Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, said the proposed legislation will proactively deal with wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels. Bill C-64 will also bring the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 into force of law in Canada. It is one of several measures the Government of Canada has committed to delivering and implementing under the Oceans Protection Plan.
As explained, preventing abandoned vessels and reducing the impacts from wrecked and hazardous vessels will improve environmental protections and increase economic opportunities through tourism and fishing. At the same time, these actions will reduce local threats to human health and safety while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come.
In particular, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act is expected to:
- prohibit vessel abandonment;
- strengthen owner responsibility and liability for hazardous vessels and wrecks, including costs for clean-up and removal; and
- empower the Government of Canada to take proactive action on hazardous vessels before they become more costly to Canadians.
“Holding vessel owners accountable for their actions is an important step in ensuring Canadians are not burdened by the effects of wrecked and abandoned vessels, nor responsible for their clean-up costs... This will give the shore back to the communities and protect our coasts and the quality of our water. The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand,” stated Mr. Garneau.
Under the Oceans Protection Plan, inaugurated in November 2016, the Government of Canada has already invested more than $450 million.
In September, Fisheries and Oceans Canada launched a five-year $1.3 million Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Removals Program.
In May 2017, Transport Canada also launched a five-year $6.85 million Abandoned Boats Program, which provides funding support for the removal and disposal of hazardous small boats, helps educate boat owners about responsibly managing their end-of-life boats, and supports research on boat recycling.