Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

July 14, 2009 16:39 ET

The Government of Canada Releases Its Action Plan in Response to Reports on the Rescue of L'Acadien II

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2009) - The Government of Canada today released its integrated action plan to respond to several federal reports following the 2008 capsizing of L'Acadien II.

"The tragic events following the sinking of L'Acadien II near Cape Breton were felt by all Canadians. Since that time, our government has pledged to take all appropriate steps to prevent such incidents in the future," said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. "Today, we are releasing a concrete action plan that I am confident responds to the issues raised through several reviews and demonstrates that we have learned from that experience."

The commitments in the Action Plan address a number of issues ranging from vessel safety and the Canadian Coast Guard towing policy to procedures for search and rescue. Among major improvements initiated:

- CCG has initiated the development of an "Assistance to Disabled Vessels policy";

- CCG attended pre-seal hunt meetings with sealers to discuss Canadian Coast Guard operations during the hunt and what levels of service sealers could expect. This included the 2009 Annual Atlantic Seal Hunt Advisory Committee Meeting and regional consultations held in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Atlantic regions; and

- Transport Canada is developing new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations that include revised provisions for vessels that may navigate ice-covered waters.

"We are moving forward with a plan that ensures fishers and their vessels are kept as safe as possible," said the Honourable John Baird, Canada's Minister of Transport. "It is a plan that allows government partners and the fishing industry to work together effectively to be preventative and prepared."

"One of the reasons Canada has one of the finest search and rescue systems in the world is because of the efforts we make to gather lessons learned from past incidents with a view to making all possible improvements," said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "The action plan is a symbol of this commitment to excellence within the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard."

Following the capsizing of L'Acadien II, Retired Rear Admiral Roger Girouard was appointed by the then-Minister of Fisheries of Oceans to lead an independent investigation into the events and circumstances of the incident. At the request of the Canadian Coast Guard, the Department of National Defence also reviewed the command, control and coordination of the search and rescue operation. Finally, the Transportation Safety Board undertook an independent investigation to determine the cause of the incident and any factors that may have contributed to it.

The Integrated Action Plan released today is the result of a dedicated, interdepartmental team established in December, 2008 by Minister Shea. It outlines what steps have already been taken, and what remains to be done in the short and longer term to ensure safety in Government of Canada operations and to fully respond to all the recommendations in the three reports.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, DND and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will continue to work together to deliver on their respective elements of the Action Plan, with regular progress reporting on the CCG website.

Internet: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Scott Cantin
    Media Relations
    613-993-5413
    or
    Office of Canada's Transport Minister John Baird, Ottawa
    Chris Day, Press Secretary
    613-991-0700
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Office of the Minister
    Nancy Bishay, Press Secretary
    613-992-3474