3 Preparedness

3.1 Levels of Service

In accordance with established Levels of Service, the Canadian Coast Guard is required to have a preparedness capacity for response to ship-source marine pollution incidents.

The National Environmental Response Program Office will:

  • develop and maintain marine pollution response plans including plans with countries sharing contiguous waters with Canada;
  • provide competent and qualified personnel for designation by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to the role of Pollution Response Officer; and
  • provide qualified Environmental Response personnel and appropriate pollution countermeasures equipment.

In accordance with the established Levels of Service, the following Service Standards have been developed:

  • the National Marine Spills Contingency Plan is updated every 5 years;
  • Regional chapters of the Plan are maintained in all three Regions; and
  • a Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response Duty Officer is available in each Region on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis.

3.2 Contingency Planning

Canadian Coast Guard Headquarters, Operations, National Environmental Response Program Office, is the custodian of the Marine Spills Contingency Plan – National Chapter, and is responsible for:

  • publishing the Marine Spills Contingency Plan – National Chapter, standards, protocols, procedures, directives, and ensuring its availability to partners, stakeholders and the general public;
  • ensuring that the plan is reviewed on a cyclical basis and updated, as necessary;
  • Establishing standards for the development of the Regional Chapters and the Geographically Specific Response Plans; and
  • Ensuring the Regions follow the national system.

The Regional Environmental Response program is responsible for developing and managing their Regional Chapter and Geographically Specific Response Plans in accordance with the standards in Annex C.1 Geographically Specific Response Plans. They are also responsible for developing and maintaining productive working relationships with all internal and external support agencies, clients and stakeholders in their respective Regions.

3.2.1 Regional Risk Based Response Planning

In light of recommendations highlighted by the Tanker Safety Panel’s Phase 1 report “A Review of Canada’s Ship-source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime – Setting the Course for the Future”, the Government of Canada is presently collaboratively developing and implementing tailored regional risk-based response plans in areas across the country. Response plans are intended to take geography, environmental sensitivities, traffic volumes, and local partners and stakeholders into consideration.

3.3 Training

The goal of training is to provide the necessary skills and knowledge for responders to conduct their duties and functions effectively during the response to a marine pollution incident.

The Director, Operational Personnel, Canadian Coast Guard, is responsible for the overall management of the training program.

3.3.1 National Training Program

The Canadian Coast Guard National Training Program is comprised of on-the-job training and a series of courses designed to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to respond safely and effectively to a marine pollution incident. The curriculum for the program is held by the Professional Development and Certification, Operational Personnel, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard Headquarters, with curriculum development support provided by the Marine Education Unit of the Canadian Coast Guard College. Canadian Coast Guard Regions are responsible for delivering the National Training Program in accordance with the National Training Plan and participating in curriculum development and revision.

Environmental Response related courses are as follows:

  • Introduction to Oil Spills;
  • First Response to Oil Spills Training;
  • Marine Oil Spill Response and Recovery;
  • Essentials of Marine Oil Spills Training;
  • Marine Spill Response Operations Course (MSROC);
  • Incident Command System (ICS) Courses;
  • On-Scene Commander (OSC) Course; and
  • Pollution Response Officer (PRO) Course.

3.3.2 National Training Plan

The goal of the National Training Plan is to outline how the Environmental Response program will develop and maintain a skilled workforce to respond to marine pollution incidents. The National Training Plan is based on competency profiles specific to each position within the Environmental Response and Incident Command System organizational structure.

Identified competencies are achieved using formal and informal training opportunities from both internal and external sources.

Canadian Coast Guard Fleet and other departmental staff that can support the execution of an Environmental Response led operation will be identified within the National Training Plan.

3.4 Quality Assurance

The Quality Assurance section is responsible for the audit, evaluation and analysis of all components of the National Environmental Response System. System, planning and training gaps will be identified through examination of exercises, case documentation and case studies. Its recommendations will form part of workplan objectives and drive the National Exercise Program. It will execute national level exercises and assist in regional events.

Specifically, the quality assurance program will be responsible for:

  • evaluation of National Environmental Response doctrine against performance measurement criteria:
    • cases (assessment and response)
    • plans
    • procedures
    • exercises; and
    • National Incident Management Team performance
  • auditing the Environmental Response Manual documentation;
  • National Environmental Response Program Office representation for safety management system;
  • National Environmental Response audit, analysis, and evaluation committee;
  • providing advice and support to the Director, Incident Management, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard Headquarters ;
  • providing secretariat support to the Environmental Response Operations Governance Committee; and
  • working collaboratively with regional and national counterparts.

