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Transport Minister introduces Marine Liability Act; amends Motor Vehicle Transport Act


Canada’s Federal Transport Minister David Collenette has introduced the Marine Liability Act in the Senate, a bill which had been introduced in the previous session of Parliament.

The Act combines existing and new marine liability regulations into a single framework for claims related to personal injuries, fatalities, pollution and property damage. Of benefit to shipowners and their insurers is that they will now have a clearer indication of what they may be liable for, and to what degree.

The Act will be applicable to all incidents governed by Canadian maritime law.

The Transport Minister has also tabled amendments to the Motor Vehicle Transport Act (MVTA) of 1987 in the Senate.

The Act aims to improve safety and promote greater efficiency in the Canadian motor carrier industry.

“These amendments establish carrier safety as the primary focus of the federal regulation of motor carriers, and create the tools for ensuring national consistency in safety performance regulation. Specifically, the revisions use new National Safety Code standards as the basis for creating a national safety rating system measured by actual road performance,” said Collenette.

The amendments to the MVTA will promote motor carrier (truck and bus) safety through implementation of a safety performance regime based on the National Safety Code (NSC); provide a national framework for provinces and territories to continue to administer motor carrier safety regulation; promote consistent regulation of motor carriers across Canada; and ensure that Canada has the tools to harmonize motor carrier regulatory standards internationally.

The federal government is also working to gain more flexibility in terms of borrowing power by tabling legislation to amend the Blue Water Bridge Authority Act. The Blue Water Bridge is the second largest Canada – U.S. gateway and the second busiest for truck crossings. The bridge is Canada’s fastest growing crossing with traffic increases of about eight per cent every year. On average, 14,000 vehicles cross the Blue Water Bridge every day, including as many as 6,000 trucks.

“This will mean greater flexibility in planning future projects and expenditures,” said Collenette.

The Blue Water Bridge Authority is a public body, operating at arm’s length from the government, and does not receive any federal funding.