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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Fisheries and Oceans

Issue 9 - Evidence, May 15, 2008


OTTAWA, Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at 10:48 a.m. to examine and report on issues relating to the federal government's current and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans. The topic was Arctic study.

Senator Bill Rompkey (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: My name is Senator Rompkey and this is the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. We are in the process of studying the evolving policy of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, DFO, with a particular focus on the Arctic and the Canadian Coast Guard, which comes under the department at this point in time.

We have heard from a lot of witnesses, and the senators around the table have been able to hear them and ask questions. Most of them are here this morning. We have Senator Cook from Newfoundland and Labrador, Senator Adams from Nunavut, Senator Robichaud from New Brunswick, and Senator Comeau from Nova Scotia who is the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Before us this morning, we have witnesses from Transport Canada, TC, and the Coast Guard. I will get them to do more introductions. Perhaps I will call on Mr. Nash, who is the director general of marine safety, because he told me this morning he was the boss. I always go to the boss to make the introductions. We will have a presentation from them and then ask questions.

Just to set the stage, we have heard from some academics. We have heard from Professor Michael Byers from British Columbia and Professor Ron Huebert from Alberta. We have also heard from the former head of the Coast Guard and Aboriginal groups in the North. We will be going to the Arctic the first week of June for hearings, perhaps the first formal hearings that a Senate committee has done in the Arctic. There have been fact-finding missions in the Arctic before, but this is probably the first time we have had the whole panoply of Senate services in a formal committee hearing.

We will also be having those hearings in three languages — French, English and Inuktitut. Again, this is probably the first time we have had official hearings in the language of the people who live in Nunavut. We think it is important that they are able to tell us what they think in their own language. I was pleased that the motion in the Senate passed yesterday to put this into effect.

This morning, we are focusing particularly on the Coast Guard. We have heard a lot about efficiency, even with aging vessels, but we have also had witnesses who have called the Coast Guard an orphan. It serves many government purposes but the administrative setup is not always clear to us.

Among the things we are curious about is the vessel reporting and monitoring system in the Arctic. The East and West Coast systems for foreign vessels are mandatory, but the NORDREG system in the Arctic is voluntary. Witnesses have suggested that, for the purposes of safety and sovereignty, it should be mandatory. We understand that system is mainly a Transport Canada matter.

There are other matters of interest, such as what happens if there is an oil spill? Also, what is the role of the Coast Guard in relation to Transport Canada and other agencies?

Senators will have a lot of questions, but first we will ask our guests to give us a presentation after which we will ask questions. Mr. Nash, please introduce the people with you.

Senator Adams has just brought to my attention that the vice-chair of the committee, Senator Cochrane, who is from Newfoundland and Labrador, is with us as well as Senator Hubley from Prince Edward Island. I wanted to put that on the record.

Senator Cochrane: I have been asking questions since 8:30 a.m. this morning at another committee.

William (Bill) J. Nash, Director General, Marine Safety, Transport Canada: From an introduction perspective, I am the director general of marine safety in Transport Canada. With me today is Richard Day, director of Operations and Environmental Programs; Victor Santos-Pedro, director of design, equipment and boating safety; and Steven Troy, director of Safety and Environmental Response Systems for the Canadian Coast Guard.

In listening to your introduction, I hope the presentation we have prepared will clarify the roles between Transport Canada and the Coast Guard at DFO, and also answer some of the questions raised in your opening remarks.

Before starting with my presentation, I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear today with my colleagues and make this short presentation on how Arctic shipping is managed by Transport Canada, along with the role that the Coast Guard and ship owners play in exercising this mandate.

The Arctic regulatory regime supports Transport Canada's mission by establishing minimum requirements for safety and pollution prevention. The mission, which is on slide 2, is to serve the public interest through the promotion of a safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system in Canada.

On the next slide, as a special operating agency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard helps DFO meet its responsibility to ensure safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. It does so by providing services in a number of areas. In the Arctic, icebreaking and ice management are of particular importance.

In addition, on that slide, we list many of the services provided, such as marine communications and traffic management services, icebreaking, marine pollution response, marine search and rescue, aids to navigation, and the support of other government departments, boards and agencies by providing ships, aircraft and other services.

The next slide lists the Arctic shipping regulatory regime. Transport Canada is responsible for six major acts when dealing with Arctic navigation issues: the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, the Canada Shipping Act 2001, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Marine Liability Act, and the Coasting Trade Act.

Of these, the Canada Shipping Act 2001 establishes requirements for construction, equipment and operation of ships operating in Canadian waters. The requirements of the Canada Shipping Act 2001 enhance safety of navigation and protection of the marine environment. However, in Canadian Arctic waters, the provisions of the Canada Shipping Act 2001 are supplemented by those of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.

The Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act is an act shared with Natural Resources Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. It is basically an act to prevent pollution of the Arctic waters of Canada. This is a zero tolerance act where no person or ship shall deposit or permit the deposit of waste of any type in Arctic waters. The regime includes two key resolutions — namely, the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations and the Arctic waters pollution prevention regulations.

The Arctic waters shipping prevention regulations deal with the construction of ships, specifically ice-strengthening requirements for different navigation zones, bunkering stations and ice navigator issues — for example, every tanker must have a qualified ice navigator on board — and fuel and water concerns, that there needs to be enough on board a vessel before entering any Arctic zones. Arctic pollution prevention certificates can be issued and they establish pollution prevention officers with the powers to direct ships in an emergency. There is a notification requirement by ships if there is an emergency or spill. As mentioned, this is a zero discharge provision in Arctic waters, except for raw sewage.

The Arctic waters pollution prevention regulations deal with liability issues, although the Marine Liability Act provides a strict liability regime and overrides the Arctic act in this perspective. Within the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations is a zone date system, which is detailed. This system divides the Arctic into 16 safety control zones, which are shown on the next slide.

The zone date system establishes where and when ships can go. The system is based on the premise that nature consistently follows a regular pattern year after year, and it uses 30 years of records to define that. The 16 zones are of increasing ice severity. For example, the worst ice conditions are found in zone 1, to the top left of the slide.

There are nine Arctic classes of ships — Arctic class 1 and 2 and so on — and five types of ships. These denote to us the vessel's ability to navigate in ice and the type of ice it can navigate in. The zones also have opening and closing dates for each class of these vessels.

Because the zone date system is a rigid one and makes little allowance for actual ice conditions, in 1996, Transport Canada introduced the Arctic ice regime system. This system uses a combination of the current ice conditions and the vessel's ice capabilities to determine where the vessel is permitted to navigate. Therefore, it offers more flexibility than the previous zone date system.

For the benefit of the committee, I should note that the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act came into force in 1970. It was a bold move at that time in that its area of application extended up to 100 nautical miles from land. Since then, the Oceans Act has proclaimed the area up to 200 nautical miles, or the line equidistant from another country, as Canada's exclusive economic zone as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This means that the provisions of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act at present do not cover the entire exclusive economic zone. We call this the "silver and band," shown in red, as the silver across Greenland and the band across the top.

In this area, the pollution prevention provisions of the Canada Shipping Act apply, instead of those of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act. In practice, there is little, if any, impact as most shipping activities occur less than 100 nautical miles from shore.

How do we know which vessels are in our waters? Under the marine transportation security regulations, foreign vessels coming into Canada must report to the marine traffic control system — the Canadian Coast Guard — 96 hours before entering Canadian waters. The marine traffic control system, or MTCS, is operated by the Coast Guard and this provides Canada with the time to perform a security risk evaluation and screening on the vessels requesting entry. Based on the results of such evaluation and screening, Canada may direct the vessels or allow them to enter.

