Canada's Transport Minister John Baird announced proposed regulations to improve security for domestic ferry services. Under the proposed regulations, operators would be required to have security plans in place to help detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting domestic ferries and facilities.
These measures are designed to safeguard ferry operators and their employees, adjacent communities, ferry workers and the Canadian public. The new security requirements would affect eight domestic ferry operators, 20 ferry routes and 32 ferry facilities, most of which are already voluntarily complying with the proposed regulations.
"Domestic ferries are an essential link in the transportation system and these proposed regulations would reinforce Canada's ongoing commitment to the safety and security of Canadians," said Baird. "These measures are an important component of our government's overall strategy to promote a safe, secure, and efficient transportation system that contributes to Canada's economic development."
Currently, Canada regulates internationally bound passenger ferries, as stipulated in the Marine Transportation Security Regulations. Since Canadian domestic ferries move more than 40 million passengers and 17 million vehicles annually, and employ close to 7,000 people, it is important to establish a regulatory security regime for this industry. In addition, the proposed regulations would also enhance Canada's security preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as several of the ferry routes are close to game venues.
The proposed regulations were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on September 19, 2009. A 30day comment period began on that date, during which time interested parties may provide their views to Transport Canada. After proper consideration is given to the comments received, Transport Canada will proceed to obtain final approval and publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II, at which time the regulations will come into force.