in the future and to identify any unique sensitivity to oil effects.
  4. A program of controlled field research is needed to better understand spill behaviour and effects across a spectrum of crude oil types in different ecosystems and conditions.
  5. Research is needed to investigate the efficacy of spill responses and to take full advantage of ‘spills of opportunity’.
  6. Research is needed to improve spill prevention and develop/apply response decision support systems to ensure sound response decisions and effectiveness.
  7. Research is needed to update and refine risk assessment protocols for oil spills in Canada.

Specifically regarding diluted bitumen they found that:

  • There was not enough information to determine if it would be less or more toxic to the environment;
  • More data was needed on diluted bitumen composition and properties;
  • More study was needed regarding evaporative losses from diluted bitumens when spilled and how that affects spill behaviour, for example, adhesion to surfaces.

The United States’ National Academy of Science - “Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A comparative study of environmental fate, effects, and response” (2016)

This study was to determine if the effects on ecosystems of spilled diluted bitumen would be different enough from that of a conventional crude oil to merit changes in regulations regarding spill response. They concluded that:

  • the key differences of diluted bitumen are the high density, viscosity and adhesion properties of the bitumen, and that these will dictate environmental behaviour;
  • The initial environmental processes, behaviour and toxicity of a spill of diluted bitumen is similar to other crudes. As the oil weathers, the bitumen properties have a larger impact on the spill behaviour, and which “…merit special response strategies”;
  • As bitumen weathers they determined that some areas of concern worsened as compared to conventional crudes (e.g. potential to sink, persistence, fouling and coating), while other concerns improved (e.g. air emissions and spreading, aquatic toxicity);
  • They concluded that “the differences in the chemical and physical properties relevant to environmental impact warrant modifications to the regulations governing diluted bitumen spill response plans, preparedness, and cleanup.”

Appendix B: Previous Spills of Diluted Bitumen

Burrard Inlet, BC (2007)

This was a spill that resulted from a backhoe operator smashing into a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen to the marine terminal. About 440 barrels of oil reached the Burrard Inlet. The material that reached the inlet floated and was quickly contained and a significant portion (estimated up to 90%) was recovered using sorbents, skimmers and vacuum trucks (being close to the shore). The calm seas and extremely quick response times led to a relatively successful outcome for the oil that reached the inlet.

Kalamazoo, Michigan (2010)

On July 26, 2010, a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen ruptured, and, due to circumstances at the time (a planned shutdown of the line had been initiated) the rupture went undetected for over two days. About 20,000 barrels reached the Kalamazoo River. The diluted bitumen that reached the nearby river floated, but later became entrained in sediment. While most of the recoverable oil was recovered by skimming and shore cleaning techniques, sub-surface recovery also had to be carried out. Initial conditions: rapidly flowing river and warm temperatures.

For comparison, after the Lac Mégantic explosion and fire on July 6th, 2013, the light Bakken crude entered the Chaudière River as well Lac MéganticFootnote 7. In these case, while some oil floated, some also became entrained in bottom sediment.Footnote 8

Appendix C – Bibliography of Federal Government Diluted Bitumen Spill Science

Publications followed by an asterisk are not peer-reviewed.

Adams, J., Charbonneau, K., Tuori, D., Brown, R.S. and Hodson, P.V. Review of Methods for Measuring the Toxicity to Aquatic Organisms of the Water Accommodated Fraction (WAF) and Chemically-Enhanced Water Accommodated Fraction (CEWAF) of petroleum.DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2017/064. xi + 110 p, 2017.*

Alderman, S. L., Dindia, L. A., Kennedy, C. J., Farrell, A. P. and Gillis, T. E. Proteomic analysis of sockeye salmon serum as a tool for biomarker discovery and new insight into the sublethal toxicity of diluted bitumen, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics. Vol. 22, pp. 157–166, 2017. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Alderman, S. L., Lin, F., Farrell, A. P., Kennedy, C. J. and Gillis, T. E. Effects of diluted bitumen exposure on juvenile sockeye salmon: From cells to performance, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 36, pp. 354–360, 2017. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Alsaadi, F., Hodson, P. V., and Langlois, V. S. An Embryonic Field of Study: The Aquatic Fate and Toxicity of Diluted Bitumen, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Vol. 100(1), pp. 8-13, 2018. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Alsaafin, A., B. Guest, P. Brunswick and B. Fieldhouse, “The Effect of Salt Composition in Artificial Seawater on the Effectiveness of Dispersants”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 844-859, 2017.

