Thank you to the committee for the invitation to be here today.
We are very pleased to come here to address supplementary estimates (A) for 2017-18.
The Government of Canada recognizes that now, more than ever, we need a safe and secure transportation system for a healthy and competitive economy. Efficient, safe and secure transportation systems and environmental responsibility are important priorities for Transport Canada.
A strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. Marine transportation is fundamental to Canada's economic well-being. Our ports and marine corridors are increasingly active, sending Canadian products overseas and receiving goods from around the world.
In 2017-18, the supplementary estimates include $50.9 million to assist Transport Canada in delivering on the oceans protection plan. This funding is part of a broader, five-year, $1.5-billion whole-of-government strategy comprising over 50 initiatives that Transport Canada is implementing with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Natural Resources Canada.
The measures under the oceans protection plan are progressive, proactive, and urgently needed. The oceans protection plan represents the most significant investment ever made to protect Canada’s oceans and coastlines from the potential impacts of marine shipping. This national plan will ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.
The oceans protection plan was built on four fundamental elements: one, building a world-leading marine safety system; two, preserving and restoring Canada's marine environment; three, strengthening indigenous partnerships; and four, investing in science for evidence-based decision-making.
In addition to improving marine safety and protecting marine ecosystems, the oceans protection plan sets the frame toward meeting the Government of Canada's commitments to improve marine safety and to work with the provinces, the territories, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders to better co-manage Canada's three oceans.
The funding from the supplementary estimates that we are seeking the committee's approval of today will assist in advancing initiatives to respond to community issues related to marine traffic, develop training programs to increase the participation of indigenous community members and women in marine safety jobs, increase inspections in northern communities, develop a comprehensive strategy for vessels of concern, and undertake work to create a pilot baseline monitoring program to better understand the cumulative effects of shipping on coastal ecosystems.
We’ll contribute to the Government of Canada reconciliation agenda by actively working with and providing funding to indigenous and local communities. The goal is to encourage the effective participation of these communities and increase their capacity to engage and share their knowledge and expertise during the development and improvement of Canada’s marine transportation system.
The initiatives under the oceans protection plan demonstrate that Transport Canada is working to maintain a transportation system that is safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible. This ambitious plan will also help advance other federal priorities such as strengthening evidence-based decision-making, protecting the environment, and enhancing economic growth.
That concludes my remarks, Madam Chair. My colleagues from the portfolio, my colleague from Transport Canada, and I would be happy to answer questions from the committee.