In addition, a foreign or domestic vessel of 300 tonnes or more is to report to the MTCS 24 hours prior to entering the Arctic Canada vessel traffic system, which we call NORDREG. That zone is depicted in the annual Canadian Coast Guard publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation, and basically covers the waters of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act. The ship is also to report immediately before crossing the NORDREG zone boundary when entering, upon arrival at a berth, and one to two hours before departure from the berth.

Also, although NORDREG is a voluntary reporting system, the level of compliance is high. This is attributed to the services that the vessel can receive from the Canadian Coast Guard if its position is known, such as icebreaking, ice information, routing and, of course, search and rescue.

When a vessel reports to MTCS, MTCS asks questions concerning the vessel's compliance with the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations. This information is passed on to Transport Canada. Our Prairie and Northern region looks after the Arctic area and they determine whether the vessel is permitted to enter or not.

Information required includes the name of the ship, the master, position, time, course, speed, weather, estimated time of entry of zone or arrival/departure from a berth, destination, route, the last port, the ship's draft, dangerous goods on board, defects, name of an agent, and the date or expiry of certain ship certificates, including the international oil pollution prevention certificate.

From a monitoring and enforcement aspect, I have already mentioned the work done by the marine traffic control system. In addition, aerial surveillance is conducted by Transport Canada to detect oil spills and identify polluters. During the 2007-08 fiscal year, Transport Canada conducted 170 hours of dedicated pollution patrols in the Arctic. We are forecasting 400 hours of patrol in the Arctic during the 2008-09 year. In addition, Department of National Defence surveillance aircraft patrol the Arctic and report pollution.

Satellite imagery can assist with monitoring of compliance. Where unidentified vessels are suspected, ground probing can be carried out via overflights or by Coast Guard vessels in the vicinity. Compliance with the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulation provisions is verified by Transport Canada inspectors and classification surveyors outside the country. This is done by inspecting the vessels.

Vessels found to be in compliance are issued an Arctic pollution prevention certificate. We also monitor foreign vessels through our port state-controlled program, which is where we board foreign ships and verify compliance. There is also a positive obligation for ships to report oil spills or emergencies in the Arctic.

In response to non-compliance, we can direct vessels if there is a risk of pollution. We can issue warnings to vessels. We can detain vessels, if so warranted. For non-compliance, we can take legal action. In addition, we have the ability to ban vessels if we have intelligence that the vessel does not comply with international conventions. This is a new provision we have under the Canada Shipping Act.

With respect to pollution prevention preparedness and response, Transport Canada oversees the marine pollution prevention and response regime as a whole. The Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and the Canada Shipping Act 2001 are the primary pieces of legislation for Transport Canada marine safety. In addition, other legislation sets out pollution prevention provisions. These include the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, the Marine Liability Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Oceans Act.

As a lead federal agency for operations, the Canadian Coast Guard maintains a preparedness capacity for spill response north of 60 degrees latitude.

In terms of prevention, Transport Canada, the ship owners and the Canadian Coast Guard work together. Transport Canada develops the requirements for construction and operation of vessels, including development of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans, while the Coast Guard provides services to assist in safe navigation, such as ice routing and icebreaking. The ship owners play a primary role of having qualified crews and the experience to operate in a safe manner in ice-covered waters.

This concludes my presentation. We would be happy to take any questions that senators may have.

The Chair: Since this is a morning session, in order to get us out on time, if senators agree, we will have a 10-minute limit on the first round and then go to a second round if need be. Is that okay?

Senator Comeau: Absolutely. I want to zero in on your responsibility for waterways and ocean routes and the issue of jurisdiction over these routes.

We have learned over time that very few jurisdictions have recognized our right to have jurisdiction over these routes officially. One of those countries not having recognized that right is the U.S. One would think, on reflection, that the U.S. would be happy to have Canada as the custodian of these ocean routes in the North because you would think that a North American country having custodial rights, especially their neighbour, would be better than having a free-for-all. In other words, if Canada does not own it, every country in the world owns it. One would think the Americans would have jumped for joy and say they are right behind Canada on this.

Do you have any sense as to why the Americans have not jumped on the benefits of having Canada as the custodian of these routes?

Mr. Nash: The U.S. position is really outside of my particular role in Transport Canada.

Senator Comeau: That would be my follow-up question.

Mr. Nash: The U.S. is known to voice concern about any country that implies or has a regulatory system that would prevent innocent passage between two oceans. From their perspective, they see the Northwest Passage as being a passage or a waterway between two oceans.

Senator Comeau: That is their argument, yes. I can see why they might do that with the Strait of Hormuz or something, but this is entirely different. Given the events of 9/11 and the reaction that the U.S. has in terms of overall security issues, and it has virtually seeped into everything in the U.S., one would think they would have had a chance to look at this from a slightly different point of view, which leads to my second question. You walked into it by saying that this is somewhat off your turf. Do you, as the Canadian Coast Guard, meet from time to time with your counterparts in the U.S. to discuss those kinds of common security issues? If not, why not?

Mr. Nash: We do have, as I mentioned in the presentation, the Marine Transportation Security Act. That covers Arctic waters and ships coming in have to report 96 hours in advance. There is a mandatory requirement there.

From the perspective of talking with the U.S., my colleague from the Coast Guard may want to answer that.

Steven Troy, Director, Safety and Environmental Response Systems, Canadian Coast Guard: The Canadian Coast Guard meets regularly with the United States Coast Guard. The commissioner of the Coast Guard, George Da Pont, and the commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, will be meeting in Seattle at the end of this month on May 30. They usually have two meetings a year, or Coast Guard summits, and bring to the table a number of discussions with regard to strategic issues and interoperability, particularly given the contiguous waters between Canada and the United States.

Senator Comeau: Would such items as the benefits of Canadian custodial management of these waters be discussed at such meetings? If not, why not? Obviously, you cannot leave it all to Foreign Affairs. I am quite sure that, when the military meets with their counterparts in the U.S., they talk things over from a military and security point of view, and one would think that the Coast Guard might want to do the same thing.

Mr. Troy: I honestly cannot speak for what the commissioner or commandant will be speaking to. Certainly, from both our organizations, in the Canadian context, we defer to our colleagues in Foreign Affairs. I am aware that the United States Coast Guard defers to their colleagues in the Secretary of State department. However, the two individuals do have discussions with regard to the Arctic. Obviously, from an operational perspective, we both have assets that can operate in ice-covered waters. There have been discussions in the past with regard to joint efforts or exercises, particularly on the contiguous waters in the Western Arctic.

Senator Comeau: You mentioned the word "operational," which can sometimes mean being quite practical and on the ground. Your department deals with this on a day-to-day basis, and Foreign Affairs is probably a little more distant than you would be so, operationally, you might be able to come up with decent arguments that Foreign Affairs might not. These operational benefits of having Canada as the custodian of such waters might get bumped up the line to the decision makers, the politicians at the top, who say, "Maybe we should discuss with Canada this whole issue of northern security." I am suggesting that you may be in a better position to be able to give practical benefits to this, much more so probably than Foreign Affairs. I understand you cannot give us all your secret undertakings at this point.

I noted in the presentation that a number of items were given advance notice that they wish to go into these waters, services such as navigation, search and rescue, icebreaking, routing and so on. What about saying that North American security is one of our functions? I did note that it is one of the areas under your control.

Mr. Nash: It is, senator, an area under Transport Canada's control. My specific area of responsibility is safety. There is another person like me who has the same role but for security.

Senator Comeau: Slide 3 lists all of the mandates. There could theoretically be North American security.

