On May 12th, the Government introduced the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament. This Act will deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to formalize a crude oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast. This proposed moratorium will complement the existing voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone, which has been in place since 1985.
This legislation will prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. It will provide a high level of protection for the coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The proposed moratorium area extends from the Canada/United States border in the north, down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and also includes Haida Gwaii.
Vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil as cargo will continue to be permitted in the moratorium area to ensure northern communities can receive critical shipments of heating oils and other products. The legislation proposes strong penalty provisions for contravention that could reach up to $5 million.
Since January 2016, the Government of Canada has held approximately 75 engagement sessions to discuss improvements to marine safety and formalizing the oil tanker moratorium. The Government has consulted extensively with Indigenous groups, and has also consulted with industry stakeholders and communities across Canada.
The proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is another action that the Government of Canada is taking to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. The Government has also committed $1.5B to the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) – the largest investment ever made in our coasts and waterways. The OPP is a national strategy to create a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for our kids and grandkids.