Government of Canada supports removal of abandoned boats in British Columbia through the Oceans Protection Plan
November 30, 2018 Victoria, British Columbia Transport Canada
Abandoned boats are a growing problem across Canada. The Government of Canada, through its Oceans Protection Plan, is working hard to deter this irresponsible practice. Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced the most recent applicants to receive funding to support the assessment, removal and disposal of abandoned boats in Canadian waters.
Under the Abandoned Boats Program, a total of $412,475 will be provided to assess one boat and remove 18 in British Columbia. The recipients are:
- Salish Sea Industrial Services (Victoria) – removal of 17 boats ($404,350)
- Township of Esquimalt – assessment of one boat ($2,500) and removal of one boat ($5,625)
Salish Sea Industrial Services is an Indigenous-owned and operated marine construction, maintenance and support services company in Victoria. The 17 boats being removed by Salish Sea Industrial Services are in three locations on Salt Spring Island. The company previously received funding under the Abandoned Boats Program to support the removal of four boats in Victoria Harbour, and this project was completed.
The Abandoned Boats Program is investing $6.85 million for abandoned boat assessment, removal and disposal, and for research and education initiatives, under the Oceans Protection Plan. Launched in November 2016, the five-year, $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Over the past two years, the Government of Canada has invested in hundreds of projects that are making our marine safety system stronger, and protecting our coastal environments and marine species more than ever before. Based on the latest science and technology, Indigenous partnerships and collaboration, these projects bring us closer to healthier, cleaner and safer oceans.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support this collaboration of municipalities, industry, and Indigenous groups, working together to improve our coasts and waterways for future generations. As we mark the two-year anniversary of the Oceans Protection Plan this month, we renew our commitment to meaningful action to safeguard Canadian waters as a critical resource and a source of pride.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
“Abandoned boats are a threat to marine ecosystems, aquatic species and the livelihood of fish harvesters. Our government is proud to take action to address these boats under our historic Oceans Protection Plan. We are continuing this ongoing work with all our partners to ensure healthy and prosperous coastal communities for generations to come.”
The Honourable Jonathon Wilkinson
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Since May 31, 2017, the Abandoned Boats Program has launched three calls for proposals for projects to be funded through grants and contributions, the most recent of which remains open until March 31, 2019. To date, funding has been approved to assess 87 boats for a total of $267,560, and to remove 38 boats for a total of $546,721.
Under the program, priority may be given to applications from Indigenous organizations, as well as those from provincial and territorial governments, those involving multiple boats, and applications for boats posing greater risks to human safety or the environment.
To help stem the flow of problem vessels, the Government of Canada has also proposed new legislation. The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (Bill C-64) would increase vessel owner liability, and strengthen the Government’s response in cases where owners do not behave responsibly with regards to disposal of their boats.
Other important measures undertaken by the Government of Canada include improving vessel owner identification, creating an inventory of vessels and assessing their risks, and establishing a polluter pays approach for vessel clean-up.
In another improvement to British Columbia’s coast, Transport Canada announced yesterday that a contract for an underwater listening station with “hydrophones” will be awarded shortly to a Canadian firm for approximately $9.5 million. This one-of-a-kind hydrophone station will be deployed in the Southern Resident Killer Whale’s critical habitat, at Boundary Pass in the Salish Sea, another key achievement for British Columbia’s coast.