Transportation 2030: Waterways, Coasts and the North

From Transport Canada

“Waterways, Coasts and the North” is one theme under Transportation 2030, the Government of Canada’s strategic plan for a safe, secure, green, innovative and integrated transportation system.

On this page

Our goal for this theme

  • Build world class marine corridors that are competitive, safe and environmentally sustainable
  • Enhance Northern transportation infrastructure

What Canadians told us

In 2016, we consulted Canadians about our transportation system. Here is what they told us about waterways, coasts and the North:

  • We need to make marine transportation safer and more competitive
  • We should use existing port capacity and short-sea shipping
  • Canada Port Authorities and other federally regulated marine organizations need:
    • harmonized regulations
    • better management and ways of spending and tracking money
  • Taking advantage of new marine innovations will support an improved marine system
  • Government, industry, Indigenous groups and communities must work together on an approach for:
    • shipping
    • coastal environmental protection
    • the competitiveness of ports
  • We need to address the infrastructure deficit in the North, as it affects both economic opportunities and transportation safety, especially with climate change and extreme weather challenges
  • The federal government should work closely with the territories and Indigenous groups on a long-term Northern transportation infrastructure strategy that responds to the unique needs of the North’s communities and geography

Where we go from here

To meet our goals for transportation affecting waterways, coasts and the North, we committed to:

  • develop an oil tanker moratorium for the northern coast of British Columbia
  • build stronger protection for our coastlines and coastal areas
  • work with territorial governments, Indigenous people and communities in the North to address basic transportation infrastructure needs and adapt the transportation system to a changing climate
  • look at ways to realize the full economic potential of our coasts and waterways over the long term (including the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Seaway system)
  • develop a long-term plan to address the problem of abandoned vessels and wrecks
  • make sure our actions support work on government priorities such as:
    • trade and transportation investments under the Phase 2 Infrastructure Plan
    • a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change
    • protection of our sensitive coastal areas

Budget 2017 support

The budget confirmed:

Our progress

Oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast

If passed as proposed on May 12, 2017, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48) would give British Columbia’s northern coastline extra protection from potential oil spills.

The moratorium would cover the area from the Alaska-B.C. border down to the point on B.C.’s mainland next to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. The new law would prohibit oil tankers carrying crude oil, or certain oil products, from entering or leaving ports and marine facilities in this area.

Oil tanker moratorium

Changes to coasting trade

If passed as proposed on May 16, 2017, the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49) would amend the Coasting Trade Act so ships can move their empty containers between locations in Canada without a coasting trade licence.

This would:

  • support the marine industry’s business flexibility
  • address the shortage of empty containers available for trade

This bill also proposes amendments to the Canada Marine Act to allow Canada Port Authorities to access funding provided through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Coasting trade in Canada

Pilotage Act Review

On May 31, 2017, we launched a review of the Pilotage Act. This review will update laws and regulations for future pilotage services.

The review is chaired by Mr. Marc Grégoire, who was a Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard and is a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Safety and Security at Transport Canada. Consultations and engagement with a variety of stakeholders and the public will support each phase of the review.

Pilotage Act Review

Abandoned Boats Program

On May 31, 2017 we launched the $6.85 million Abandoned Boats Program to protect the country’s coasts and waterways. This new program:

  • funds the removal of abandoned and wrecked small boats that could be harmful to Canadian waters
  • educates small boat owners about how to dispose of their boats when they are no longer able to use them
  • supports research on boat recycling and environmentally responsible boat design

Abandoned Boats Program

National Trade Corridors Fund

We launched a call for expression of interest under the National Trade Corridors Fund on July 4, 2017. Up to $400 million from this Fund has been dedicated to address unique and urgent transportation infrastructure needs in Canada’s territorial North.

National Trade Corridors Fund

Transportation in the North

To support northern transportation needs for the future, we are working closely with territorial representatives and stakeholders to develop an Arctic transportation plan.

This plan would address unique transportation concerns in the territorial North, including policy, investment and regulatory measures to support improving social and economic opportunities.

Management of the St. Lawrence Seaway

On July 14, 2017, we confirmed a five-year extension to the Government of Canada’s agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation to manage, maintain and operate the Seaway. This extends the existing agreement until March 31, 2023. It will provide stability for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the marine shipping industry.

In addition, we are conducting a review of the St. Lawrence Seaway to examine:

  • opportunities for further development
  • the Seaway's competitiveness and sustainability
  • its management structure

Related links

Date modified: