June 17, 2009 16:33 ET

The Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Canada's Arctic Waters and Enhance Northern Sovereignty

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - Canada's Arctic waters will be better protected through legislative amendments to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird, announced today. The amendments, which received royal assent on June 11, 2009, will safeguard Arctic waters from pollution and allow Canada to exercise greater control over these waters.

"With these amendments, Canada increases its ability to protect its Arctic waters from pollution by expanding the geographic area covered under the Act, which is aimed at preventing ship-source pollution," said Minister Baird. "These measures will help to ensure environmentally responsible shipping in our Arctic waters."

The amendments extend the application of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act by increasing the area defined as Arctic waters from 100 to 200 nautical miles offshore. The expanded coverage will provide Canada with tools to protect against possible pollution from marine activity in Canadian Arctic waters.

The Government of Canada established an Integrated Northern Strategy that is based on four key pillars: promoting northern economic and social development, protecting our fragile northern environment, exercising Canada's sovereignty in the North and improving northern governance. The expansion of coverage of the Arctic shipping legislation is directly linked to this strategy, which commits the government to ensuring a sustainable and comprehensive approach to Arctic shipping.

"The amended Act demonstrates our government's commitment to promoting economic development in Canada's North while protecting our country's environmental heritage and asserting our sovereignty," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Member of Parliament for Nunavut.

The updated Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act marks an important step forward in the Government of Canada's Integrated Northern Strategy and complements Arctic initiatives already put in place under the Health of the Oceans component of the National Water Strategy.

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Contact Information

  • Office of Transport Minister John Baird, Ottawa
    Chris Day
    Press Secretary
    Transport Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations