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Archived - Increasing monitoring of ships to detect pollution in Canada's waters

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February 19, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Transport Canada

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced new funding to increase the number of flights to monitor and detect pollution from ships in Canada’s waters.

The National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) is one of the main pillars of the Government of Canada’s Pollution Prevention Program and is the government’s primary tool for detecting ship-source pollution.

The Government of Canada is now approximately doubling funding for the program, to $47.6M over the next five years. This funding allows for significantly more flight hours to detect pollution.

There has been a noticeable decline in the number of spills observed since the program was established in 1991. The surveillance fleet consists of three modernized aircraft strategically placed across the country. The information generated by Environment Canada’s Integrated Satellite Tracking of Pollution program serves as an early warning indication for areas of potential pollution to assist the NASP crew in performing surveillance activities on Canada’s coastal waters.

Evidence gathered, along with information from satellite monitoring reports, is forwarded to the appropriate government departments and international partners to investigate and enforce domestic and international laws and conventions.

This announcement is one of a number of measures that are part of the World-Class Tanker Safety System, announced in March 2013. Transport Canada will also strengthen the current requirements for pollution prevention and response at oil handling facilities, through amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Quick Facts

  • Nationally, the surveillance hours flown will increase from 2,080 to 3,750 hours.
  • On the West Coast, for the next three years, surveillance hours will be increased from 500 to 700 hours, and then to 1,200 hours in 2016/17 and beyond.
  • Aerial surveillance of tankers in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Harbour has already increased, as well as surveillance in Prince Rupert and Kitimat.


“Our government has zero tolerance towards polluting Canada’s marine environment. That is why we have doubled the funding for surveillance and monitoring of ships to detect pollution in Canada’s waters.”

“Tanker traffic has increased, and through our government’s plan for Responsible Resource Development, we are ensuring the safe and reliable transport of energy resources through our waterways.”
The Honourable Lisa Raitt,
Minister of Transport

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Ashley Kelahear
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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