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CCG/6102 National Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP)
522 COVID-19 - Marine Communications and Traffic Services Broadcast of Information from Partner Agencies

Original: 2020-07-08 Revised: 2021-06-14 Approved by Marc Mes, Director General, Fleet and Maritime Services, on June 14, 2021.


This national standard operating procedure (NSOP) provides procedures, guidelines, and standards for Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) broadcast of information from partner agencies requesting Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) assistance in disseminating important COVID-19 related information to the maritime community.


This NSOP formalizes ad-hoc procedures developed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to Canadian federal government partners' requests for CCG assistance in disseminating important COVID-19 related information to the maritime community.

In response to a request for broadcast services and as per Section 33 of the Oceans Act, “… the Minister shall cooperate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations …”. This procedure assists in determining if the information to be broadcasted by MCTS is appropriate, reasonable, consistent with CCG's mandate and the federal government’s COVID-19 response protocol, and in the public interest.

Procedure and responsibilities for approvals
Step Procedure
  1. National Command Centre:
    1. 1.1. As a national headquarters point-of-contact, it forwards broadcast requests to the Manager, MCTS for review.
  1. MCTS at national headquarters:
    1. 1.1. They review requestors' submissions for compliance with the federal government COVID-19 response protocol, standards as noted below in the “Procedure for formatting and standardizing broadcast messages” table, and advise of any necessary amendments.
    2. 1.2. Messages will be approved by the Director, Marine Navigation and the Manager, MCTS.
    3. 1.3. Once approved, messages are distributed to MCTS centres for text-to-speech recording and transmission.
  1. Department of Fisheries and Oceans legal counsel:
    1. 1.1. As necessary, they review and provide legal opinions on requests.
Procedure for formatting and standardizing broadcast messages
Step Procedure
1. Messages are to relay important information specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic (for example, service reductions, modifications to regulatory or enforcement procedures, port-of-entry closures, health protective measures, etc.).
2. Messages are to provide a clear, succinct summary of the topic, and if necessary, direct audiences to more comprehensive information at the requestor's Internet website or other location. Messages should include a point-of-contact for the requestor (by position, not name), along with telephone and/or email contact information.
3. Messages are to be provided by the requestor in both English and French, except when intended for broadcast in the Western Region only, in which case they may be exclusively in English.
4. Messages are not to exceed 30 seconds in duration when spoken in a measured cadence appropriate to voice radio broadcast. This standard applies individually to the French and English versions of a message.
5. Once transmission commences, messages will be transmitted over MCTS Continuous Marine Broadcast frequencies for a period of 1 month, unless the requestor has specifically requested a shorter or longer period. The onus will be on the originator to advise CCG if they want to renew the message to be broadcast.
Procedure for considerations of approval
Step Procedure
  1. The following factors should be considered when assessing whether to accept, recommend or approve a requestor's message:
    1. 1.1. Content and necessity: Does the content of the message specifically relate to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is the issue it describes important enough to justify broadcast by MCTS?
    2. 1.2. Requestor status: Is the requestor another federal or other level of government agency or department? If not, is CCG's support appropriate, reasonable, consistent with CCG's mandate and federal government COVID-19 response protocol, and in the public interest?
    3. 1.3. Requestor authority: Is the person making the request authorized to represent the requestor?
    4. 1.4. Message compliance with standards: Does the requestor's message comply with the format and standards listed in the “Procedure for formatting and standardizing broadcast messages” table?
    5. 1.5. Legal considerations: Are there any unique or unusual legal implications of CCG transmitting the requestor's message?
    6. 1.6. MCTS operational capacity: Does the MCTS Program have the operational capacity to transmit the message?
Procedure for communicating clarifications and a liability statement
Step Procedure
1. MCTS broadcast is a supplementary means of disseminating the requestor's information to the maritime community. CCG's broadcast of the requestor's message in no way relieves the requestor of the responsibility to ensure their information is accurate and reaches its intended audience. CCG assumes no liability in transmitting the requestor's message.
2. This consideration is to be communicated to requestors in CCG's initial response to their request.


Enquiries regarding this procedure should be directed to:

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