An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

Report stage (House), as of Dec. 11, 2017

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Oceans Act to, among other things,

(a) clarify the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to establish a national network of marine protected areas;

(b) empower the Minister to designate marine protected areas by order and prohibit certain activities in those areas;

(c) provide that, within five years after the day on which the order of the Minister designating a marine protected area comes into force, the Minister is to make a recommendation to the Governor in Council to make regulations to replace that order or is to repeal it;

(d) provide that the Governor in Council and Minister cannot use the lack of scientific certainty regarding the risks posed by any activity as a reason to postpone or refrain from exercising their powers or performing their duties and functions under subsection 35(3) or 35.‍1(2);

(e) update and strengthen the powers of enforcement officers;

(f) update the Act’s offence provisions, in particular to increase the amount of fines and to provide that ships may be subject to the offence provisions; and

(g) create new offences for a person or ship that engages in prohibited activities within a marine protected area designated by an order or that contravenes certain orders.

This enactment also makes amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to, among other things,

(a) expand the Governor in Council’s authority to prohibit an interest owner from commencing or continuing a work or activity in a marine protected area that is designated under the Oceans Act;

(b) empower the competent Minister under the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to cancel an interest that is located in a marine protected area that is designated under the Oceans Act or in an area of the sea that may be so designated; and

(c) provide for compensation to the interest owner for the cancellation or surrender of such an interest.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 17, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

December 11th, 2017 / 3:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in relation to Bill C-55, an act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

December 7th, 2017 / noon
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

It is so ordered.

Ladies and gentleman, we have completed Bill C-55.

I know you have to go; however, I beg the committee's forgiveness on this. We need to go in camera to accept a subcommittee report, so I'm going to suspend for a couple of minutes to accept the report.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, we propose having annual reports in which the minister will report to Parliament specific details of the MPA designations in respect of the designation, reasons, and possible additional measures required to make sure conservation reasons are respected. With respect to this amendment, Mr. Chair, we are requesting That Bill C-55 be amended by adding after line 21 on page 21 the following new clause:

17.1 Section 52 of the Act is replaced by the following: 52(1) The Minister shall, as soon as feasible after the end of each fiscal year, prepare and cause to be laid before both Houses of Parliament a report on the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this Act for that year. (2) The annual report shall include the following: (a) the marine protected areas designated during the relevant reporting period; (b) the extent to which, in the opinion of the Minister, the conservation reasons stated for each designated marine protected area have been respected; and (c) any further measures which, in the opinion of the Minister, are required to be taken in relation to each designated marine protected area in order to ensure that the conservation reasons stated for it are respected.

Mr. Chair, I offer to the committee and to those who are listening that this is again in the spirit of transparency and accountability to ensure that, from this process we are entering into, we are achieving the results that are desired and that if there are any other measures that are required, that the department and the minister report before the House to provide those details.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, again, going back to the testimony that we've heard time and again, with conflicting testimony with respect to potential closures and the testimony we heard that fishermen can just move to other areas, this amendment recognizes a need to respect interests held by licensed commercial fishermen when the waters they fish are included in an MPA. As such, if and when the creation of an MPA displaces fishermen holding licences to fish waters of the MPA, those fishermen ought to be entitled to compensation through a predefined process, with a limited period for the fishermen and the minister to negotiate the terms of compensation.

We are suggesting that Bill C-55, in clause 13, be amended by adding after line 24 on page 12 the following:

39.51(1) The Minister may enter into negotiations with any licensed commercial fisherman, in respect of any designated marine protected area, for a determination of any compensation that may be granted to the licensed commercial fisherman for the loss of all or part of their livelihood to the extent that the loss can be established to have been incurred as a result of the designation of the marine protected area and all such loss is recoverable with costs in proceedings brought or taken with respect to that loss in any court of competent jurisdiction. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Minister shall send a notice to the licensed commercial fisherman informing them of the Minister's intent to enter into negotiations with them within the period specified in the notice. (3) The Minister may, by order, cancel the negotiations if the licensed commercial fisherman does not enter into negotiations with the Minister within the period specified in the notice or if, in the opinion of the Minister, the compensation to be granted to the licensed commercial fisherman for the loss incurred has not been determined within a reasonable time during the negotiations. (4) The Minister shall, in the order, specify the amount of the compensation to be granted to the licensed commercial fisherman in respect of the loss incurred.

We believe this is a fair and reasonable request and amendment to Bill C-55, given that we have heard testimony from all sides that there are concerns and that there could be some displacement in terms of livelihoods and fisheries.

With respect to this amendment, we believe that we've also covered the department and the minister on this, because the onus will also be on the fishermen and the stakeholders to provide and to enter in good faith into negotiations with the ministry and the department.

