[Michael Keenan, Deputy Minister, Transport Canada]:
Canada is a maritime nation with the longest coastline in the world, large navigable waterways, and many ports of call in the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans.
Now, because much of Canada’s trade is carried by ships, we depend on maritime trade to sustain our economy.
[Julie Gascon, Director General of Marine Safety and Security, Transport Canada]:
We also understand the vital role the International Maritime Organization plays as the primary regulator of international shipping, and recognize the critical forum it provides to improve marine safety and security and to prevent pollution.
As a member of the IMO since its creation in 1948, Canada is a strong contributor on a number of wide ranging issues.
Some of our top priorities include pollution prevention, protection of marine ecosystems, gender equality, advancing modernization of the IMO, and the rights of seafarers.
Canada is a longstanding supporter of the World Maritime University and has funded the Canadian Chair in Marine Environmental Protection since 2006.
The Human Element is of great importance to Canada and we have worked hard both at home and internationally to ensure that the safety, health, and wellbeing of seafarers are protected at all times.
Canada is also continuing to advance gender equality by working to remove barriers and promoting diversity domestically and internationally.
Advancing work on environmental issues remains a priority for Canada.
This is why we are committed to implementing the Initial IMO strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, reducing black carbon emissions in the Arctic, and working with other Member States to advance work addressing bio-fouling and ballast water management.
We have also implemented the Hazardous and Noxious Substances Protocol, continue to address the issue of ship-source pollution, and are working to combat the effect of underwater noise on marine mammals.
As an Arctic nation, Canada has played a leading role in the development of the Polar Code at the IMO, leveraging over 50 years of experience as a world leader in the oversight of Arctic shipping.
We are also working to proactively address global maritime safety and security issues by participating in annual capacity building exercises in Eastern and Western Africa.
Given Canada’s geographic characteristics, active involvement in maritime trade, and history of leadership at the IMO, Canada would like to continue collaborating with Council Members and play a leadership role in IMO activities.