Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

These are established and managed under the Oceans Act, National Wildlife Act, and the National Parks Act. In all instances, marine protected areas strive to achieve ecological objectives that may involve certain restrictions on the operations of ships. Canada is striving to meet International Biodiversity targets of protecting ten per cent of coastal waters by 2020 and the marine transportation sector is supportive of achieving these objectives. 

Some conservation initiatives in British Columbia are being co-managed between Canada, British Columbia, and First Nations. This innovative approach is underway in the Northern British Columbia where a network of marine protected areas is being developed for implementation in 2020.


Technical Standards 

Canada is a party to numerous international treaties through the International Maritime Organization. Many of these conventions require technical standards relating to the operations of vessels and technical standards for addressing emissions. Canada is implementing the International Ballast Water Convention to stop the spread of harmful invasive species globally. This convention demands that ship owners install systems in ships that will treat the large volume of ballast water in ships prior to it being discharged in another port. Canada and the Canadian marine sector have been leaders in developing solutions to invasive species.


Species at Risk

Canada protects threatened and endangered species through various legislative tools, the most predominant of which is the Species at Risk Act. This legislation identifies both species and the habitat that is critical to a species’ survival. A very prominent endangered species is the Southern Resident Killer Whale. The marine transportation sector has been working with partners, including the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA), First Nations representatives, the scientific and conservation sectors to facilitate research and develop mitigation measures to address acoustic and physical disturbance caused by commercial shipping. This ground-breaking initiative has been facilitated by the VFPA through the Enhancing Cetaceans Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program. In 2019, marine industry partners and the Government of Canada entering into a five-year Conservation Agreement to continue the innovative work started through ECHO. This agreement was the first of its kind for an aquatic species in Canada.