How to get compensation for a ship-source spill

In Canada, the polluter pays. The ship and cargo owner are responsible even if the pollution is accidental. After an incident, a claim can be made to the shipowner or their insurer. If a shipowner’s liability doesn’t cover the full cost of recovery, international and domestic funds funded by the oil industry are available. Anyone in Canada who has suffered damage or experienced costs from ship-source oil pollution can file a claim with Canada’s Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund. If your claim is eligible, you will be compensated.

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What is an eligible claim?

Eligible claims can include:

  • pollution prevention measures
  • clean-up costs
  • property damage
  • fishing and tourism losses
  • subsistence loss (i.e. food sources)
  • Environmental remediation costs

My fishing gear and catch were damaged by a spill, what can I claim?

You can claim damage to your gear, the cost of your lost catch, and loss of fish you would have caught.

If your ability to fish, or obtain fish for food, social or ceremonial purposes is impacted, you can submit a claim.

How long do I have to submit a claim?

Your claim must describe the incident, the expenses, and loss or damage. Your claims should include documents, like:

  • Invoices
  • Photographs
  • Explanatory notes
  • Account ledgers

What do I need to submit a claim?

Claims are accepted up to 2 years from the date of damage, but no more than 5 years after the incident.

If your claim is under $35,000 and is submitted within 1 year after the incident, you can be compensated within 60 days.

Where does the money come from?

Canada’s Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund is funded by the oil industry. Once a claim is paid, the amount is recovered from the polluter and returned to the Fund for future claims.

If we determine that a ship-source spill is a crime, meaning that the ship intentionally polluted or acted carelessly, the ship and its owner can be taken to court and fined.


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