Mr. Nash: From a Transport Canada perspective, as my colleague in the Coast Guard has mentioned, there is quite a lot of activity from a North American perspective on that. As mentioned, the marine transportation security regulations show that, and actually permit that mandatory reporting going into the Arctic for security reasons.

Senator Adams: Some of my questions may be under DFO. Right now, there is quite a bit of traffic with cruisers coming mostly from Russia. Do you have responsibility for that in the same way you do for cargo shipping as far as monitoring goes?

Victor M. Santos-Pedro, Director, Design, Equipment and Boating Safety, Transport Canada: The cruise ships, if I understand the question correctly, are monitored the same way as the cargo ships.

Senator Adams: Anything coming into the Arctic waters must report 96 hours previously. Do the Russians report 96 hours before getting to the Arctic?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes, they do.

Senator Adams: If you ask them what they are carrying and they say it is just passengers, what is the regulation for Transport Canada and DFO? Around Cambridge Bay, a cruiser got stuck in the sand about seven or eight years ago. I think Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated pulled it out, and the Coast Guard did not make it there. When something like that happens, they have 300 people there. In the future, they want to travel in the Arctic up to Churchill 12 months a year. Who is able to say you have to go through security checks and everything before they are able to break ice up there without being escorted by the Coast Guard?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: One thing to note is that, quite often, especially with cruise ships, they will have an ice navigator on board who is from Canada and familiar with the area. You are quite right that we did have an incident a few years ago in which one of those vessels ran aground. Luckily, it was in very soft sand and the passengers were treated well. It was in the summertime. We have not had any cruise ships other than in the summertime when a lot of the waters are open. In fact, sometimes they have to go and look for the ice.

Those vessels, whether they are Russian or German, and the cruise ships which are mostly foreign ships, do follow all the rules and regulations that we have in place, including the notification to NORDREG on a daily basis and the 96 hours through the Marine Security Act.

Senator Adams: What about submarines? They still go in the water up there. Between the Russians and the Americans, there have been quite a few of them up there. Does that go through the military? If they are operating nuclear-powered engines, incidents could happen in the future. If one of those submarines got stuck or broke down, what would we do in Canada?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: I am not sure if we can comment on submarines in the sense that I do not think any of us knows anything about whether the submarines are there or not.

Senator Robichaud: Do you have any doubts?

Senator Adams: I did quite a bit of study and work up there, especially through DFO. When foreigners come in, Transport Canada puts a flag on the ships coming into the Arctic after they have approved everything. They often have to inspect the ship before giving approval. You mentioned commercial fishing. We have the 0A and 0B areas up there and tonnes of turbot, mostly being fished by vessels operated by foreigners. One of them got back to Saint John and got stuck in the harbour. Do you do the safety approval for DFO on vessels fishing in the Arctic? I want to know how the system works. It can be confusing. Canadians want to go up there, too, and the foreigners have the flags on the ships. They go up there and catch our fish.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Perhaps I could add to what Mr. Nash indicated. We do have a set of regulations that puts a number of requirements on all the vessels operating in the North. Some of the cut-offs depend on the size of the vessels, and if they are 100 tonnes or more, they all have to report and they all have to have sufficient water and fuel. That also applies for the vessels carrying more than a certain amount of oil or pollutants, which could be the bunker oil they are using for the machinery on board the vessel. They then have to comply with certain construction standards. They must have a certain amount of steel and certain standards that we specify. Those vessels are inspected to determine if they comply with our Canadian requirements, and they are provided with a pollution prevention certificate, as Mr. Nash mentioned. That is how we have verification. It can either be done through organizations called classification societies that we give permission to provide that certificate after an inspection, or we do it ourselves.

All of those vessels, regardless of their flag state, once they indicate they will come into Canadian Arctic waters north of 60, into the shipping safety control zones, and depending on their ice strengthening, are allowed to go into certain areas at certain times, and we monitor that through NORDREG.

Senator Adams: A few years ago, we were up there under Senator Comeau's chairmanship to see the Coast Guard monitoring some ships that were operating there.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: In Iqaluit?

Senator Adams: Yes. Some ships just belong to a numbered company, and we do not even know who they belong to. If it is just a numbered company, we do not even know where they come from. Do they allow ships to operate up there just under a numbered company, without knowing where they come from?

Mr. Troy: I cannot speak with regard to the ship registry. As Mr. Nash has said, there is a list of information required before clearance is given. Among that is the name of the vessel and the radio call-sign. We do not normally, as part of the clearance, ask about owners. The trackback on any vessel operating in terms of who the owner would be would have to go through the information provided, which is tied in with international registries and the Canadian registry.

Senator Adams: How much are you using the SAT-2 satellite for monitoring? Are you controlling it? We heard from some of the companies that are interested in buying it, and the government might sell it. What happens if the satellite goes to a private company and you want the use of it? Would you have to pay for monitoring in the Arctic if the SAT-2 goes to a company and no longer belongs to the government? How would that work?

Mr. Troy: From a Coast Guard operational perspective, our use of satellites is really more along the lines of operational requirements for the Coast Guard in terms of linkages with the Canadian ice service regarding meteorological patterns.

From a tracking perspective, that lead is still within the context of the Government of Canada and is handled within the context of national defence. The Government of Canada has a community of departments involved in monitoring marine traffic, including national defence, the RCMP, public safety, transport, and the Coast Guard as well. A community of interests is involved in that aspect of tracking, but it is done under the lead of national defence, and that is the main driver with regard to the satellites as well.

Senator Cochrane: I know that NORDREG is there to prevent pollution and everything up North. This pertains to Senator Adams' questions. Is this NORDREG reporting all voluntary? That is a word we have heard so much when it comes to the Coast Guard, DFO and Transport Canada — voluntary. Could you answer that question? Is their reporting and screening voluntary?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: The system itself is voluntary. There are certain notifications, however, that are not voluntary. The one that Mr. Nash mentioned, for example, with regard to 96-hours notification in advance of coming into Canadian waters south of 60 or north of 60 is not voluntary. It is mandatory. Vessels coming into Canada must report 96 hours before coming into Canadian waters.

Mr. Nash mentioned the ice regime system, which is part of our Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations. If a vessel is going to use the ice regime system, they must report before they enter and after they exit the shipping safety zones.

Senator Cochrane: Is that mandatory?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes. Those are two examples in which the reporting is mandatory. By custom and by practice, there is a system where vessels report their position to NORDREG and where they are going, and NORDREG asks for information. That is the part that is voluntary at present.

Senator Cochrane: What about pollution? What about this dumping of oil?

The Chair: You are on the list, but I thought it was a supplementary to Senator Adams. I do have you on the list, Senator Cochrane, but I have Senator Robichaud next.

Before I go to him, for my own clarification, bearing in mind Senator Adams' question, if there is a numbered company, you can tell who the flag state is but you cannot tell who the owner is. We know that vessels can be registered in any state they want. There could be ships up there that we do not know who owns them. All we know is the flag state. Is that correct?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Each vessel that operates in international voyages will have an IMO, international maritime organization, number. That number is unique to that vessel. We will also know which country that vessel belongs to. Therefore, you can follow, as necessary, where the owners are.

At the end of the trail, it could be that you have a numbered company, but that enters more into legal issues than anything else because most often there is a representative of the operator. Whether the ship is owned by a numbered company or not, we are dealing with the authorized representative of the company.

The Chair: Thank you.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: You stated in your presentation that compliance with NORDREG is voluntary. You maintain that the rate of compliance is high. That implies that there are some vessels that do not comply. What are the percentages in this instance? Are you talking about a compliance rate of 90 per cent and a non-compliance rate of 10 per cent? Do you have any idea? Because if some vessels are not complying, the reason may be that they have not reported their presence in the area.

