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Canada Ratifies Numerous Maritime Agreements

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

01 December 2009

The Canadian government has ratified internationally-recognized agreements to reduce air and water pollution emitted by ships in Canadian waters, and to improve measures to ensure the safety of vessels, goods and workers.

The agreements build on actions taken previously, including the introducing of the Clean Air Act in 2007. They include:

  • The International Maritime Organization and International Labour Organization conventions, which will inter alia, reduce pollution, protect biodiversity, create economic opportunities for Canadian companies; and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian fleets; and
  • The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, which will provide good working conditions for seafarers in Canada and abroad.

"Ratifying these conventions will demonstrate Canada's commitment to adopting uniform international standards for maritime safety and protecting the marine environment," observed Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, continuing:

"We are taking action to protect public health, the environment and biodiversity, and to promote fair labour standards here and abroad."

"This is one more way for Canada to ensure environmentally responsible shipping while creating economic opportunities for Canadian companies," added Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird. "It will confirm the reputation of Canadian ships as quality carriers that meet international environmental and safety standards."

"These changes will mean less garbage and ship sewage polluting Canadian waters," added Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment. "This is one more example of our government's commitment to working with the United States and other countries to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions."

The conventions were tabled in the House of Commons on October 9, 2009, followed by a period of 21 sitting days to inform members of Parliament and to give the House of Commons an opportunity to comment on the treaties. The 21 sitting days ended on November 23, 2009, and the agreements will enter into force soon.

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