Theme II - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

Marine shipping is critical to Canada's economy and the movement of goods by sea is becoming increasingly important as trade with Asia and other international trading partners continues to grow. A dominant feature of marine transportation is its international dimension, which shapes the policy, regulatory and competitive environment. These conditions underpin the need for largely international governance of marine issues, in marine safety and environmental issues in particular, which is done mainly through the International Maritime Organization. 

The movement of goods by sea carries with it a range of possible environmental consequences for the marine environment and water quality. For example, accidental oil spills in the marine environment are prominent in the public eye when they occur, and have immediate and obvious negative consequences for the environment and the health of local communities. Water–borne spills of hazardous and noxious substances can also cause serious damage to human health and the environment.

Transport Canada develops and administers policies, regulations and programs to: protect the marine environment; reduce the impact on the environment of marine pollution incidents in Canadian waters; and, promote the safety of the general public.

Transport Canada's Commitments

Transport Canada's commitments under Theme II – Maintaining Water Quality and Availability are listed below. Clicking on a commitment will bring you to more detailed information.

It is important to note that the numbering of these implementation strategies comes directly from the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Goal 3: Water Quality

3.8.2 Implement programs to prevent pollution and respond to environmental incidents, including spills. (TC)

3.8.3 Provide advice on garbage, ballast water, sewage and other marine pollution to support Canadian positions in international commitments. (TC, EC)

3.8.4 Collect required data to support International Maritime Organization, the United Nations Environmental Programme and other domestic and international organizations. (TC, EC)

3.8.5 Ensure compliance with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and its regulations that set controls for ships to manage ballast water and marine pollution as well as the controls on ships' discharges set out under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (TC)

3.8.6 Implement a national regime for preparedness and response to maritime hazardous and noxious substances incidents. (TC)

3.8.7 Monitor and regulate discharges from marine vessels into the marine environment through inspections and the detection of oil discharges using the National Aerial Surveillance Program which may result in investigations and enforcement actions. (TC)

3.8.8 Monitor and regulate Canada's Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response regime to ensure private industry maintains the required capacity to respond to oil spills caused by marine transportation. (TC)

3.8.9 Advance positions that can influence global rules and practices on dumping waste at sea and other marine pollution matters. (EC, TC)

3.8.10 Manage research and development, develop partnerships, support and/or conduct technology development (emerging and forward–looking) to improve pollution prevention technologies and manage risks for marine transportation. (TC)

3.8.11 Advance Canadian positions on reducing and managing global marine pollution from ships. (TC)

3.8.12 Support the adoption by Canada of Marine Environmental Protection Committee (International Maritime Organization) requirements where applicable. (TC)

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