Boutet, L., S. Laforest, P.G. Lambert, R. Pourhanifeh, M. Goldthorp, C.E. Brown, J. Harper, L. Britton, and G. Sergy, “Mapping the Penetration and Retention Potential of Two Weathered Diluted Bitumen Crude Oils for the Shorelines of Northern British Columbia, Canada”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 67-81, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Blinov, B., S. Mortazavi, K. Volchek, W. Kuang, C.E. Brown, and P. Azmi, “Chemical Softening of the Oil Sands Produced Water”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 319-350, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

DeCola, E., R. Jones, C. McDougall, and J. Konovsky, Engaging First Nations in Marine Oil Spill Preparedness and Response and Response: Recent Examples from British Columbia, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1155-1165, 2016.

Dettman, H. and Hounjet, L.J., Impacts of Pretreatment on Properties and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen in Water, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 472-493, 2016.

DFO. 2017. A Framework for the Development of Standard Methods to Evaluate the Toxicity of Petroleum Hydrocarbons on Aquatic Organisms. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2017/053.*

DFO. 2018. Status Report on the Knowledge of the Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen in the Aquatic Ecosystem. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. (In Press)*

Dupuis, A., and F. Ucan-Marin, A Literature Review on the Aquatic Toxicology of Petroleum Oil: An Overview of Oil Properties and Effects to Aquatic Biota, DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2015/007. vi + 52 p.

Federal Government, Technical Report: Properties, Composition and Marine Spill Behaviour, Fate and Transport of Two Diluted Bitumen Products from the Canadian Oil Sands; Cat. No. En84–96/2013E–PDF; Government of Canada: Ottawa, ON, Canada, pp. 1–85, 2013. ISBN 978-1-100-23004-7. https://www.ec.gc.ca/scitech/6A2D63E5-4137-440B-8BB3-E38ECED9B02F/1633_Dilbit%20Technical%20Report_e_v2%20FINAL-s.pdf (PDF, 2.26 MB)

Fieldhouse, B., A. Mihailov, and V. Moruz, Weathering of Diluted Bitumen and Implications to the Effectiveness of Dispersants, Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 338-352, 2014.

Fieldhouse, B., A. Alsaafin, S. Dave, C. Jung, K. Watson, and R. Faragher, Results from Effectiveness Testing of Chemical Countermeasures and Sorbent Performance on Oil Sands Products, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 572-607, 2016.

Goldthorp, M., B. Fieldhouse, P.G. Lambert, C. Yang, and C.E. Brown, Oil Profiling Using Portable Instruments, Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 401-414, 2014.

Goldthorp, M., S. Laforest, and P. Lambert, Development of a Field Protocol for Identification of Oils, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 679-686, 2015.

Harper, J., S. Laforest, and G. Sergy, Field Investigations of Intertidal Sediment Permeability Related to Spilled Oil Retention in British Columbia Shorelines, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 631-648, 2015.

Herunter, H., S. Gorgopa, and S. Macdonald, Factors Influencing Intertidal Biota Distribution on BC’s North Coast: Considerations for Oil Spill Contingency Planning and Response, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1047-1062, 2016.

Horn, M. and D. French-McCay, Consequence Analysis for Crude-by-rail Releases into Freshwater Environments, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 641-667, 2016.

Hounjet, L.J., R. Gieleciak, and H.D. Dettman, Photo-oxidation Susceptibility of Diluted Bitumen on Water, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 860-884, 2017.

Hua, Y., F.S. Mirnaghi, Z. Yang, B.P. Hollebone, and C.E. Brown, “Effect of evaporative weathering and oil-sediment interactions on the fate and behavior of diluted bitumen in marine environments. Part 1. Spill-related properties, oil buoyancy, and oil-particulate aggregates characterization”, Chemosphere, Vol. 191, pp. 1038-1047, 2018.

Jahan, N., Fawett, J., King, T.L., McPherson, A., Robertson, K., Werner–Zwanziger, U., and Clyburne, J.A.C. Bitumen on Water: Charred Hay as a PFD (Petroleum Floatation Device). Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Vol. 3, pp. 1244–1259, 2015.

Jarvela Rosenberger, A. L., MacDuffee, M., Rosenberger, A. G. J. and Ross, P. S. Oil Spills and Marine Mammals in British Columbia, Canada: Development and Application of a Risk-Based Conceptual Framework. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Vol. 73, pp. 131–153, 2017. (Project funded by DFO)

King, T.L., B. Robinson, M. Boufadel, and K. Lee, Flume Tank Studies to Elucidate the Fate and Behavior of Diluted Bitumen Spilled at Sea, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 83, pp. 32-37, 2014.