3.4.1 Exercise

Exercises are realistic simulations of various types of marine pollution incidents and can range from a simple alerting exercise to a full-scale deployment of personnel and equipment. The Environmental Response program will conduct exercises in accordance with its National Exercise Program. National Exercise Program

The goal of the National Exercise Program is to reinforce the necessary skills and knowledge required by responders in response to a marine pollution incident. The National Exercise Program provides the framework through which exercises can be organized, coordinated and guided. It is a set of guiding principles and planning tools that have been developed to help achieve maximum benefit from marine spill response exercises. The National Exercise Program is managed by Incident Management, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard Headquarters. National Exercise Plan

The National Exercise Plan is maintained by Incident Management, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard Headquarters, with input from the Regions and provides a schedule of exercises that focus on the fundamental elements of a response. The plan is designed to evaluate training as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of procedures, equipment and resources identified in contingency plans. Exercises are conducted over the training period, which normally occurs over the spring, summer and fall months.

The Environmental Response National Program Office and Canadian Coast Guard Regions are responsible for designing and conducting drills and exercises to practice, validate and reinforce plans, systems and strategies. When appropriate, this will be done in coordination with internal and external support agencies and clients. A Post-Exercise Review and Evaluation report is required for all exercises in accordance with guidelines outlined in Chapter 11 of the National Exercise Program.

3.5 Canadian Coast Guard Resources

3.5.1 Pollution Response Equipment

The Canadian Coast Guard has an established equipment capacity and supporting infrastructure to facilitate monitoring or response operations in each Region. The Canadian Coast Guard maintains more than 80 response equipment depot sites across the country, including 22 sites in the Arctic, which include containment, recovery and storage equipment. In addition, Canadian Coast Guard vessels that sail in the Arctic are equipped with pollution response equipment. The following graphic depicts the general location of the Canadian Coast Guard response equipment and regional and district offices that house Environmental Response personnel.

Figure 2: Canadian Coast Guard Offices and Equipment Depots

Canadian Coast Guard Offices and Equipment Depots
Figure 2: Canadian Coast Guard Offices and Equipment Depots

Canadian Coast Guard Offices and Equipment Depots


  • Staffed Facility
    • St. John’s
    • Dartmouth
    • Charlottetown
    • Saint John
    • Port Hastings
  • Unstaffed Facility
    • Come By Chance
    • Burgeo
    • Goose Bay (seasonal)
    • Twillingate
    • Burin
    • Stephenville
    • Lark Harbour
    • Port au Chois
    • St. Anthony
    • CCGS Henry Larsen (seasonal)
    • CCGS Terry Fox (seasonal)
    • Argentia
    • Shippegan (seasonal)
    • Belledune
    • Chatham
    • Louisbourg
    • Port Bickerton
    • Sambro
    • Clark’s Harbour
    • Yarmouth
    • Westport
    • Grand Manan
    • St. Andrews
    • CCGC Sydney
    • St. Andrews
    • Summerside (seasonal)
    • Souris (seasonal)
    • Alberton (seasonal)
    • Chedicamp (seasonal)

Central and Arctic

  • Staffed Facility
    • Quebec City
  • Unstaffed Facitilty
    • Sorel
    • Sept-Îles
    • Baie de GaspĂ©
    • Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Great Lakes Sector

  • Staffed Facility
    • Prescott
    • Parry Sound
    • Sarnia (staffed, no equipment)
  • Unstaffed Facility
    • Kingston
    • Cobourg
    • Port Dover
    • Port Weller
    • Amherstburg
    • Goderich
    • Thunder Bay
    • Tobermory
    • Meaford
    • Sault Ste. Marie

Arctic Sector

  • Unstaffed Facility
    • Holman
    • Kugluktuk
    • Cambridge Bay
    • Gjoa Haven
    • Resolute Bay
    • Arctic Bay
    • Churchill
    • Clyde River
    • Iqaluit
    • Cape Dorset
    • Coral Harbor
    • Rankin Inlet
    • Tuktoyaktuk
    • Broughton Island
    • Hall Beach
    • Pond Inlet
    • Baker Lake
    • Chesterfield Inlet
    • Kimmirut
    • Pangnirtung


  • Staffed Facility
    • Richmond
    • Victoria
    • Prince Rupert
    • Kitsilano
  • Unstaffed Facility
    • Queen Charlotte City
    • Masset
    • Sandspit
    • Port Hardy
    • Campbell River
    • Powell River
    • Tofino
    • Bamfield
    • Ganges
    • French Creek
    • Bella Bella
    • Bella Coola
    • Kitimat
    • Ucluelet
    • Shearwater
    • Gimli
    • Yellowknife
    • Hay River

3.5.2 Life Cycle Management

Although resources from various areas are available to the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard is only responsible for maintaining the preparedness of its own resources. To ensure a nationally consistent and effective state of preparedness, Integrated Technical Services personnel use MAXIMO® to track, repair and maintain assets. This system:

  • Allows Integrated Technical Services personnel to maintain a real time record of the location and quantity of resources;
  • Allows Integrated Technical Services personnel to maintain a proper state of readiness through a pro-active approach using work order and preventative maintenance; and
  • Assists in keeping Environmental Response managers informed about the state of the equipment’s preparedness.
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