Mr. Troy: According to our sources, the compliance rate is 98 per cent.

[English]

Senator Robichaud: Who is the 2 per cent?

Mr. Troy: We do not know. If you do not identify, we do not know, but we are fairly comfortable with the 98 per cent and we are fairly comfortable, for vessels operating in the Arctic, that we are capturing most of them.

Senator Robichaud: If you do not know, how do you know it is 2 per cent?

Mr. Troy: It is based on the historical data, looking back.

Senator Robichaud: Is there anything being done about the 2 per cent?

Mr. Troy: That becomes an enforcement and compliance issue. The system is voluntary.

Senator Robichaud: I know it is compliance, but it is voluntary. If they do not comply, what do you do? Nothing? Is that your answer?

Mr. Nash: Maybe I could jump in here.

Senator Robichaud: Please.

Mr. Nash: From the Marine Transportation Security Act perspective — the requirements to report 96 hours beforehand — I am not sure if there is any data with respect to ships not complying with that requirement. I am not sure, from our perspective, if we are aware of ships entering ice zones without advising us in advance, as Mr. Santos- Pedro mentioned earlier, where there is a time/date perspective in entering a zone.

From an overall perspective, not speaking for my colleague Mr. Troy, I think this is a number that seems to be a historical number. Over the years, the odd vessel may have appeared that was not known. From what we understand, there is good compliance. I do not know if Mr. Santos-Pedro would like to add anything to that.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: I would only add that, if the Canadian Coast Guard knows the vessel is there and if the vessel has opted not to report, we still know they are there. I know of instances where, just because they have not reported, when they arrive at one of the sites in the North, we paid them a visit. That is not uncommon.

Senator Robichaud: You can understand that my preoccupation is not with those who conform — the more the better. It is with those that do not conform. That is where the problems come in with pollution and all those things, right?

You say NORDREG is voluntary. What would it take to make it compulsory?

Richard Day, Director, Operations and Environmental Programs, Transport Canada: It would require the act to be changed to require that to become mandatory. Then it would have to be blended into the existing vessel traffic services, VTS, regulations.

Senator Robichaud: Which act?

Mr. Day: It would be under the Canada Shipping Act. Under that act, we have the VTS regulations, which make the East and West Coast mandatory. It would just be a matter of making the North mandatory as well.

The Chair: If I can intervene, Senator Robichaud —

Senator Robichaud: That is not off my time, is it?

The Chair: No. Compare for us the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. My understanding is that it is mandatory in the Pacific and Atlantic, but in the Arctic it is not. Can you explain why there is a difference or what the difference is? It seems to me there is an inconsistency.

I do not want to take Senator Robichaud's time, but just to put it in perspective, everyone is talking about the Arctic with respect to global warming, the Northwest Passage and the passage of ships. The focus of the country is on the Arctic. Yet, we have mandatory regulations in the Arctic, mandatory regulations in the Pacific, and none in the Arctic. I am puzzled.

Mr. Nash: You are right. It is something of which we in the department and the Canadian Coast Guard are cognizant. In fact, we are beginning to look at that. Work on that within the department has started. As Mr. Day mentioned, prior to something going in, we require permission from our minister to do that. Work has already started in that area.

Senator Robichaud: If I understand correctly, there is nothing mysterious. It is applied in the West and the East, and it would require only a minor change to the act to be brought in by the Minister of Transport.

Mr. Nash: There is power under the Canada Shipping Act for vessel traffic services. We do have the possibility to make NORDREG mandatory following the regulatory process.

Senator Robichaud: Are you saying you could do it without a change in the act?

Mr. Nash: Yes, we could.

Senator Robichaud: Then what is the problem?

Mr. Nash: We have started work on that.

Senator Robichaud: If we called you back before the committee in one month, would there be significant progress made?

Mr. Nash: I am not sure about in one month. The Canadian Marine Advisory Council, which is our consultation forum, meets twice a year in Ottawa on a national basis and in each region twice a year. This subject has been broached with our stakeholders. As you know, we have to engage in consultations and so on before bringing regulatory projects forward.

Senator Robichaud: The stakeholders are all Canadian, are they not?

Mr. Nash: There may be some foreign representatives as well. There is a full gambit of stakeholders, including environmentalists, recreational vessel operators, ship owners and unions.

Senator Robichaud: Do you know of any stakeholders that would be against this coming into force?

Mr. Nash: No.

Senator Robichaud: Can we expect to have this come into force in the near future?

Mr. Nash: As I said, we must follow our regulatory process, which does take time.

Senator Robichaud: It does, but it takes much less time than changing the statutes, does it not?

Mr. Nash: Yes.

Senator Robichaud: There will be no bill and no debate in Parliament. You have the power.

Mr. Nash: We do, yes.

Senator Robichaud: I encourage you to move as fast as you can for all the reasons you told us about.

Mr. Nash: Yes.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: There is support in Canada for making NORDREG mandatory. As Mr. Nash said, the consultations also include foreign interests at times. Because it puts notification in Arctic waters, and because of the issue raised earlier concerning the consideration by some other countries of the Northwest Passage being an international strait, there could be some opposition or some comments from foreign states.

Senator Robichaud: However, the power is within the department to do this?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

Senator Robichaud: That is clear.

I expect that in our report, chair, we should make a recommendation supporting Transport Canada going in that direction, if that is any help.

Mr. Nash: I am not sure whether we can answer that, in all fairness.

Senator Robichaud: It would be positive all the way.

The Chair: We will help you whether you want it or not.

Senator Cook: I want to understand what Senator Robichaud is putting forth. We have a Marine Transportation Security Act and NORDREG. We have a voluntary reporting system, so any regulations would be subject to the Marine Transportation Security Act. If you needed enforcement or compliance, would you not go directly to your act to find a solution?

My understanding is that regulations support acts, but are subject to them. The regulations cannot be stronger than the Marine Transportation Security Act. You can take out of the act and put into the regulations, but if you do not do that, you can fall back onto the act and get the work done — is that not correct?

Mr. Nash: The purpose of the act is for security issues. The purposes of the Canada Shipping Act and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act are safety and environmental protection. To have a mandatory requirement reporting from a security aspect would be different from the list of items that we could and do ask for on the East and West Coasts of Canada under the existing regimes — such as, whether a vessel is polluting, whether there are any defects, deficiencies and so on. They are all designed to tell whether there is a problem with the vessel, whether we need to take action, whether it will require a tug, or whether it has to be diverted.

Getting back to your question, the purpose of the Marine Transportation Security Act is for security-type things and not safety. Making NORDREG mandatory would provide a full spectrum of it.

I would like to take an opportunity to clarify something Mr. Day said. It would require changes in our statute to have mandatory reporting under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act. We do not need to do that because we already have that ability under the Canada Shipping Act, which covers all waters.

Senator Cook: You can put that element in your regulations. In the absence of it being in your regulations at the moment, you have the power of the Marine Transportation Security Act to do your work, do you not?

Mr. Nash: For security purposes and the reporting aspect.

Senator Cook: I am sorry to be persistent, but I do not understand. What element in the Marine Transportation Security Act will allow you to adjust your regulations?

Mr. Nash: From a safety perspective, the power is within the Canada Shipping Act to allow us to regulate vessel traffic services. These are the regimes that exist on the East and West Coasts of Canada. We have the power within the act to create those reporting regulations. They do not apply in the North. NORDREG was created many years ago. Using the same power, we can in essence envelope Canada with reporting regulations for vessels from a safety perspective. The act gives us the power to make NORDREG mandatory.

Senator Cook: What is the hesitation?