King, T.L., B. Robinson, C. McIntyre, P. Toole, S. Ryan, F. Saleh, M.C. Boufadel, and K. Lee, Fate of Surface Spills of Cold Lake Blend Diluted Bitumen Treated with Dispersant and Mineral Fines in a Wave Tank, Environmental Engineering Science, Vol. 32(3), pp. 250--261, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1089/ees.2014.0459

King, T., B. Robinson, S. Ryan, Y. Lu Q. Zhou, L. Ju, J. Li, P. Sun, and K. Lee, Fate of Chinese and Canadian Oils Treated with Dispersants in a Wave Tank, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 798-811, 2015.

King, T., J. Mason, P. Thamer, G. Wohlgeschaffen, K. Lee, and J.A.C. Clyburne, “Composition of Bitumen Blends Relevant to Ecological Impacts and Spill Response”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 463-475, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017

King, T., Fangda, C., Robinson, B., Boufadel, M., Lee, K., and Clyburne, JAC. Oil spill decision matrix in response to surface spills of various bitumen blends. Royal Society of Chemistry Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, Vol. 19(1), pp. 928-938, 2017.

Laforest, S., P.G. Lambert, J. Duffe, L. Gamble, B. Chaudhary, and C.E. Brown, Studies on the Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen on Marine Shorelines, Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 415-427, 2014.

Laforest, S., P. Lambert, and M. Goldthorp, The Shoreline Studies Program: an Update on Shoreline Surveys and Initial Studies on the Penetration and Retention of Diluted Bitumen into Marine Shoreline Substrates, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 649-663, 2015.

Laforest, S., P.G. Lambert, M. Goldthorp, and B.P. Hollebone, The Development of a Shoreline Oil Spill R&D Program for Diluted Bitumen on Marine Shorelines, Interspill 2015 Conference Proceedings, 9 p., 2015. http://www.interspill.org/previous-events/2015/WhitePapers/Interspill2015ConferenceProceedings/25%20MARCH%202015/Emerging%20Technologies%20&%20Strategies/Shoreline-Oil-Spill-Program-B-Hollebone-Environmental-Canada.pdf (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Laforest, S., M. Shimomura, S. White, L. Atwater, M. Goldthorp, and P.G. Lambert, Coastal World Class Expertise in Northern British Columbia: Summary of a Three-year Program, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1063-1078, 2016.

Laforest, S., Z. Yang, P. Lambert, M. Goldthorp and C. Brown, “The Canadian Oil Spill Shoreline Research Program”, Proceedings of the 2017 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., pp. 1304-1324, 2017. http://ioscproceedings.org/doi/pdf/10.7901/2169-3358-2017.1.1304

Laforest, S., L. Boutet, C. Dumais, L. Atwater, B. Fieldhouse, M. Goldthorp, P.G. Lambert, R. Pourhanifeh, and C.E. Brown, “Baseline Surveys of Marine Coastline in Support to Area Response Planning”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 34-49, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017

Lambert, P., M. Goldthorp, B. Fieldhouse, N. Jones, S. Laforest, and C.E. Brown, Health and Safety Concerns at Dilbit Crude Oil Spills for Environment Canada’s Responders, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 664-678, 2015.

Lambert, P.G., M. Goldthorp, B. Fieldhouse, N.C. Jones, S. Laforest, L. Atwater, and C.E. Brown, Development of Health and Safety Procedures and Training Materials for Dilbit/Synbit Crude Oil Spills for Environment Canada’s Responders, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 554-571, 2016.

Lambert, P.G., M. Goldthorp, B. Fieldhouse, N. Jones, S. Laforest, F. Mirnaghi and C.E. Brown, “Potential Health and Safety Concerns for Oil Spill Responders working in Proximity to Spills of Unconventional Crude Oil”, Proceedings of the 2017 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., pp. 2110-2128, 2017. http://ioscproceedings.org/doi/pdf/10.7901/2169-3358-2017.1.2110

Lee, K.; Bugden, J.; Cobanli, S.; King, T.; McIntyre, C.; Robinson, B.; Ryan, S.; Wohlgeschaffen, G. UV-Epifluorescence Microscopy Analysis of Sediments Recovered from the Kalamazoo River. Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research (COOGER): Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2012. Report to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 2012.*

MacInnis, C.Y., P. Brunswick, G.H. Park, C. Buday, G. Schroeder, B. Fieldhouse, C.E. Brown, G. van Aggelen, and D. Shang, “Acute toxicity of Corexit EC9500A and assessment of dioctyl sulfosuccinate as an indicator for monitoring four oil dispersants applied to diluted bitumen”, Environ Toxicol Chem. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/etc.4065

