Ottawa cruise ship dumping report reveals little to nothing on how to protect coastline from pollution

Thursday August 18, 2022

While this was a welcomed first step for better protecting Canada’s oceans, Transport Canada is not doing enough to put the lid down on the toilet bowl

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Transport Canada released its first industry self-report on voluntary cruise ship dumping measures today, but it lacks critical information needed to better protect Canada’s coastline. 

This first installment follows Transport Canada’s announcement last April that they would report on compliance with new voluntary measures on greywater and sewage pollution. While this was a welcomed first step for better protecting Canada’s oceans, it’s not nearly enough to prevent pollution and match our neighbours strong regulations

“This report from Transport Canada is as shocking as it is dismal. There simply is no information on treatment of pathogens and pollution, where dumping occurred, or any confirmation or audits of industry self-reporting,” said Anna Barford, Canada Shipping Campaigner for Stand.earth

Over the last decade, the cruise ship industry off the West Coast of Canada has exploded. In 2019, more than one million passengers and crew from 30 different cruise ships visited the Victoria cruise terminal during 256 ship calls on their way to and from Alaska. During this time, the waters off the B.C coast were subjected to 32 billion litres of dumping of sewage, greywater, and acidic fossil fuel waste from scrubbers. These waste streams contain a variety of pollutants that contribute to ocean acidification and increase greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere. 

Earlier this month, an Access to Information and Privacy Request obtained by National Observer revealed that Transport Canada planned to crack down on the cruise ship industry’s biggest source of pollution earlier this year, but instead let the cruise ship industry talk them out of it.

“The largest cruise ship company is a multiple time US federal felon for environmental crimes, including falsifying data and reports and this publicly available report based on voluntary submissions is a gift to an industry that has been caught lying through its teeth,” continued Barford. “Transport Canada is continuing to fail in their responsibility to manage industrial pollution, at the expense of wildlife, ocean health, and coastal communities.”

Last April, Stand.earth delivered a petition signed by over 50,000 people demanding that Ottawa stop cruise ship dumping, underscoring the overwhelming public support for protecting Canada’s ocean waterways.  Stand.earth continues to call on Ottawa to support coastal communities meaningfully by instituting an ambitious shipping pollution oversight program.

###

Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)