Mr. Nash: There is not necessarily a hesitation, but we are working towards that. As the chair mentioned, the Arctic is very much in the forefront these days. In the times when NORDREG was created, the necessity for mandatory reporting was not really seen at that time. It is part of an evolution towards that.

The Chair: We will be dealing with that in the report. In the meantime, perhaps you could provide us with an update at some point in the future when you are in a position to change your regulations. If you can communicate with us at that point, we would appreciate that.

Mr. Nash: Sure.

Senator Cochrane: In your slide on response to non-compliance, one of the bottom listings is "legal action." Can you tell the committee what sort of legal action is taken? How many instances were there last year, for example? How many of these resulted in legal action?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: I do not recall that we had any particular legal action last year or the previous year. I am trying to remember if we had any prosecutions in the recent past. We have not had any infractions of vessels operating in Arctic waters that led to a particular legal action.

Senator Cochrane: That is interesting. Do you have anything to add to that, Mr. Nash?

Mr. Nash: Likewise, I do not have any numbers. I am just trying to think back if we had one for pollution incidents. We do not recall.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Nothing comes to mind. There are very few ships operating in Arctic waters these days.

Senator Cochrane: How many cases did you have on this non-compliance?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Do you mean in Arctic waters?

Senator Cochrane: Yes.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: None that we know of.

Senator Cochrane: We are dealing here with Arctic waters, right?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

Senator Cochrane: How about anywhere else then? How about in other areas of your jurisdiction?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Maybe Mr. Day can answer for pollution incidents.

Mr. Day: Overall, I suppose we have about a dozen or so legal actions a year against ships that may pollute or cause infractions.

Senator Cochrane: What are the results of that?

Mr. Day: It goes to some reactions in court and results in heavy fines or fines to the ships. Also, the ships are detained and inspected to see if there are any deficiencies on board. Then they would require having any deficiencies rectified before leaving the port.

Senator Cochrane: Whatever we do now, do you feel it is working?

Mr. Day: It is working. The incidents have been reduced. Under our port state control regime, our targeting is much more sophisticated now than it was for inspection of ships. Our aerial surveillance has improved dramatically over recent years. We now have three aircraft servicing surveillance of the three oceans of Canada. We have surveillance equipment on board, which is probably the leading edge of technology and probably the best in the world in that regard. We couple that with satellite imagery whereby, if we find any suspected oil or pollution, we ground probe through that with the aircraft. We are now able to detect whether the ship is polluting at night and in fog. We can take pictures.

The ships are now required to be fitted with automatic identification systems so we can track them knowing the details of the ship. We can make that known to the flag state of the ship if any action needs to be taken. If the ship were to be in transit, we have arrangements with the next port state, or the next port of call, whereby we can arrange for that ship to be inspected there.

Senator Cochrane: Does that exist in the Arctic?

Mr. Day: We do have aerial surveillance in the Arctic for the first time. We do inspect the ships that go there. Apart from mandatory reporting, the inspection regime is the same for the North as for the rest of the country.

The Chair: Is the aerial surveillance the same for the Arctic as it is for the Atlantic? Something sticks in my mind about the Aurora overflights not being done for a portion of the year. On the East Coast, I believe under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, we contract that aerial surveillance with the Dash 8 and its technology. Is the aerial surveillance the same in the Arctic as it is in the Atlantic?

Mr. Day: It is not quite the same. In the Atlantic, we have the TC-owned-and-operated Dash 8, which is fitted with surveillance equipment. We also contract PAL, one company from Newfoundland, to do certain flights as well. In the Arctic, we utilize the Dash 7 and we multi-task with the Canadian Coast Guard whereby we do ice reconnaissance with the plane and also aerial surveillance at the same time. This is quite new and the plane is deployed for two weeks in the North and then it comes down to the South for two weeks. It is not quite the same.

Senator Cochrane: My next question is with respect to the Coast Guard. Mr. Day, you went on in the right spot there. The Coast Guard has, for most of its history, been part of the Department of Transport. This changed in 1995 when it was moved to DFO. In April 2005, it became a special operating agency within DFO. Could you tell me what these changes have meant for the mandate and the services provided by the Coast Guard?

Mr. Troy: With regard to the two particular points in time to which you have referred, I do not believe there was any mandate change. The mandate change that did occur was by Order-in-Council of the Prime Minister in late 2003, which centralized the regulatory aspects of what the Coast Guard had then had with Transport Canada and the related policy aspects, which is why my colleagues to the right all wore Coast Guard hats in the past when they were part of the then-Coast Guard ship safety.

The mandate change that occurred was as a result of the Orders-in-Council in 2003 with the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act. It centralized the regulatory aspects with Transport Canada. What it also did was to create and focus the Coast Guard as a special operating agency with particular emphasis on service delivery. In simple terms, the Coast Guard then was into providing services but others were, in a general sense, the regulators.

There has been discussion here with regards to vessel traffic zones — ECAREG, WESTREG, and the points you have raised with regard to NORDREG. Transport Canada actually regulates the creation of those zones. The Coast Guard ends up providing the operational service for monitoring in the context of the vessel traffic services activities of our marine communications and traffic service organization.

That was the biggest organizational change. Otherwise, it was a rearrangement of duties in 1995 and then the specific creation of the Coast Guard as a special operating agency, SOA, in 2005. The mandate change was actually late 2003.

Senator Cochrane: Have these changes improved things or not?

Mr. Troy: I am not a lawyer, but I sometimes recognize what I refer to as a leading question.

Senator Cochrane: I must ask.

Mr. Troy: As a Coast Guard employee for 34 years, I believe the Coast Guard, an SOA, is an improvement.

Senator Cochrane: From what it was?

Mr. Troy: Yes.

Senator Cochrane: Mr. Nash, I am putting you on the spot here today.

Mr. Nash: As Mr. Troy mentioned, we are all former Transport Canada, Coast Guard people. Back in 1995, there was great care taken to establish a memorandum of understanding which articulated the roles and responsibilities of each area. As we are here today, the opening slide here is working together. We work together very well, and even though we may be situated in different departments — the Coast Guard is now a special operating agency — we attend meetings together and do international meetings together. We are very close. It is part of the safety, environmental protection regime in place in Canada. We basically cannot exist without each other.

Senator Cochrane: Do you think Canadians would be best served by having its Coast Guard as a stand-alone department with a clearer and stronger mandate?

Mr. Troy: I do not think I am in an appropriate situation to be able to answer that direct a question.

Senator Cochrane: Would anyone like to attack it? No? Mr. Day, maybe you would like to comment. No?

Senator Day: No comment.

Senator Cochrane: I guess my question will not be answered then.

Why were the Coast Guard's policy functions related to marine navigation services, and pollution prevention and response shifted back to Transport Canada in December 2003?

Mr. Nash: Back at that time, it was news to us. I am not sure about the background that led to that. It was decreed by an Order-in-Council. We had no information or were never provided with any information leading into that.

Senator Cochrane: Did you have any input at all?

Mr. Nash: No.

Senator Cochrane: It was just done?

Mr. Nash: It was done.

Mr. Troy: I echo Mr. Nash's comment. It was a bit of a surprise. Having said that, going back to the mandate question, that decision back in 2003, from a Coast Guard perspective, clarified matters because the Coast Guard had been both regulator and operator prior to then. I think my colleagues will agree with me, from my experience, that there had been certain particular interests where you get into a conflict being both the regulator and operator.

Post-2003, it is clear that the regulatory authority for the Government of Canada on marine issues is Transport Canada. The operator, the civil delivery organization, and the fleet and the marine component, are Coast Guard. It definitely clarified it in that kind of sense.

The Chair: And enforcement?

Mr. Troy: The Coast Guard does not have policing powers.