Madison, B. N., Hodson, P. V. and Langlois, V. S. Diluted bitumen causes deformities and molecular responses indicative of oxidative stress in Japanese medaka embryos, Aquatic Toxicology, Vol. 165, pp. 222–230, 2015. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Madison, B. N., Hodson, P. V. and Langlois, V. S. Cold Lake Blend diluted bitumen toxicity to the early development of Japanese medaka, Environmental Pollution, Vol. 225, pp. 579–586, 2017. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Marcotte, G., P. Bourgouin, G. Mercier, J.-P. Gauthier, P. Pellerin, G. Smith, K. Onu, and C.E. Brown, Canadian Oil Spill Modelling Suite: An Overview, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1026-1034, 2016.

Mirnaghi, F., B.G. Fieldhouse, B.P. Hollebone V. Yuen, and E. Woo, Evaluation of Automatic ASTM D5949 Method for Pour Point Measurement and Prediction of Pour Point from Physical Properties, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1002-1016, 2015.

Mirnaghi, F., M. Goldthorp, A. Nasim, D. Stalinski, A. Alsaafin, B.P. Hollebone, B. Fieldhouse, P. Lambert, Z. Yang, and C.E. Brown, “Evaluation and Validation of Submersible Fluorometer Analytical Response Using a Benchtop Fluorescence Spectrometer: What Oil Fraction is Detected in the Water Column?”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 1015-1030, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Niu, H., Li, S., King, T., and Lee, K., Stochastic modeling of oil spill in the Salish Sea. Expansion oil pipelines in western Canada will significantly increase tanker traffic in the Salish Sea, Proceeding of the twenty-sixth International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference Rhodes, Greece, 2016 ISBN 978-1-880653-88-3; ISSN 1098-6189.

O’Laughlin, C.M., B.A. Law, V.S. Zions, T.L. King, B. Robinson, Y. Wu, 2016. The Dynamics of Diluted Bitumen Derived Oil-Mineral Aggregates, Part I. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3157: viii + 44p.

O’Laughlin, C., Law, B., Zions, V., King, T., Robinson, B., and Wu, Y., Settling of dilbit-derived oil-mineral aggregates (OMAs) & transport parameters for oil spill modelling, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 124, pp. 292-302, 2017.

Pan, Z., L. Zhao, M. C. Boufadel, T. King, B. Robinson, R. Conmy and K. Lee., Impact of mixing time and energy on the dispersion effectiveness and droplets size of oil, Chemosphere, 166, pp. 246-254, 2017.

Reimer, D., S. Laforest, and P. Lambert, “British Columbia Shoreline Mapping – A Comparison between Different Mapping Systems and Uses towards Facilitating Effective Pre-SCAT Mapping and Shoreline Segmentation for Oil Spill Response, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 1-19, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Sergy, G., J. Harper, S. Laforest, and P.G. Lambert, “Scientific Support Information and Response Guidance for Dilbit Spills Impacting Marine Shorelines”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 50-66, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Saint-Louis, R.R., Pelletier, E., Gagné, J.P., Audet, C. Bioaccumulation of Hydrocarbons by the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) Exposed to Conventional and Non-conventional Crude Oils Spilled Under Ice-covered Seawater, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2016. (Research Project funded by DFO)

Taylor, E., S. Laforest, and E. Owens, “Potential Dilbit Residence on Coarse-sediment Shorelines”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 20-33, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Wu, Y., C.G. Hannah, B. Law, T. King, and B. Robinson, An Estimate of the Sinking Rate of Spilled Diluted Bitumen in Sediment Laden Coastal Waters, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 331-347, 2016.

Wu, Y., C.G. Hannah, H. Lau, M. O'Flaherty-Sproul, and X. Wang, A Modelling Study of Influences of Wave-induced Stokes Drift on Trajectories of Oil Spills in Storm Conditions in Hecate Strait, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 151-166, 2016.

Yang, C., C.E. Brown, B. Hollebone, Z. Yang, P. Lambert, B. Fieldhouse, M. Landriault, and Z. Wang, “Chapter 4 - Chemical Fingerprints of Crude Oils and Petroleum Products”, in Oil Spill Science and Technology, 2nd Edition, Gulf Professional Publishing, Boston, MA, USA, pp. 209-304, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809413-6.00004-7

Yang, C., Z. Wang, C.E. Brown, M. Landriault, Z. Yang, B. Hollebone, P. Lambert, and G. Zhang, “Chapter 3 - Fingerprinting Analysis and Source Differentiation of Petroleum-Contaminated Environmental Samples” in Oil Spill Environmental Forensics Case Studies 1st Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann Publishers, Oxford, UK, Eds. Z. Wang and S. Stout, pp. 49-65, 2017.

