Canada Announces Mandatory Environmental Measures For Cruise Ships

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra has announced mandatory environmental measures for cruise ships effective immediately.

The measures address discharges of greywater (the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs and showers, or dishwaters) and sewage (wastewater from bathroom and toilets).

These mandatory measures for the cruise ship industry include:

  • Prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated sewage within three nautical miles from shore where geographically possible across Canada
  • Strengthening the treatment of greywater together with sewage before it is discharged between three and twelve nautical miles from shore south of 60°N using an approved treatment device in non-Arctic waters. This will complement existing regulations for Arctic waters under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act
  • Reporting compliance with these measures in Canadian waters upon request

Minister Alghabra observed that: “Cruise ships are an important part of our economy and tourism sector, but they need to operate in a more sustainable manner to protect our waters and our environment.”

He noted that: “The measures introduced today are additional tools in our tool box to keep them accountable. We are committed to continuing to work with industry to implement these measures, keeping our coasts clean for Canadians to enjoy.”

The measures were announced last year for the cruise ship industry on a voluntary basis, but going forward, cruise ships will be subject to fines for non-compliance with these measures, up to the maximum permitted ($250,000) under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Joyce Murray said: “These measures apply to cruise ships transiting through Canada’s Marine Protected Areas and marine refuges, and making them mandatory underlines our commitment to safeguarding our oceans for future generations as we support economic opportunities. With the threat of climate change and ongoing human activities impacting oceans, protecting them now has never been more urgent.”

Designed to better protect Canada’s oceans and the marine environment, the measures will support the work that is underway to conserve 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030.