Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her support in helping to move legislation forward. We look forward to seeing the results of the committee's work on this important issue.
On October 30, our government introduced new legislation, Bill C-64, Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels act that is more robust, and comprehensive than anything that has ever been seen previously in Canada, drawing on international best practices. The bill would strengthen vessel owner responsibility and liability, address irresponsible vessel management, and enhance federal powers to take more proactive action on problem vessels.
This is a core prevention measure under the national strategy on abandoned vessels and wrecks that was announced as part of the oceans protection plan last year. To complement the legislation, we are working with other levels of government to improve federal vessel ownership identification systems. This is needed to ensure owners can be held accountable.
I want to be clear that our national strategy goes above and beyond legislation. We recognized right from the start that we cannot wait for the legislation to kick in before addressing some of the most problematic vessels that are currently affecting our communities.
That is why the government launched two funding programs this year to support the clean-up and removal of legacy abandoned vessels and wrecks. One is transport's abandoned boats program, and another one is a separate funding initiative from Fisheries and Oceans, the abandoned and wrecked vessels removal program, to address vessels in federally owned small craft harbours. These two programs recognize that local communities, ports, and harbours, particularly those that are small and remote, often do not have the resources to cover the costs of removing and disposing of abandoned and wrecked boats. These programs will deliver tangible results. They will get boats out of the water. Indeed, work has already started under these programs.
However, this is not all these funding programs do, they also support education and research. Owners do not always have a clear understanding of their responsibilities when their vessel reaches its end of life. Some are unaware of disposal options or the impacts of abandonment. The abandoned boats program will provide funding support to other levels of government, indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations, and other eligible groups for activities that educate vessel owners about their responsibilities.
Another challenge is that some vessels are made of materials that are difficult to dismantle and dispose of. For this reason, the abandoned boats program is supporting research into processes and materials that will help improve boat recycling and design. The goal is to improve recycling options for boats, and prevent further unnecessary pollution.
We are proud of the actions that we have taken to date to address this important issue. We will continue to collaborate with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, indigenous groups, and coastal communities, to implement our comprehensive national strategy on abandoned and wrecked vessels, and we look forward to all members supporting Bill C-64.