Yang, C., G. Zhang, S. Aravindan, M. Landriault, Z. Yang, B. Hollebone, P. Lambert, and C.E. Brown, “Improved Oil Analysis Using Gas Chromatography-Quadrupole Time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry (GC-QTOF)”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 1031-1046, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Yang, Z., C. Yang, P. Lambert, M. Goldthorp, S. Laforest, C.E. Brown, M. Landriault, K. Shah, and B.P. Hollebone, A Primary Survey of the Petroleum Related Hydrocarbons in Marine Sediments near Kitimat, British Columbia, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 421-441, 2015.

Yang, Z., B.P. Hollebone, C.E. Brown, S. Laforest, P.G. Lambert, C. Yang, G. Zhang, K. Shah, and M. Landriault, A Primary Survey of the Hydrocarbon Background in Intertidal Marine Sediments along the Shoreline of Douglas Channel to Hecate Strait in British Columbia, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1130-1154, 2016.

Yang, Z., B.P. Hollebone, C.E. Brown, C. Yang, Z. Wang, G. Zhang, P. Lambert, M. Landriault and K. Shah, “The photolytic behavior of diluted bitumen in simulated seawater by exposed to the natural sunlight”, Fuel, Vol. 186, pp. 128-139, 2016.

Yang, Z., B.P. Hollebone, G. Zhang, C.E. Brown, C. Yang, P. Lambert, Z. Wang, M. Landriault and K. Shah, “Fate of Photodegraded Diluted Bitumen in Seawater”, Proceedings of the 2017 International Oil Spill Conference, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C., pp. 2286-2305, 2017. http://ioscproceedings.org/doi/pdf/10.7901/2169-3358-2017.1.2286

Yang, Z., G. Zhang, B.P. Hollebone, C.E. Brown, C. Yang, P. Lambert, Z. Wang, M. Landriault, and K. Shah, “Fate of oxygenated intermediates in solar irradiated diluted bitumen mixed with seawater”, Environmental Pollution, Vol. 231, pp. 622-634, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.08.043

Yang, Z., B. Hollebone, S. Laforest, , P. Lambert, C.E. Brown, C. Yang, K. Shah, M. Landriault and M. Goldthorp, “Occurrence, source and ecological assessment of baseline hydrocarbons in the intertidal marine sediments along the shoreline of Douglas Channel to Hecate Strait in British Columbia”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 122, pp. 450-455, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.05.053

Yang, Z., G. Zhang, B.P. Hollebone, C.E. Brown, C. Yang, P. Lambert, M. Landriault, and K. Shah, “Fate of Oxygenated Components for Solar Irradiated Diluted Bitumen in Saltwater”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 415-440, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Yang, Z., Y. Hua, F. Mirnaghi, B.P. Hollebone, Paula Jackman, C.E. Brown, C.Yang, K. Shah, M. Landriault, and B. Chan, “Effect of evaporative weathering and oil-sediment interaction on the fate and behavior of diluted bitumen in marine environments. Part 2. The water accommodated and particle-laden hydrocarbon species and toxicity of the aqueous phase”, Chemosphere, Vol. 191, pp. 145-155, 2018.

Zhang, G., C. Yang, P.G. Lambert, Z. Yang, K. Shah, M. Landriault, B.P. Hollebone, and C.E. Brown, Characterization of Carboxylic Acids and Related Compounds in Sediment Samples Collected from Douglas Channel, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 535-553, 2016.

Zhang, G., C. Yang, S. Aravindan, M. Landriault, Z. Yang, B. Hollebone, P. Lambert, and C.E. Brown, “Development of Rapid Solid Phase Extraction Method for Separation of Nitrogen Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Oil”, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, pp. 1047-1072, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2017.

Zhao, L., M.C. Boufadel, X. Geng, K. Lee, T. King, B. Robinson and F. Fitzpatrick. A-DROP: A Predictive Model for the Formation of Oil Particle Aggregates (OPA). Marine Pollution Bulletin. 106: 245-259. 2016

Zhao, L., J. Torlapati, T. King, B. Robinson, M.C. Boufadel, and K. Lee, A Numerical Model to Simulate the Droplet Formation Process Resulting from the Release of Diluted Bitumen Products in Marine Environment, 2014 International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, DC, pp. 449-462, 2014.

