Stronger incident prevention and response

In the 1970s, there was a major oil spill in Canada almost every two weeks. By 2017, there have been roughly 1.7 major spills per year in Canada. This large decrease has happened even though more oil than ever is being transported by water, vessels are getting larger and are carrying more oil onboard. Canada's marine safety system has been the difference-maker.

This system must continue to evolve to be as effective at protecting the environment as Canadians expect. As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, we've further improved how Canada responds to marine emergencies. This helps us protect our coasts and Canadians at sea.

Actions being taken

Expanding liability and compensation for marine incidents 

Ensuring that the polluter pays when there is a marine spill in Canadian waters.

Renewing the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary 

Increasing funding for the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a network of non-profit organizations that expand on-water response capacity. 


Improving Canada's response to hazardous and noxious substances

Preventing and preparing response to marine spills involving goods other than oil. 

Expanding Canada’s communication portal for integrated incident response 

Modernizing how the Canadian Coast Guard collaborates with coastal communities and shares information about Canada's waterways.


Increasing scientific support to respond to environmental emergencies

Delivering timely expert scientific and technical advice and increasing enforcement capacity during environmental emergencies.  

Enhancing Canada’s Arctic Marine Response Station 

Extending Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue services in the North by purchasing purpose-built vessels and expanding the operational season to better align with community activities. 


Analyzing risk of maritime search and rescue delivery

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Risk-Based Analysis of Maritime Search and Rescue Delivery is a process to identify, assess, and address risks in search and rescue areas.

Developing Canada’s strategy for environmental recovery from oil spills

Guiding long-term recovery efforts following ship-source oil spills.


Preparing for and responding to marine pollution

Preparing for and being ready to respond to all types of marine pollution.

Creating a national oil spill research program

Expanding oil research and spill response science by creating a consolidated national oil spill research program.


Launching a Heiltsuk Marine Emergency Response Team 

Establishing the Heiltsuk Marine Emergency Response Team as a third-party responder in Canada’s marine preparedness and response system.

Acquiring pollution response vessels

Purchasing new pollution response vessels to help respond to oil spills.


Multi-Partner Research

Increasing knowledge about the impact of spills on organisms, develop new technologies and protocols for clean-up, and support science-based decisions that minimize impacts to the environment and habitat recovery.

Establishing a National Integrated Marine Response Planning Program 

Developing a new national program for marine spill response planning.


Establishing coastal marine response teams

Coastal Marine Response Teams will enhance coordination of first responders during marine incidents.

Enhancing marine emergency management 

Strengthening the laws, regulations, and policies for managing marine incidents. 


Strengthening Oil Spill Response and Environmental Protection: Alternative Response Measures

Access to a broad range of response tools for oil spills.

Improving drift prediction and near-shore modelling

Developing high-resolution models of ocean conditions in additional key Canadian ports and areas of concern.


Improving environmental response community caches in the Arctic

Improving preparedness to respond to oil spills in the Arctic by setting up community environmental response equipment supply in more communities that are at a higher risk of oil spills

Improving Canada’s marine emergency towing capacity

Increasing Canada’s emergency towing capacity to rescue vessels in distress and avoid potential marine incidents.


Increasing scientific support to respond to environmental emergencies

Delivering timely expert scientific and technical advice and increasing enforcement capacity during environmental emergencies.