Transport Minister David Collenette announced the appointment of an expert panel to assist him in conducting a review of the Canada Marine Act (CMA). Richard Gaudreau will serve as Chair, and Allan Donaldson, David Gardiner, and Frank Metcalf will serve as panellists. The announcement was made at the National Marine Conference in Toronto, which is being hosted by Collenette.
"This expert panel will consult with stakeholders across the country in order to identify ways to streamline and enhance the Canada Marine Act," said Collenette. "I am pleased that these experienced and qualified individuals have agreed to take on this responsibility, and I look forward to their report and recommendations."
The CMA established the first single, comprehensive piece of legislation to govern many aspects of Canada's marine sector. It allowed port operations to be put into the hands of local users by establishing 19 Canada Port Authorities, which, under the Act, have the autonomy and flexibility to operate according to business principles and local needs. The Port Authorities have been successful in increasing competition and creating greater efficiency in the marine sector. Under the CMA, the operational control of the Canadian portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway was transferred to a not-for-profit entity controlled by the users of the system. It also led to improved operations of Pilotage authorities, and further commercialization of federal ferry services. Overall, the Act has reduced costs and improved the efficiency of Canada's marine system.
The CMA, which received Royal Assent in June 1998, contains a provision requiring that a review of the Act be completed during the fifth year after it has received Royal Assent. The review will examine issues related to the implementation of the CMA, with particular emphasis on the provisions of the Act, and assess the functioning of the marine sector under the new legislative regime.
The primary role of the panel is to undertake consultations with stakeholders. Panel members will travel to selected locations across the country to hear stakeholder views. The final report
of the panel (with recommendations) must be submitted in early 2003, so that the Minister of Transport may complete the review by June 2003.
"I am pleased to announce this review at the National Marine Conference, where so many marine industry stakeholders have assembled," said Mr. Collenette.
This conference, with the theme "From Vision to Reality – Charting the Course," addresses the need to ensure that marine issues continue to be incorporated into the broader transportation and economic picture. The event will bring together a wide range of public and private decision-makers, as well as marine industry stakeholders, to exchange views on the issues facing the Canadian marine industry. Discussions on crucial issues, including safety and security, labour and skills, competitiveness, and infrastructure and technology, will also take place.
"This event is an excellent forum for industry members of the marine transportation sector and the government to meet and exchange ideas," added Mr. Collenette. "While Canada boasts a world-class marine system, we are continually looking for ways to enhance it. This conference will lead to innovative ideas and practices that will help us put an even better marine system in place."