Zhao, L., J. Torlapati, M.C. Boufadel, T. King, B. Robinson, K. Lee, VDROP: A Comprehensive Model for Droplet Formation of Oils and Gases in Liquids - Incorporation of the Interfacial Tension and Droplet Viscosity, Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 253, pp. 93-106, 2014.

Zhou, J., H. Dettman, and M. Bundred, A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen and Conventional Crudes, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 495-516, 2015.

Appendix D – Bibliography of Other Diluted Bitumen Spill Science

All of these publications are peer-reviewed.

Adams, J., K. Charbonneau, D. Tuori, S. Brown, and P.V. Hodson, The Case for Standardizing Oil Toxicity Test Methods, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 441-462, 2017.

Alderman, S.L., L.A. Dindia, C.J. Kennedy, A.P. Farrell, and T.E. Gillis, Proteomic analysis of sockeye salmon serum as a tool for biomarker discovery and new insight into the sublethal toxicity of diluted bitumen, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part D, Vol. 22, pp. 157-166, 2017,

Alderman, S.L., F. Lin, A.P. Farrell, C.J. Kennedy, and T.E. Gillis, Effects of Diluted Bitumen Exposure on Juvenile Sockeye Salmon: From Cells to Performance, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol.36(2), pp. 354-360, 2017.

Bellizzi, M., and B. Callahan, Wetlands Wildlife Response: CNRL Bitumen Release, Alberta, Canada 2013, Proceedings of the Fortieth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1187-1199, 2017.

Chang, S. E., J. Stone, K. Demes, and M. Piscitelli. Consequences of oil spills: a review and framework for informing planning. Ecology and Society 19(2), p. 26, 2014.

Conmy, R.N., M.G. Barron, J. SantoDomingo and R. Deshpande. Characterization and Behavior of Cold Lake Blend and Western Canadian Select Diluted Bitumen Products. EPA/600/R-17/273 53p. 2017.

Crosby, S. Transporting Alberta Oil Sands Products: Defining the Issues and Assessing the Risks. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS OR&R 43. Seattle, WA: Emergency Response Division, NOAA. 153 pp, 2013.

Committee on the Effects of Diluted Bitumen on the Environment; Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology; Division on Earth and Life Sciences; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response, The National Academies of Sciences – Engineering – Medicine, ISBN 978-0-309-38010-2, http://www.nap.edu/21834

DeCola, E., R. Jones, C. McDougall, and J. Konovsky, Engaging First Nations in Marine Oil Spill Preparedness and Response and Response: Recent Examples from British Columbia, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1155-1165, 2016.

Dew, W. A., Hontela, A., Rood, S. B., and Pyle, G. G. (2015) Biological effects and toxicity of diluted bitumen and its constituents in freshwater systems. J. Appl. Toxicol., 35: 1219–1227, 2015.

Dollhopf, R. J.; Fitzpatrick, F. A.; Kimble, J. W.; Capone, D. M.; Graan, T. P.; Zelt, R. B.; Johnson, R., Response to Heavy, Non-Floating Oil Spilled in a Great Lakes River Environment: A Multiple-Lines-Of-Evidence Approach for Submerged Oil Assessment and Recovery. In Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference, Savannah, GA, 2014; pp. 434-448.

Dupuis, A., and F. Ucan-Marin. A literature review on the aquatic toxicology of petroleum oil: An overview of oil properties and effects to aquatic biota. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2015/007. vi + 52 p. 2015

Expert Tanker Safety Panel. A review of Canada’s ship-source oil spill preparedness and response regime: setting the course for the future. 2013. https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/mosprr/transport_canada_tanker_report_accessible_eng.pdf (PDF, 6.76 MB)

Etkin, D.S., Modeling the Changing Spill Risk of Crude-by-rail Operations, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 608-640, 2016.

Etkin, D.S., Risk of Crude Oil and Bitumen Pipeline Spills in the United States: Analyses of Historical Data and Case Studies (1968-2012), Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 297-316, 2014.

Fingas, M.F., Review of the Properties and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumens, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 470-494, 2015.

Fingas, M.F., and J. Banta, Polar Compounds in Oils and their Aquatic Toxicity, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 197-259, 2016.

Fitzpatrick, F., A. Bejarano, J. Michel, L. Williams, M. Alexander, D. Capone, J. Chapman, M. DeGraeve, M. DeLong, and S. Hamilton, “Net Environmental Benefit Analysis Relative Risk Ranking Conceptual Design”, Report for U.S. EPA, Available from http://www.epa.gov/enbridgespill/ar/enbridge-AR-0963.pdf, 2012.

