November 8, 2004

Marine polluters will face fines up to $1 million

OTTAWA, ONT-Federal legislation providing enhanced protection of Canada's marine environments and much stiffer penalties for polluters was presented for Second Reading last week in the House of Commons. Bill C-15, An Act to Amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994) and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999) calls for increased fines of up to $1 million and additional powers for enforcement officials to redirect and detain ships suspected of having polluted Canada's ocean waters. The legislation is designed to make the enforcement of marine pollution cases more effective by tightening up existing loopholes, enabling the judicial system to prosecute offenders and to levy fines that appropriately reflect the damages caused to the environment. The amendments will deal with the flaws exposed by recent court cases and will send a clear message that the discharge of oily waste in Canadian waters is unacceptable. Amending these pieces of environmental legislation will also complement the Canada Shipping Act (2001) and will result in better co-operation among Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada, the departments responsible for protecting Canada's ocean waters. Each year, an average of at least 300,000 seabirds are killed off the coast of Atlantic Canada as a result of oily bilge from passing ships.
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