Vessel Pollution in Pacific Canada

Submission ID: SEM-23-007
Party concerned: Canada
Date filed: November 2, 2023
Submission Status: Open

Latest Update: November 15, 2023

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The submission asserts that Canada is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws, particularly Section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, to prevent pollution of the marine environment by cruise ships and other vessels along its Pacific coast.

In submission SEM-23-007 (Vessel Pollution in Pacific Canada), the Submitter asserts that Canada is failing to uphold its obligations to protect the marine environment by allowing the continued operation of open-loop exhaust gas cleaning systems (often called “scrubbers”) that remove pollutants from ships’ exhaust emissions and the continued discharge of wastewater used to clean the systems directly into Canadian waters. The Submitter alleges that these systems capture harmful pollutants, like sulfur dioxides, heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, to comply with international air emission obligations for the shipping sector, and that those pollutants are discharged directly into the water, harming marine and coastal ecosystems. The submission states that these discharges threaten vital ecosystems and endangered species, particularly discharges from cruise ships operating in the sensitive Canadian and transnational waters of the Salish Sea, Kwakwaka’wakw Sea and Great Bear Sea.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

The Fisheries Act, the Canada Shipping Act, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) as well as other international instruments.

Submitter(s):, Represented by Benjamin Isitt

Submission Timeline

November 2, 2023

The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Articles 24.27(2) and (3) of the USMCA.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 30/10/2023

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 03/11/2023

November 3, 2023

The Secretariat requested the Submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.

November 15, 2023

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 15/11/2023