Mr. Nash: Neither do we in Transport Canada, but we do have powers under the Canada Shipping Act and other various acts. Also adding onto Mr. Troy's comment, if there is a violation from a ship reporting aspect that is operated by the Coast Guard, the enforcement aspect would come to us. We would take action. We are the regulators; we are the inspectors; we have the enforcement powers; we can detain ships. Outside of pollution today, you have the ability to direct ships under certain circumstances, but most of those kinds of powers rest with Transport Canada.

Senator Cochrane: The Coast Guard has none of them?

Mr. Troy: Under the Canada Shipping Act for pollution response, we do have legal authority. The Minister of Fisheries has legal authority under a number of sections, the two main ones being: section 174, the ability to create pollution response officers with legal powers, including direction of shipping; and section 180, which is to take the responsibility for the lead to respond to ensure a response to all marine ships spills.

Senator Cochrane: There has been so much discussion about the Arctic. Do you think there will be more of a presence of the Coast Guard in the Arctic as a result of climate change and the Northwest Passage opening up? There is speculation that busier events will be happening within that area. We need a bigger presence, and I think a bigger presence of the Coast Guard up there.

Mr. Troy: The Coast Guard has a significant presence and footprint in the Arctic right now. In the summer months, we have the 10 icebreakers; we have the facilities in Iqaluit and Inuvik for the MCTS operations. We have community- based auxiliary search-and-rescue response units, et cetera. There is a significant presence of the Coast Guard in the Arctic today. There have been announcements by the government with regard to renewing some of the Coast Guard assets in terms of the vessels.

With regard to the future, the Coast Guard is continuously monitoring levels of service. We are in the process of finishing a levels-of-service review, which included discussions with stakeholders in the Arctic, and that will be coming out in public shortly as well. Within that, certainly some of the comments raised by stakeholders were more, and they will be addressed by the Coast Guard over the intervening period of time.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Maybe I could add something not specifically as to the capabilities of the Coast Guard, which Mr. Troy has indicated to you, but some information with regard to the potential for increased shipping.

Under an initiative of the Arctic Council, of which the eight circumpolar countries participate, there is a project called the Arctic marine shipping assessment, of which Canada, the United States and Finland are the lead countries and for which we in Transport Canada represent the Canadian input, with the assistance of many other departments in Canada.

That particular project looks at what would happen if the climate does change in the next 20 years. What are the likely impacts? What can change, in a crystal-ball fashion, by 2050? The two scenarios are 2020 and 2050.

That work is under way. Some of the preliminary indications are that, just because there is less ice in the Arctic, there will not necessarily be more activity. The activity will come if there are commercial opportunities, such as the development of oil or gas or minerals. That is a strong message coming through.

Although we talk about having less ice, that is in the summertime, a short window.

There are no predictions that there will be no ice in the wintertime, so the idea of all-year shipping is still very far away. Nonetheless, in a crystal-ball fashion, we are doing that kind of an assessment.

Senator Cochrane: You are preparing for potential oil development or whatever?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Exactly.

Senator Cochrane: Right now, I am sure there are companies looking at that area because it is new.

The Chair: Concerning the new vessels in the Arctic, just to clarify, there is a replacement for the Louis S. St-Laurent which we understand will take about 10 years to build, but we are also told by environmentalists that the ice cap is reducing at an incredible rate.

I understand the other ships that have been proposed are naval rather than Coast Guard vessels. Your answer dealt with your capacity. There is a new vessel for the Coast Guard but the others, as I understand it, will be naval vessels. How will that enhance your capacity in the Arctic?

Mr. Troy: I do not have the particular details in front of me, but the government has announced about a $1-billion investment in new vessels for the Coast Guard. You are quite correct; the last one dealt with the replacement of the Louis S. St-Laurent.

There had been previous announcements, though, that we will be introducing in some instances, vessels for security, but in a number of places replacing aging Coast Guard vessels for the midshore, and we are in the process now of going through the contracting phase for the construction of the first set of the vessels.

There are, in fact, additional vessels being acquired by the Canadian Coast Guard. The fleet is capable of multi- tasking. Certainly, with regard to deployments in the Arctic during the summer months, there are five heavy icebreakers — the Louis S. St-Laurent and four others. Ten vessels get tasked to operate in the Arctic with three in the Mackenzie system. These additional vessels will be part of the fleet mix for the future as we look at how we move ahead.

The Chair: Could you get back to us in writing in regard to the ships you have now, where they operate on an annual basis, and the new ships you expect to acquire, when and where they will operate in the future? It will be helpful if you could get back to us in writing on that. That is one of the issues we are wrestling with — who is up there, what are they doing, and what do they have to do it with?

Senator Hubley: My first question is something I would like clarification on. Mr. Nash, I believe on the fifth slide of your presentation, which is the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, you mentioned "except raw sewage." I am wondering if you could go through that again for me.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: The regulations made under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act are in the negative; you shall not do anything unless the regulations say so.

In 1972, when the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations were put in place, it was not clear at that time whether the discharge of chlorine-treated sewage from sewage treatment plants would be more detrimental to the environment than raw sewage. Therefore, at that time, there was a decision made in which you could then discharge sewage.

There is also the aspect, as I mentioned earlier, of the relative number of vessels and the vastness of the waters that are covered. That was accepted at that time. Any update to the regulations will take into account the fact that most treatments of sewage now are not chlorine based, and therefore would likely be more acceptable. However, we do have a zero discharge in the Arctic for any other pollutants.

Senator Hubley: If you feel that science has given us a better way of handling raw sewage, is that something you would move to have included in the regulations?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

Senator Hubley: As we speak?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: It is an item on a list that, when we update the Arctic shipping pollution prevention regulations, would be one of the items that would be reviewed.

Senator Hubley: I think that is a good thing to do for many reasons — the increased traffic. Maybe we are not looking at increased traffic but, as a committee, we are concerned about the wildlife and the impact this will have on wildlife in the Arctic.

My second question has to do with response time for, say, an oil spill. Are there arrangements in place for oil spills prevention? If that should happen, how do we respond to that? Are the territorial governments involved in that? We did have testimony that the Coast Guard in Canada's Arctic used to have the responsibility for having this equipment located in those areas. That has now fallen onto the territorial governments, and they were not sure whether they still maintain that equipment.

If there were an oil spill in the Arctic, what would the response be?

Mr. Troy: There are two parts to that answer. First, with regard to your observation about planning, the regime planning standards are established by Transport Canada but basically apply for south of 60.

With regard to actual response in the Arctic, the Canadian Coast Guard, under the Canada Shipping Act, is responsible. That is because the act gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, under section 180, the responsibility of dealing with a response to all ship-source spills, irrespective of whether they are Arctic or southern. The regime south is different. However, for north, the Coast Guard actually acts as the lead agency with regard to dealing with that.

From a capacity perspective, the Coast Guard has a number of community response pacts scattered across the Arctic. They are not huge stockpiles of equipment — a limited amount of boom, skimmer capacity, et cetera. Then we have three 1,000-tonne depots based in Tuktoyaktuk, Iqaluit and Churchill. They have significantly more equipment. For example, I think there are about three kilometres of boom in each one of those, which is a lot of boom.

The last part of the puzzle is a significant air transportable depot in Hay River, which again has significantly more equipment. It is all based on the cascading principle, which is that the communities we looked at will deal with the first response, and then you will move the next tier in. It all becomes a question of an ability to move the equipment in time.

That is the basic regime in place to deal with responses to spills in the Arctic. There have been 28 spills in the last six years that we are aware of, and the size of them has been fairly limited. They run from a couple of litres to about a thousand litres of spilled product, so they have not been significant. We do have a significant capacity to deal with spills in the Arctic that has not been, in the real sense, tested. We conduct exercises on a regular basis.

