Legislation to Protect Canada's Arctic Waters

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

To better protect Canadian Arctic waters from ship-source pollution, Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird, announced that Bill C-3, an Act to amend the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, came into force on August 1, 2009. The amended Act also allows Canada to exercise greater control over these waters.

"The passage of this legislative amendment is welcome news. Our government has taken action to protect the fragile marine environment in the North, and re-affirm our commitment to its preservation," said Baird. "The amendment enables Canada to exercise its authority over a greater area, which will better protect our Arctic waters from pollution for generations to come."

The updated Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act strengthens Canada's ability to guard against pollution from ships in an expanded area. Under the amended Act, Canada has jurisdiction to enforce Canadian environmental laws and shipping regulations in Arctic waters up to 200 nautical miles offshore, doubling the area of coverage previously provided for under the Act.

The expansion of coverage of the Arctic shipping legislation is directly linked to the Government of Canada's integrated Northern Strategy, which commits the government to ensuring a sustainable and comprehensive approach to Arctic shipping. It complements Arctic initiatives already put in place under the Health of the Oceans component of the National Water Strategy.

Bill C-3, an Act to amend the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act received Royal Assent on June 11, 2009.

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