Expanding capacity in environmental response and search and rescue
Canada is a maritime nation with more coastline than any other country in the world. In November 2016, the Government of Canada launched the $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan. As part of that plan, the Government of Canada is developing measures that will enhance marine safety, as well as prevent and improve response to marine pollution incidents. These initiatives will help keep Canadian waters and coasts safe and clean, for today’s use and for future generations.
Additional Lifeboat Stations
Search and rescue lifeboat stations are strategically located across Canada and are operated by highly-trained professional Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) personnel well-equipped to respond to marine incidents in near-shore areas. During the busy summer boating season, this capacity is further augmented for in-shore waters with strategically located in-shore rescue boat stations, operated by well-trained personnel hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program.
To increase its search and rescue capacity, the Coast Guard will establish seven new lifeboat stations; four in British Columbia: in the areas of Victoria, Hartley Bay, Port Renfrew, and Nootka; and two new stations in Newfoundland and Labrador: in the areas of Twillingate and Bay de Verde. In addition, the former Maritime Communications and Traffic Services centre in St. Anthony, in Newfoundland and Labrador, will become a search and rescue lifeboat station.
These areas were chosen based on identified gaps in CCG’s maritime search and rescue response capacity and planned marine traffic growth. The exact location of the stations will be determined after a more detailed site analysis is undertaken in each chosen area and the appropriate environmental assessments and community and Indigenous consultations have been completed. It is anticipated that construction of the new stations will begin in the summer of 2018.
24/7 Emergency Response at Regional Operations Centres
The CCG’s three Regional Operations Centres (ROC) located in Victoria, British Columbia; Montreal, Quebec; and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador facilitate the overall scheduling and coordination of the CCG’s fleet to ensure the best use of available resources for regular program delivery, as well as during emergency situations.
As part of creating a world-leading marine safety system, the Coast Guard will create 24/7 emergency response capacity within the existing ROCs. These centres, along with the new 24/7 capacity of the CCG National Command Centre in Ottawa, will monitor, assess, and deliver tasking and reporting functions, focused primarily on marine pollution incidents, and bolster the Coast Guard’s capacity to better plan and coordinate effective response during an incident. This would reduce delays in communicating important information internally and to partners, stakeholders and the public. In addition, ROC watch officers will receive specific training focused on environmental response.
This initiative will better equip the federal government to respond to and manage a major environmental pollution incident. It is anticipated that these centres will be fully operational by spring 2020.
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