Minister-led Roundtable: Waterways & Coasts - Table Setter


July 4, 2016, 11:00AM to 1:00PM | Vancouver, BC

Table Setter

Discussion Purpose

To hear from a wide-range of perspectives on future directions on the longer-term agenda for transportation in Canada that supports the Government’s objectives for economic growth, a cleaner economy, and a country that remains well-positioned to compete globally.

Roundtable Objective

Identify and explore opportunities to increase the competitiveness of the Canadian marine industry.

Identify options and a path forward that achieves the objectives of improving marine safety and formalizing the moratorium on crude oil while balancing environmental protection with economic objectives.


  • Marine shipping enables Canada’s trade and access to international markets, accounting for seventy-five percent of Canada’s non-U.S. exports and imports. Growth in Canada’s economy and communities will depend on increased shipping activity, which in turn demands public confidence in domestic and international marine safety, security, and environmental protection regimes.
  • Drivers stemming from both social and economic trends provide an opportunity to adapt, expand and diversify Canada’s marine transportation system:
    • Social: increased importance of relationships with Indigenous peoples; rising community expectations on safety, security and environments; requests to review Canada Port Authority governance; environmental impacts and climate change; competition for waterfront and industrial land in urban areas.
    • Economic: Rising natural resource exports; gaps in skilled labour availability; the introduction of competition with international vessel operators; shipping alliances and larger vessels; the low cost of international shipping; new technology and innovation; Panama and Suez canals expansions; evolving supply chains and manufacturing jobs returning to North America; regulatory harmonization with international standards.

Defining Objectives for the Future

  • Define a strategic approach to the marine transportation system to enhance competitiveness and support economic growth without compromising safety or the environment. Ensure Transport Canada’s legislative and policy framework supports this approach.
  • Implement the Minister of Transport’s mandate commitment to improve marine safety as well as put in place a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s north coast in collaboration with his Cabinet colleagues.

Key Index Question

What improvements to the marine transportation system should be undertaken that balance economic growth and enhanced environmental protection and safety, including the implementing of the moratorium on crude oil?

Roundtable Discussion Questions

  1. How can Canadian marine corridors and assets, such as ports and the St. Lawrence Seaway, be positioned competitively vis-à-vis other North American corridors?
  2. Is the existing legislative and policy framework for Canada’s marine industry effective? How might the framework need to evolve going forward in order to foster economic growth and increase the competitiveness of the marine sector?
  3. Is there a more strategic approach to enhance the competitiveness and capacity of the marine transportation system to support Canada’s trade objectives, while supporting environmental protection, safety and the marine industry’s social license?
  4. What are the most important issues to be addressed by the Government commitment to improve marine safety and a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic in Northern BC?
  5. What are the most important actions that could be taken to address these issues and improve marine safety?
  6. With respect to a moratorium, what approach could best ensure that the environment is protected in the context of broader marine safety efforts and any economic impact on communities is minimized?