Senator Hubley: I would like your comment from a sovereignty perspective. Yesterday, the United States declared the polar bear an endangered species.

It was not Canada and the United States that did that; it was not Canada and the United States in collaboration with the Aboriginal people who live in the North. It was the United States who declared the polar bear an endangered species because of climate change, thinning ice and the impact on its way of life.

Do you read into that any sovereignty issue?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: It is hard to comment.

Senator Hubley: You cannot plead the fifth amendment. It is a statement that has been made. I am not sure I am comfortable with it because of how it was announced.

The Chair: Those are good questions. I would ask if you can get back to us in writing with regard to the details of the capacity you have in the Arctic for oil spills and where your assets are located. Could you also comment on what oil spills have taken place and what has been done about it? I do not know if you can comment on what you may see in the future, but if you can, that would be helpful to us as well.

Senator Cook: I will pick up on Senator Hubley's query. When I heard it, I wondered what polar bears they were referring to. If a country can unilaterally declare something is in danger, is the next step to also declare the bison or anything else we have here as endangered?

The Chair: For the record, over 70 per cent of polar bears are in our country.

Senator Cook: It begs the question: Is the Arctic an international ocean up for grabs? Does Canada's claim extend to the continental shelf or the 200-mile limit?

Most of those polar bears will be within that 200-mile limit because that is where the islands are. I would like your opinion.

I am thinking about the 30,000 people who live up there. The polar bear hunt is important to them. Can another country unilaterally declare them endangered? What does endangered mean? Does it mean you cannot kill them?

The Chair: I do not think it is a question for our witness.

Senator Cook: I will go to what was concerning me about Canada's claim in the Arctic. Can we claim the 200 miles? If so, what would be the starting point? Is it the 60th parallel or the Queen Elizabeth Islands? What would the jurisdiction be?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: If you think of the Arctic, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada has established the baseline around the archipelago. Those 200 miles are then measured beyond the baseline. The outer edge of the red part on the map you see is the 200 miles.

The 200-mile limit is the exclusive economic zone. There is another dimension because Canada has signed onto the Law of the Sea. There is a different type of right which is the seabed rights. That has nothing to do with the 200-mile limit. The 200-mile limit will remain. However, I read in the newspapers that Canada has now provided more funding to research how far the continental shelf extends beyond those 200 miles. That will establish Canada's rights to the seabed and nothing else.

Senator Cook: Not the water column?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: No. The water column is in the zone up to 200 miles. That is established. That is all I can tell you.

Senator Cook: In the case of Greenland, would it be the equidistance between the two?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: That is correct. It is equidistant with Greenland because it is less than 400 miles across in the top part of Canada. Therefore, we can go to 200 miles or equidistance.

Senator Cochrane: In my mind, I have established some jurisdictional lines. The entity responsible for managing and looking after this body of water at present is the Canadian Coast Guard. Am I right?

Mr. Troy: I am not sure I understood the question. The Coast Guard certainly is a major element of the government's projection of sovereignty in the Arctic.

Senator Cook: Yes, it is the sovereignty issue and the jurisdictional one that I am getting at.

Mr. Troy: I am not sure the Coast Guard has jurisdiction in the sense of sovereignty. Sovereignty is shared with the major lead always having been the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Coast Guard is one element of the federal presence in the Arctic. I would like to believe we are the most visible presence. We have the red and white hulls and we have a number of them in the Arctic, more than anyone else.

Senator Cook: The confusion I have is that there are so many government agencies trying to manage this. They blur one into the other.

If a tanker goes through the Northwest Passage in June and, God forbid, has an oil spill, who is responsible?

Mr. Troy: That is an easy answer. The Canadian Coast Guard is responsible.

Senator Cook: The Northwest Passage is well within the 200 miles, correct?

I went through your slides. I was initially concerned about the 2-per-cent non-compliance; it seems you have a good response in place to take care of that. You have warnings, detention, legal action, and banning that, all come under the Coast Guard's mandate.

If someone comes into the region and does not want to communicate with you, you have a monitoring system to keep an eye on them and see what they are doing. Essentially, you become responsible for them. Is it correct that you do not let them wander around?

Mr. Troy: From a monitoring perspective, the centres in Iqaluit and Inuvik track the traffic. When it comes to a potential breach of any regulatory requirements, those are reported to Transport Canada who would take the legal enforcement action.

Senator Cook: How would Transport Canada do that?

Mr. Nash: We would do it in various ways. We use the same system. We would go back through the communications system of the Coast Guard to provide direction to the ship.

Senator Cook: Therefore, the direction would come from Transport Canada to the Coast Guard? Are you the retailer?

Mr. Troy: We provide service.

The Chair: Senator Adams has a brief supplementary.

Senator Adams: I think the United Nations has scheduled a meeting May 27 to 28 between Denmark, the United States, Russia, Canada and Greenland. The Canadian Coast Guard has been operating up there, working on the boundary. It looks like it will be eight more years until the mapping of the Arctic is settled. What will we do? Is there a chance we can keep the 200-mile limit? We do not know what is happening. Will we know sometime at the end of the month?

The Chair: I do not know if our witnesses are able to answer that question.

Senator Adams: They are using the Coast Guard for mapping. The Americans, Russians and Danish work together.

Mr. Troy: There has been the International Polar Year, the IPY. There has been a lot of activity and research done by all Arctic nations over the last little while. The Coast Guard had the CCGS Amundsen wintering in the Western Arctic all winter.

The Coast Guard provides services for mapping for the Canadian Hydrographic Service. They have a program in regard to dealing with that. I understand part of that is a linkage back into sovereignty so it is clear with regard to the datum points. We provide assets to the extent that programs can be built around them for the vessels going north.

Senator Adams: We have people from the Arctic network in the Amundsen. You are operating a crew. Can you show us a budget? Every year, are you estimating with the Coast Guard operating in the Arctic for using you on the Amundsen icebreaker? How does it work?

Mr. Troy: The Amundsen is a costed operation. Participants can bring monies to the table in regard to time and space. That is how it was paid for last winter in terms of the individuals, scientific groups and academics who were involved in the various projects on board the vessel over the winter.

The Chair: I have a couple of questions.

Please look at this map here with the red line around the baselines and out to the 200-mile limit. Could you briefly tell us the difference between how you operate within the western portion of that red line and how the U.S. Coast Guard operates off the coast of Alaska?

I do not know if you can do that briefly, but I am interested in the role of our Coast Guard within that 200-mile limit, and the role of the U.S. Coast Guard within the 200-mile limit off the coast of Alaska. Can you give us insights into that?

Mr. Troy: There is not much I can answer. I honestly do not have the information with regard to the operational profile that the United States Coast Guard has deployed for Alaska's North Slope.

The Chair: The reason I ask the question is because we are talking about the same ships. If ships will come through the Northwest Passage, they will first come through American waters and then through our waters. The Americans have a Coast Guard and we have a Coast Guard.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: I could add something to that. The mandate of the western Coast Guard is primary research. It is in support of research in ice-covered waters and the resupply of their facilities in Antarctic waters. There is a very different role from that perspective of the Canadian Coast Guard who will assist vessels in going from point A to B. The western U.S. Coast Guard will not do that.

The Chair: Are you telling me that a ship can come through U.S. waters freely and without any hindrance, registration or notification?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

The Chair: Is that the case?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

Senator Cook: You cannot go any further than 200 miles.

The Chair: I know. In other words, there is no NORDREG?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: No. There is no NORDREG or set of regulations that a vessel must comply with in U.S. waters similar to what they have to comply with in our waters.

