AMERICAS: Canada unveils next phase of its Oceans Protection Plan
Canada's Transport and Fisheries Ministers yesterday (26 July) announced over £384 million in funding to strengthen marine safety as part of the next phase of the country's Oceans Protection Plan. The funding announced yesterday is part of the Canadian government Budget 2022 commitment to provide £2 billion over nine years to renew the Oceans Protection Plan - which was first introduced in 2016 - and 'expand its work into new areas'. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra commented: 'A strong marine safety system is one that adapts to our changing environment, economy, and society.
As we continue our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to the important work of the Oceans Protection Plan, I am confident that Canadians will benefit from a world-class marine safety system that gives them access to the goods and services they need daily, that protects our ecosystems, and connects them to the rest of the world.' Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, added: 'With the longest coastline in the world, Canada's waterways are an essential part of daily life. Canadians need to feel confident that critical shipping lanes will remain open and safe, and that they can depend on a strong marine safety system.
Thanks to the renewal of the Oceans Protection Plan, Indigenous Peoples, coastal communities, and mariners can rest assured that help on the water will be available should it be needed.' The launch of the overall £2 billion package for the 'next phase' of the Oceans Protection Plan was announced by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday last week (19 July) - and it is in addition to the £1.5 billion initially announced in 2016. In addition to 'enhancing the protection and restoration of vulnerable marine ecosystems and wildlife' and 'better manage marine traffic navigation and marine incidents of all types', the Oceans Protection Pan aims to Improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of Canada's marine supply chains and mitigate their impacts on the environment'.
Trudeau described the initiative as a 'Canadian success story' and maintained that: 'By expanding the Oceans Protection Plan and continuing to work with Indigenous and coastal communities across the country, we will accelerate our efforts to ensure Canada's marine and coastal areas remain healthy, clean, and safe for generations to come.' The climate NGO Stand.earth, however, questioned the plan's track record and also described the next-phase announcement as 'yet another missed opportunity to prevent ships from treating our coastline like their personal toilet bowl'. Anna Barford, Stand.earth's Canada Shipping Campaigner, contrasted the Canada's government's efforts with the more forthright policies being pursued by their US neighbours.
'Transport Canada claims that the OPP is a Canadian success story,' said Barford, 'but a toilet bowl and ocean acidification on tap are hardly successful policy choices for the coast.
Our neighbours in Puget Sound, the State of Alaska and California have all brought in policy solutions to protect the coast, so why is Canada legalising pollution instead of preventing it?'
Click here to access the Canadian Government's information page on the Oceans Protection Plan.