In 2014, the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas) was established by the Federal Government as a non-profit, independent centre of expertise for safe and sustainable marine shipping in Canada. As part of its mandate, Clear Seas commissioned the Council of Canadian Academies (Council) to prepare a report setting out the main social, environmental, and economic risks related to the shipping of goods in Canadian waters.
In April 2016, the Council published the results of its research, in Commercial Marine Accidents: Understanding the Risks in Canada (Report). In this Report, the Council sets out in detail a range of risks associated with commercial shipping in Canada, by analyzing shipping activity, accident prevention, incidents and accidents, and impacts, across major regional segments. The report is a key first step in making meaningful gains in the acceptance of the shipping industry by those who, perhaps without realizing it, depend on the uninterrupted flow of goods to and from the country.
While the Report is a thorough and broad-ranging analysis, this article focuses on two aspects relevant in this context: the risks highlighted in the region of coastal British Columbia (the Pacific region), and one of the Council’s conclusions, that the legal and regulatory regime applicable to shipping-related activities in Canada is a significant mitigating factor for these risks.
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