VANCOUVER, B.C.--The Government of Canda is increasing the number of flights to monitor and detect pollution from ships in Canada's waters.
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced the new funding in British Columbia this week.
"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," said Raitt.
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.
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, she announced.
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.
According to the government, 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 also aims to strengthen the current requirements for pollution prevention and response at oil handling facilities, through amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
"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."