Thank you.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

This goes to examples of seizures of fish that perhaps go to waste. This amendment targets release of seized fish, and seeks to ensure that the fish or other perishables are not allowed to spoil or go to waste unnecessarily.

Clause 12 would be amended by replacing line 14 on page 12. It currently reads:

(3.1) The enforcement officer who seizes any fish as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Fisheries Act may, at the time of the seizure, return to the water any fish that they believe to be alive.

We are suggesting that Bill C-55, in clause 12, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 12 with the following:

“believe to be alive and shall take reasonable measures to avoid unnecessary loss or waste of fish or any other perishable things seized.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

This amendment proposes the addition of language reflecting that information must be requested and ordered before it is provided.

The amendment is that Bill C-55, in clause 10, be amended by replacing line 19 on page 6 with the following:

(b) on request or order of the enforcement officer, provide the officer with informa-

Under the title “Assistance“, on page 6, paragraph (1.3) says that the “owner or the person in charge of the place, and every person found in the place shall”, and paragraph (b) reads:

(b) provide the enforcement officer with any information or any book, record, electronic data or other document, and access to any data, that are reasonably required for that purpose.

We are suggesting that on request or order of the enforcement officer, provide the officer with any information or any book, record, electronic data, or other document. That's all.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, we'll try to move this forward as quickly as possible.

This amendment is linked to section 39.1(1) which allows an officer who is verifying compliance to examine the thing and take samples free of charge. The proposed addition of “without creating undue hardship to the entity of inspection” seeks to provide some certainty that samples taken free of charge are not of significant monetary or sentimental value. For example, an officer could not take three tonnes of lobster, which were seized recently, or fishing gear.

The amendment would be that Bill C-55, in clause 10, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 6 with the following:

ficer considers appropriate, without creating undue hardship to the entity involved in the inspection.

So the entire (1.1) on page 6, under the heading “Disposition of samples”, would read with our amendment, if carried, “An enforcement officer may dispose of a sample taken under paragraph (1)(b) in a manner that the officer considers appropriate, without creating undue hardship to the entity involved in the inspection.”

December 7th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, this amendment is solely to ensure that if DFO requires copies of documents, log books, or electronic data, the owner of such data, meaning the fishers or the organizations, shall be reimbursed for any costs incurred in trying to prove that they have not committed any offence under this act.

All we're asking is that Bill C-55 in clause 10 be amended by replacing line 38 on page 5 with the following:

record, electronic data or other document, and the owner of the copying equipment shall be reimbursed for the copying costs.

We heard through testimony that during investigations, DFO may enter an organization or a business, and proceed with using that organization's equipment to fulfill their own investigation, and in some cases, the owners, the organizations, incurred costs. We wish to protect stakeholders. If they are being investigated, and DFO enters their premises, any costs incurred shall be borne by DFO, not by the stakeholders.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

We talked about ecological integrity earlier, with Ms. May's motion. It's interesting that in the Oceans Act, in Canada's federal marine protected areas strategy, ecological integrity is not mentioned. Instead, it says that an MPA include the “conservation and protection of marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity”. Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but we do see that we've had a couple of very similar, if not identical, amendments put forth.

To our honourable colleague across the way, to Mr. Hardie's comment, again, Bill C-55 is about interim protection areas, not necessarily the long-standing or....

I just think this is going beyond the scope of Bill C-55.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Chair, NDP-4 talks about establishing the restoration of ecological integrity as the top priority of MPAs. We had a long discussion earlier in the committee. That amendment passed. Essentially, the difference on this particular amendment would be to just put it at the top of the list, so that the minister has that as a top priority. That is essentially no different from the earlier discussion we had. The committee agreed to include it. This would be putting it at the top of the minister's radar.

The amendment is that Bill C-55, in clause 5, be amended by adding after line 4 on page 4 the following:

(2) Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Governor in Council and the Minister when exercising their powers or performing their duties and functions under section 35 or 35.1

Then we define ecological integrity.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Chair, of any amendments we've seen today, this amendment is closest in intent to that of Mr. Tootoo's which the committee passed, but it's different. It deals with indigenous issues. It attempts to have the Oceans Act proactively reflect the federal government's commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to work in a real nation-to-nation relationship.

We already have reflections of that in the Oceans Act, in the ability of the minister to establish regional ocean co-management bodies. What this amendment does—I really think it is an exciting one—and I don't know how familiar members of this committee are.... I know the environment committee has studied the tremendous potential of co-management of protected areas in terrestrial zones with indigenous people. One of our best examples probably is Gwaii Haanas and the Haida Gwaii watchmen program, but there have been other watchmen programs established in our northern parks.

Let me just run through the amendment. It is a longer amendment. I'm not going to read it to you, but it does require that the minister:

shall recognize the jurisdiction of aboriginal peoples over areas of the sea in respect of which they have aboriginal rights or title, having particular regard to protected and conserved areas, and provide for the participation of aboriginal organizations or persons in the management of those areas.