Fitzpatrick, F.A., M.C. Boufadel, R. Johnson, K. Lee, T.P. Graan, A.C. Bejarano, Z. Zhu, D. Waterman, D.M. Capone, E. Hayter, S.K. Hamilton, T. Dekker, M.H. Garcia and J.S. Hassan. Oil-particle interactions and submergence from crude oil spills in marine and freshwater environments—Review of the science and future science needs: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1076, 33 p., 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151076.

Fitzpatrick, F. A.; Johnson, R.; Zhu, Z.; Waterman, D.; McCulloch, R. D.; Hayer, E. J.; Garcia, M. H.; Boufadel, M.; Dekker, T.; Hassan, J. S.; Soong, D. T.; Hoard, C. J.; Lee, K., Integrated Modeling Approach for Fate and Transport of Submerged Oil and Oil-Partricle Aggregates in a Freshwater Riverine Environment. In Proceedings of the Joint Federal Interagency Conference on Sedimentation and Hydrologic Modeling, Reno, NV, 2015.

Galagan, C., J. Fontenault, and J. Mitchell, Modeling in Support of a Semi Quantitative Risk Assessment for the Northern Gateway Project, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 536-548, 2015.

Green, S.J., K. Demes, M. Arbeider, W.J. Palen, A.K. Salomon, T.D. Sisk, M. Webster, and M.E. Ryan, Oil sands and the marine environment: current knowledge and future challenges, Front. Ecol. Environ. Vol 15(2), pp. 74-83, 2017.

Green, J., L. Postlewaite, and P. Anderson, Context for Assessing Effects on the Biophysical and Human Environment – The Pipeline Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 526-535, 2015.

Hospital, A., J.A. Stronach, and J. Matthieu, A Review of Oil Mineral Aggregates Formation Mechanisms for the Salish Sea and the Lower Fraser River, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 434-454, 2016.

Horn, M. and D. French McCay, Consequence Analysis for Crude-by-rail Releases into Freshwater Environments, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 641-667, 2016.

Horn, M. and D. French-McCay, Trajectory and Fate Modeling with Acute Effects Assessment of Hypothetical Spills of Diluted Bitumen into Rivers, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 549-581, 2015.

Hospital, A. and J.A. Stronach, The Implementation of Molecular Diffusion to Simulate the Fate and Behaviour of a Diluted Bitumen Oil Spill and its Application to Stochastic Modelling, Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 353-373, 2014.

Hospital, A., J. Henderson, P. Mazzocco, A. St.-Amand, M. Stephenson, J.A. Stronach, and H. Ward, Stochastic Spill Modelling in Support of the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) of Hypothetical Pipeline Diluted Bitumen Spills in the Lower Fraser River as Part of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 35-57, 2016.

Lee, K. (chair), M. Boufadel, B. Chen, J. Foght, P. Hodson, S. Swanson, A. Venosa, Expert Panel Report on the Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments, Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 488 pp. 2015. ISBN 978-1-928140-02-3.

Lee, K., M. Boufadel, B. Chen, J. Foght, P. Hodson, S. Swanson, and A. Venosa, High-Priority Research Needs for Oil Spills in Canada: Summary of a Royal Society Expert Panel Report on the Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 966-991, 2016.

Madison, B.N., P.V. Hodson, and V.S. Langlois, Diluted bitumen causes deformities and molecular responses indicative of oxidative stress in Japanese medaka embryos, Aquatic Toxicity, Vol. 165, pp. 222-230, 2015.

Madison, B.N., P.V. Hodson, and V.S. Langlois, Cold Lake Blend diluted bitumen toxicity to early development of Japanese medaka, Environmental Pollution, Vol. 225, pp. 579-586, 2017.

McPherson, K., and E. DeCola, Assessing and Planning for the Local Consequences of Marine Oil Spills: A Case Study from the City of Vancouver, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 1002-1025, 2016.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21834. 2016

National Research Council, Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines. The National Academies Press: Washington, DC, 2013.

Phillibert, D., Philibert, C., Lewis, C., and Tierney, K. Comparison of diluted bitumen (Dilbit) and conventional crude oil toxicity to developing Zebrafish. Environmental Science and Technology, 50, pp. 6091-6098, 2016.

Polaris Applied Science Inc. A comparison of the properties of diluted bitumen crudes with other oils. 2013. https://crrc.unh.edu/sites/crrc.unh.edu/files/comparison_bitumen_other_oils_polaris_2014.pdf (PDF, 762.2 KB)

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Saint-Louis, R., É. Pelletier, J.-P. Gagné, C. Audet, and R. Tremblay, Bioaccumulation of Hydrocarbons by the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) Exposed to Conventional and Non-conventional Crude Oils Spilled under Ice-covered Seawater, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 317-330, 2016.

