Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in the House today and speak to Bill C-48. In my opinion, it is a very balanced, comprehensive framework for a responsible and sustainable future. It would protect our precious coastal communities of northern British Columbia while supporting those communities as they enjoy the ability to grow and prosper in that beautiful part of the world.
It really does not matter which ocean one is facing. Whether it be the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic oceans, the health and protection of our coasts are critical to our environment, to our economy, and to all Canadians. In today's competitive markets, ensuring that the import and export of products is done in a safe and efficient manner is paramount to the vitality of globalized economies.
In Canada, our domestic shipping industry is the linchpin to our supply chain that allows us to competitively engage in the international marketplace. With a direct contribution of $3 billion annually to Canada's gross domestic product, transporting approximately $200 billion in international goods, the value of a strong domestic shipping industry is unquestionable. The marine industry not only ensures that our goods get to market, but it also provides essential supplies to rural and coastal communities. British Columbia's coastal communities know how important these resupply activities are.
British Columbians will also tell us that what they truly love about living on Canada's Pacific coast is the extraordinary beauty and the breathtaking landscapes, which they rely upon for food, for cultural activities, and for their very livelihoods. The abundance of nature's bounty is a cornerstone of their quality of life.
Obtaining the right balance of safe and efficient marine shipping while protecting our coastal waterways is top of mind for our government. To help preserve and protect our national heritage across all of Canada's coasts, we are investing $1.5 billion over five years in our national oceans protection plan. In parallel, we are also moving forward with Bill C-48, which proposes to formalize an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's north coast. This moratorium complements our ambitious oceans protection plan.
The goal of the oceans protection plan, and Canadians' expectation, is that a strong economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand. This is an unwavering commitment. Formalizing an oil tanker moratorium that would ban oil tankers from stopping along British Columbia's environmentally sensitive north coast is an important element of this commitment. While still allowing critical local resupply activities to continue, this moratorium would help protect the north shores of British Columbia and still enable communities to develop economically. This proposed legislation underscores that our government is serious about encouraging long-term economic growth in a way that does not harm our marine or coastal environments.
Given that the volume of goods moved by marine shipping has increased by almost 20% over the past decade, Canada needs to be well prepared for the associated risks of increased trade and marine development. Our goal is first and foremost to prevent incidents from occurring, and in the unfortunate event that they do take place, minimize their impacts on the environment, on local communities, and on the economy.
This proposed legislation builds on a solid foundation. Canada has had a comprehensive, multi-layered marine safety system in place for many years. This is reflected in our safety record. Although accidents have occasionally occurred in Canada, there has not been a major incident in decades.
Complementary to this legislation, the oceans protection plan will make important investments in science to better understand how oil behaves in water and to research more effective technologies for spill cleanup, including through partnerships with external research institutions and academia. In addition, we are significantly increasing our capacity to prevent incidents through investments, such as increased towing capacity for the Canadian Coast Guard. Through these initiatives, we want to build an economy that prioritizes responsible and sustainable growth.
I want to acknowledge that the shipping industry has evolved over the years to enhance its safety record. Design and construction have improved, as have safety and communications equipment. Seafarers are better trained than in the past. Lifeboat design and drills have also improved. All these contribute greatly to marine safety and security. Despite the relatively strong safety record that Canada enjoys, there is room for improvement.
We need to address gaps and continue to build a world-leading system that will keep pace with the growth and developments in the marine transportation industries. Canada needs to position itself for a future characterized by emerging and disruptive technologies, and new approaches. Connectivity and automation will have far-reaching impacts on the transportation sector and the economy as a whole.
Transport Canada is the federal department that oversees a comprehensive legislative and regulatory system that ensures marine transportation remains safe and efficient, and protects our marine environment. Canada has more than 60 marine safety regulations. The key components of this existing safety regime include compulsory pilotage areas in sensitive or busy waterways where marine pilots with local knowledge of the area are required, and marine safety inspectors to ensure that all vessels, including tankers, meet the strict safety requirements in Canadian law.
Building on this record of excellence and marine safety measures already announced under the national oceans protection plan, Bill C-48 would add another layer of protection. It would not only protect one of British Columbia's most sensitive marine environments, but would also complement several other initiatives that promote marine innovation in support of safe and environmentally friendly marine shipping.
In 2016, Transport Canada consulted Canadians on our transportation system. On the subject of the environment and innovation, Canadians told us that pollution should be reduced in all modes of transportation by using options such as alternative fuels and electric power. They also told us that government incentives and regulations can encourage the use of new technologies.
For example, the shore power technology for ports program is part of our effort to limit air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and to improve air quality in ports near major cities. The program reduces emissions by allowing docked ships to turn off their auxiliary diesel engines and connect to electric power. This is one way Canada is acting on its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels, and to do it by 2020. So far, seven ports have received funding under this program, five of which are in British Columbia, totalling $9.5 million for the B.C. ports.
Since January 1, 2015, under the North American emission control area in coastal waters, vessels operating in Canada must use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of .01%, or use technology that results in equivalent sulphur emissions to reduce air pollutants. These regulatory changes enacted by both Canada and the U.S. are expected to reduce sulphur oxides by 96%. This is another important example of how government uses incentives and regulations to enable the marine industry to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and invest in new technologies.