Specifically, the next section sets up the concept of guardians, and the guardian, in subsection (3):

has all the powers and may perform all the duties and functions of an enforcement officer

These provisions would allow coastal indigenous peoples to be full participants in management, enforcement, protection, and engagement in the MPAs as they go forward. As I said, there are a lot of terrestrial precedents, and this would, I think, be a really exciting way that Bill C-55 would be consistent with the recent announcement of our Minister of Justice that the government is going to support Romeo Saganash's private member's bill to bring the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into all of our legislation. You'd be ahead of the curve here in the fisheries and oceans committee to accept this amendment.

December 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, as it reads currently, Bill C-55 states that the minister may “not use the lack of scientific certainty”—the precautionary principle is what we're talking about—“regarding the risks posed by any activity that may be carried out” in the ocean “as a reason to postpone or refrain” from designating an MPA. This amendment would delete the section that states this. Therefore, it puts the onus on the minister to demonstrate that there is scientific evidence, and follows the government's own narrative of using evidence-based policy in its decision-making.

Mr. Chair, on page 3, we are suggesting that Bill C-55, in clause 5, be amended by deleting line 41 on page 3 to line 4 on page 4. The line in question is:

The Governor in Council and the Minister shall not use lack of scientific certainty regarding the risks posed

December 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, this amendment would put a reporting clause into Bill C-55, a responsibility for the minister to report back to Parliament within a year of an interim marine protected area. We are suggesting.... Again, I'll take it back a bit. Time and again, whether it's this study that we've done, the Fisheries Act review, the northern cod study, or the Atlantic salmon study, what we've heard previously is that initiatives have been launched or the department has come before the committee and—no offence to those who are here—has promised to do better and be better. But as we've seen from testimony and have gone through for years and years, we're not seeing some of the results that we perhaps would have anticipated or desired in any of the processes that have been put in place.

This is merely a management tool. It is an opportunity for the minister to come back and say what has been working well and what hasn't been working, perhaps. It includes stakeholder feedback as well, and it really gives Parliament and this committee an opportunity to then be able go back to Canadians again, as we talked about throughout the testimony in this and other studies. If it's working out, it is an opportunity for the government to say what is an overwhelming success and, if it isn't, to say, “Here are the challenges and here's how we're going to adapt it.”

Mr. Chair, what we are recommending is that, on page 3, clause 5 be amended by adding after line 40 the following:

(4) The Minister shall, within a year after the coming into force of this section and as soon as feasible after the end of each fiscal year after that, prepare and cause to be laid before both Houses of Parliament a report that (a) focusses on the operation of this section; (b) lists the marine protected areas designated during the relevant reporting period; (c) sets out the extent to which the conservation objectives stated for each marine protected area designated under subsection (2) have been achieved; and (d) sets out any recommendations for further steps to be taken in order to achieve the stated conservation objectives in relation to each marine protected area designated under subsection (2).

Mr. Chair, I'll leave the committee with this final comment. We have heard from a number of witnesses who appeared before the committee and said that things seem to happen in a void or a vacuum. This would provide the government an opportunity to report back. As I said, trumpet it if it is wildly successful, but also be open and transparent with the Canadian public in terms of how there are perhaps some challenges and how maybe we need to rethink some of the things we're moving forward with.

Thank you.

December 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I won't read out all of proposed section 35.11(a)(b)(c)(d) and (e). You can see it's in front of you. I'm going to assume, given what Mr. Hardie mentioned previously, that it will apply to this one in terms of the committee that's going to be struck to look at this, in looking at the national committee to look at minimum protection standards. However, we're obviously anxious to see that happen now. I think we've had years where we've only been at 1% protection. The government is saying we're now at 5%. We'd like to know what minimum protection includes and the activities allowed. We would argue to include those subsections in 35.11 now. This amends the act to include a set of minimum protection standards for all proposed future MPAs and those prohibitions are oil and gas and mineral exploration and development, wind farms and tidal power, open net aquaculture, bottom trawling, and ocean dumping.

We've heard earlier that polling from WWF-Canada shows that 80% of Canadians believe that MPAs should not allow oil and gas activities, and that 87% believe MPAs should not allow bottom trawling. The recent public outcry over a proposal to allow oil and gas in the proposed Laurentian Channel MPA shows the depth of public support for oil-free MPAs. We're certainly arguing to listen to what the public is saying and include it now in Bill C-55

December 7th, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeff MacDonald

I'll have to go back to the section on the interim protection order. In the interim protection order in Bill C-55, as it reads right now, the minister has to list ongoing activities. If an ongoing activity is an extractive activity, he would have to list it as an ongoing activity.