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Stephenson, M., J. Henderson, A. Hospital, P. Mazzocco, K. Rozalska, J. Stronach, and H. Ward, Energy East Pipeline Project – Marine Oil Spill Fate and Transport Modelling and Stochastic Ecological Risk Assessment for the Bay of Fundy, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 494-517, 2016.

Taylor, E., G. Challenger, J. Rios, J. Morris, M.W. McCarthy, and C. Brown, Dilbit Crude Oil Weathering on Brackish Water: Meso-scale Tests of Behavior and Spill Countermeasures, Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 317-337, 2014.

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Waterman, D. M.; Garcia, M. H. Laboratory Tests of Oil-Particle Interactions in a Freshwater Riverine Environment with Cold Lake Blend Weathered Bitumen; No. 106; University of Illinois: Urbana, Illinois, 2015.

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Yee, D., F.O. Dion, C. Smith, P. Videla, and T. Rodolakis, Human Health Risk Assessment: Acute and Chronic Biological Effects from Hypothetical Releases of Diluted Bitumen into Sensitive Watercourses, Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth AMOP Technical Seminar, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp. 582-606, 2015.

Appendix E – The Oceans Protection Plan

The Oceans Protection Plan (OPP), announced on November 7, 2016, is a national $1.5 billion, five-year plan that includes significant investments to build a world-leading marine safety system and strengthen the environmental stewardship of Canada’s coasts. The OPP is led by Transport Canada in partnership with other federal departments and agencies, including the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

The Ocean’s Protection Plan builds on, and goes significantly beyond, the federal World Class Tanker Safety System (WCTSS) program that started in 2013 in response to an increased volume of oil products being transported across Canada and stakeholder concerns regarding the potential for oil spills in marine and freshwater environments.

The OPP has four pillars: 1) To improve marine safety and responsible shipping; 2) Protect Canada’s marine environment; 3) Strengthen partnerships with indigenous communities; and 4) Invest in science for evidence-based decision making.

Information on the fate and behaviour of all petroleum products spilled in any type of water (salt, brackish or fresh) during all climatic conditions found across Canada is essential for the planning and developing of strategies by Canadian oil spill responders, and those responsible for disaster preparedness planning.

Oceans Protection Plan research program concentrates on:

  • Properties of the spilled petroleum and how they change with a focus on (1) Development of methods to characterize spilled petroleum and correlate field and bench top measurements, (2) Update methods for measuring the toxicity of petroleum, including diluted bitumen, to aquatic organisms, (3) Characterization of petroleum products shipped in Canada, (4) Rapid analysis of products and samples during spills, e.g. fluorescence spectroscopy and (5) Development of operational endpoints for oil spill clean-up.
  • The relevance of environmental conditions at the time of a spill, focusing on enhanced weather and ocean monitoring.
  • Provide the science to support the accuracy of Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA) that will support decision making by oil spill responders based on our understanding of the potential consequences of a spill, the remediation options available, and their effectiveness relative to natural recovery.

These science activities are being used to to minimize environmental, social, and economic impacts and also seek to address priority concerns of Indigenous communities in the region.

Appendix F – Funded Projects for Oil Spill Reponse Technology Development

The table shows only those agreements that have been signed and announced. There are several projects that have been identified for funding but are not yet announced, or are the contracts are yet to be signed with the technology developer.

Proponent Proposal Name Federal Funding
($)
Total Project Costs
($)
Objective
University of Alberta Advanced Membrane-Based Hybrid Process for Oil Spill Removal in Marine Environments 600,000 1,650,000 develop an on-board membrane based hybrid oil/water separation system to increase the capacity of the recovery vessel.
BC Research Inc. The Development of Hybrid Rapid Response Agents to Mitigate the Impact of Oil Spills in Marine Environments 925,896 1,286,480 accelerate the development of a hybrid spill-treating agent (STA) as a rapid response agent to combat marine oil spills at large scale.
Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C-CORE) Development of an Integrated Mechanical Recovery and Oil Spill Response System for Heavy Oil in Cold and Ice Prone Marine Environments 991,505 1,896,905 increase the efficiency of existing mechanical recovery systems in collecting heavy oil dispersed in water columns below the water surface.
University of Toronto Development of In-Situ Foam Filtration System for Oil Spill Recovery 400,000 807,000 develop a sorbent-based direct oil collector (called In-Situ Foam Filtration System or ISFFS). This system will be capable of directly reclaiming the dissolved, emulsified, dispersed, and free oil from marine spill sites.
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