Canada’s ability to support safe and efficient marine transportation is essential to growing and diversifying Canadian international trade. To date, Canada has enjoyed solid growth in trade despite significant vulnerability and uncertainty in global markets. This growth in trade has also resulted in increased demand for commercial marine transportation services.
A competitive Canadian marine transportation framework should include:
1. A single or integrated Maritime Authority charged with ensuring safe and sustainable shipping in Canadian waters.
The Government of Canada should initiate a comprehensive review of the governance of marine transportation as it relates to marine safety and the protection of Canada’s coastal waters. Such a review should consider:
- An amalgamated entity that has the expertise along with clear policies, and regulatory and operational authority for the safety and protection of the environment as it relates to commercial and recreational vessels.
- The current multiple approaches to evaluating risk posed from marine shipping across the country and between different Federal departments, Indigenous groups, agencies, and authorities;
- The need for a clear governance framework between Federal departments and Indigenous groups that specifies roles and responsibilities in developing marine protected and conservation areas and managing species at risk;
- The absence of a cohesive and consistent approach to evaluating and forecasting the cumulative impacts of vessel activity
- The ongoing requirement for new research and investment in innovation and technologies.
2. To establish an interagency coordinating body that works with industry in developing a cohesive and world-leading marine transportation system.
The Government of Canada should continue with regulatory reform and modernizing policies and procedures with a clear mandate to develop a competitive, secure and efficient operational environment for marine transportation. The work of a coordinating body should include,
- The integration of commercial data with the federal government, especially as it relates to cargo types and cargo quantities that can assist in better planning and productivity throughout the supply chain;
- Benchmarking Canadian ports’ performance against competing ports.
- Eliminating the duplication of reporting and establishing a single window for reporting marine conveyance data and adopting the guidelines set out by the IMO Facilitation Committee for electronic data exchange;
- Progressing strategies that will anticipate and adapt to changes in international shipping and data sharing.
The International Maritime Organization outlines the importance of a cohesive National Maritime Transport Strategy and the steps that need to be taken.