The Chair: Would you say that is a weakness? You are in the process now of developing the means to make NORDREG mandatory in the Arctic as it is in the Pacific and the Atlantic. You will make NORDREG mandatory. However, the ships coming into our waters will transit the American waters first and they do not have such a system. Is that right?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: That is correct.

Senator Robichaud: Mr. Chair, what do we mean here by "American waters" and "Canadian waters?" There is the 12-mile territorial water, is that right?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes, and then the 200 miles.

Senator Robichaud: Yes. However, if you are within the 12, surely the Americans know you are there.

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Absolutely.

Senator Robichaud: Do you have to meet any kind of regulations if you are within the 12 miles?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Under international law, you do not have to notify anyone if you are moving through their waters in innocent passage.

Senator Robichaud: Even if you are within 12 miles?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: Yes.

Senator Robichaud: Does it not matter what kind of ship it is?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: No. However, if you are going to a port in that country, then you must notify ahead of time. Now, for security reasons — the maritime security, which applies in the U.S. as well — there is this 96-hour issue. If a vessel is going to a port, through United States' waters, they have to notify the U.S. 96 hours ahead of time.

Senator Robichaud: If they are going to a port —

Mr. Santos-Pedro: In the U.S. If they are passing through and are under international law, they do not have to notify. Do the Americans know the vessel is there? Yes.

Senator Robichaud: Thank you.

The Chair: My second question is with regard to the people who live in the Arctic. What is the interface between the Coast Guard and the people who live in the Arctic? What is their level of cooperation? Do you seek their advice? Do you co-opt them into the Coast Guard? Do you have any kind of quota system that would see Aboriginal people serve in the Coast Guard? Is there a training program within the Coast Guard to train Aboriginal people to enter the Coast Guard and become part of it?

Mr. Troy: Yes. With regards to linkages with the community, my colleague, Mr. Nash, made reference to the Canadian Marine Advisory Council. There is also a regional one for the Arctic, which Transport Canada participates in as well as the Canadian Coast Guard. It is made up of representatives from the Arctic. It occurs twice a year and has discussions with respect to regulatory and operational issues specific to marine transportation, the views of the community and the stakeholders in the community. That is an ongoing element.

In addition, I indicated the Coast Guard just finished a process of reviewing levels of service across Canada. Part of that included discussions with stakeholders and clients in the Arctic. A number of issues came out of that, which we will be pursuing in the future.

There are regular fora to allow for the exchange of views in a general sense and there is that specific event. In addition, there are very specific fora available as well. For example, on the pollution side of things, Transport Canada has provision for a regional advisory council, which takes into account regional aspects of things around the pollution regime. They can talk to it more.

With regard to the Coast Guard and individuals in the Arctic, I am not aware of any formal process with regard to recruitment, training and development. The Coast Guard has always tried, whenever permanent or part-time employment opportunities come up in the Arctic, to ensure that we can get individuals from the community to fill them. I do not know what the numbers on that are. If you want that information, I would have to get back to you.

The Chair: I would be interested if you could get back to us on how many Aboriginal people there are in the Coast Guard — how many people specifically from the Arctic, say north of 60. The RCMP has a system of special constables. I gather the Coast Guard has no such system. The Armed Forces have a system of Canadian Rangers. I gather the Coast Guard has no such system.

Do you envisage in the future that you would develop a program similar to that of the RCMP with special constables and similar to the Canadian Rangers? Also, in search and rescue, there are spotters. I understand there are individuals in the community that are, I could not say employed, but are certainly utilized by search and rescue. Search and rescue is a complicated system that involves the Armed Forces, Transport Canada and so on.

Do you get what I am driving at? I want to have some facts and figures as to what happens now, what the situation is now, and what the plans of the Coast Guard are for the future in terms of integrating people north of 60 into the Coast Guard. As a matter of fact, not just north of 60 but perhaps north of 53, because I would like Labrador to be part of that as well.

Mr. Troy: No problem. If I can pick up on one point, the Coast Guard runs the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in the Arctic. That is based on community units; there are 10 of them. There are 75 trained individuals scattered in communities across the Arctic to provide the first response capacity in terms of search and rescue. With regard to the more formal side in terms of programs, we will get that information.

The Chair: The people in the community for search and rescue are volunteers with no particular training, as I understand it, and they are not paid. Is that right?

Mr. Troy: The people in the auxiliary are paid and they are provided with training.

The Chair: One of the issues we want to get into — Senator Cook has raised this a number of times and other senators have as well — is a special consideration we must not lose sight of, which is that there are people who live there now and who have been there for thousands of years.

Sometimes we talk as if everyone else is coming in to do due diligence in the Arctic, but they are not part of the discussion or the equation. I would like you to get back to us on that.

If there are no further questions —

Senator Adams: I would like to comment. Nunavut has settled a land claim. I think it was some other department that had to work with those people up there because they settled a land claim in 1993 and created the Government of Nunavut in 1999.

Do not say we should work just from Ottawa. Let us work with them up there on issues that involve their own land. Right now, we should tell the Americans that we do not agree with the ban on polar bear hunting in the Arctic. That right belongs to Nunavut.

The Chair: Senator Adams makes a good point — that is, within the land claims agreement, there are constraints on the Government of Canada to work in partnership; I am not sure what the language of the land claim is exactly. Certainly, the effect of it is that the Government of Canada, who may have jurisdiction in certain cases, will work with the Government of Nunavut and, in some cases, that jurisdiction will be shared.

This is true, for example, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I would think it is also true with Natural Resources Canada. The question is, then, is it also true with Transport Canada and the Coast Guard? As a result of that Nunavut land claim, is there any special change in the relationship between Transport Canada, the Coast Guard and the Government of Nunavut?

Mr. Santos-Pedro: I know that the Nunavut land claim provides for the establishment of a marine council under the land claim agreement. As far as I know, that has never been exercised.

As was mentioned earlier, we have our own consultation process — the Canadian Marine Advisory Council Northern Group, which is a joint Canadian Coast Guard-Transport Canada initiative in the North. Elsewhere, it is a Transport Canada consultation in which the Coast Guard also participates, but in the North, it is a joint consultation process. It meets in various parts of the North.

There were several people in the early 1990s and mid-1990s who were considering the possibility that, under the land claims, there would be some kind of a marine council but that was never established. Therefore, we have used the existing mechanisms to engage and consult, either as part of the council or at times, depending on what the issue was, by going directly to the communities and consulting with them.

The Chair: If you can get back to us in writing on the mechanism that you use now and the establishment of the marine council, we would appreciate that.

Senator Cook: Just recently, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador signed a memorandum of understanding to train people in Nunavut. Have you heard about that? I believe it is at the Marine Institute. I guess it would be making the people of Nunavut academically fit to apply for jobs on icebreakers or whatever else was available.

It was a training program, and there was one four or five years ago because they had come out on one of my flights, about 20-odd of them. There are training programs going on. Maybe Senator Adams knows about them.

Senator Adams: Mostly there are programs for fishermen with respect to commercial fishing. There is nothing really to do with the marine. The training is mostly for foreigners or people that come from the South who are hired for the ships that harvest the turbot up there.

Senator Cook: It might be helpful to get that memorandum of understanding from the provincial government or the Nunavut government and see what is in it.

The Chair: When you get back to us on your interface with the communities in Nunavut, could you indicate which organizations you interface with primarily?

If there are no further questions, senators, with your permission, I will now thank our witnesses because we have learned a lot this morning. I know some of the questioning has been difficult for you. In the positions you occupy, you are not policy-makers, even though sometime you would like policy to change. We understand that. We do appreciate that you have been as forthcoming as you can be. Thank you.

The committee adjourned.