International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

October 27, 2022

Welcome, minister, to the Senate. The issue of bilge water dumping continues to threaten Canada’s waterways and coastal ecosystems. Last year, a Nova Scotia-based manufacturer of bilge water filtration systems conducted an independent assessment of bilge water contamination of 44 fishing boats in 12 harbours. The results showed that bilge water contamination levels averaged 1,364 parts per million, which is 91 times the 15-parts-per-million threshold of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or MARPOL. Canada has been a MARPOL signatory since it came into force in 1983.

Seven weeks ago, together with some other Senate colleagues, we sent a letter to you as the lead minister for the MARPOL convention implementation, asking you to commit to strengthen compliance for bilge water dumping and incentivize the installation of effective bilge water filtration systems. When can we expect to see you take action on this issue?

Hon. Omar Alghabra, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport [ + ]

Thank you very much, senator.

Our government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and the environment. Transport Canada is working with the shipping industry, Canadian ports and other departments to monitor the impact of marine shipping and its subsequent discharge, including those from oily bilge water.

I want to give you an example, senator. We reached an agreement earlier this year with the cruise industry to ensure that they limit their waste water dumping into Canadian waters. We’re making progress. I know there is more work to be done about the type of vessels you’re referring to, however, and we are committed to doing it.

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