Canada Unveils New Arctic Shipping Safety Regulations

Transport Canada has introduced new Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations which incorporate the Polar Code into Canada’s domestic legislation. 

As explained, the move comes in an effort “to uphold the Government of Canada’s high standards for marine shipping in the north”.

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the Polar Code), which entered into force on January 1, 2017, addresses the hazards encountered by certain vessels that operate in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Polar Code and Canada’s new regulations include safety and pollution prevention measures, such as those related to vessel design and equipment, vessel operations and crew training.

In addition, Transport Canada is taking action to protect its coasts and support safe and responsible shipping in Arctic waters through the Oceans Protection Plan. Marc Garneau, the country’s Minister of Transport, unveiled in August 2017 more than CAD 175 million (around USD 140 million) in funding to help protect Arctic waters.

As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the government committed to reviewing the Pilotage Act to support the delivery of “safe, efficient and environmentally responsible pilotage services”. The ongoing review addresses a wide range of topics including governance, safety, labor models, tariffs, economic considerations and emerging issues, including pilotage in the north.

The CAD 1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is said to be the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.

“These new regulations demonstrate Canada’s leadership on the international stage when it comes to shipping safety and pollution prevention in the Arctic. Under the Oceans Protection Plan, we will continue to protect the safety of those who travel on Canada’s waters and safeguard our coasts for future generations,” Garneau commented.

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