How Canada Responds to Ship-Source Oil Spills

Hover over a red button on the picture to learn more about how the Government of Canada leads the clean-up from ship-source oil spills.


Vessels in Canadian waters must report oil spills immediately to the Canadian Coast Guard and polluters are responsible for and must pay for the spill clean-up. Each oil spill is unique and therefore the clean-up method varies depending on many factors such as weather, location, and spill size.

When an oil spill is reported, the Canadian Coast Guard leads the response as the Federal Incident Commander. They assess the initial situation and notify response partners. Those response partners include Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, certified oil spill response organizations, the provincial or territorial government, and Indigenous and coastal communities.

After the oil is cleaned up, the Government of Canada conducts enforcement investigations into the causes of the spill and works with the polluter and response partners to recover the costs of the clean-up.

The national $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways, while growing our economy. With this Plan, future generations will continue to enjoy and benefit from our coasts and waterways the way we do now. The plan is improving marine safety and responsible shipping, protecting Canada’s marine environment, and offering new possibilities for Indigenous and coastal communities.