Ballast water is an important part of vessel safety. However, it can accidentally introduce and spread invasive aquatic species when released into Canadian waters, which can have negative environmental and economic impacts. Through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is ensuring the safe movement and navigation of large and small vessels while limiting risks to our marine ecosystems.
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, has announced $12.5 million in funding to launch the Ballast Water Innovation Program as part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. The program, which is a central component of the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance the implementation and enforcement of the 2021 Ballast Water Regulations, will play an important role in further reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region by investing in innovative solutions to ballast water management.
Evidence shows that ballast water management systems are an effective solution in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region. However, technical challenges caused by unique water conditions, such as cooler temperatures and heavy sedimentation rates, can pose a challenge to ballast water management systems in the region. To address these challenges and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, this program will:
- Fund research projects that ensure ballast water management systems are optimized for unique water environments in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region;
- Provide innovative solutions to ensure the successful implementation of the new ballast water regulations and prevent the entry and spread of invasive aquatic species in the region;
- Enable the Government of Canada to deepen its technical expertise relating to ballast water management system issues; and
- Inform Canada’s discussions with the U.S. and other countries towards more compatible rules and increased environmental protections.
Transport Canada is now accepting applications for research funding from Canadian vessel owners and operators, Canadian Port Authorities, not-for-profit organizations, public sector organizations, and academia until May 10, 2023. Approved projects are expected to begin in 2023.
The Oceans Protection Plan is a Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, academia, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. The Oceans Protection Plan will keep our oceans and coasts healthy, advance reconciliation, and build a clean future for our children and grandchildren.
“Our government is taking action to limit the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species through the Ballast Water Innovation Program. This will support our dedication to protecting Canada’s coastlines and waterways. The Oceans Protection Plan is helping to protect the environment by supporting sustainable marine shipping practices, and today’s announcement is a further demonstration of this commitment.” – The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport
- Evidence shows that, in many instances, ballast water management systems are effective in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River regions. However, technical and operational challenges exist. Most ballast water management systems have been developed for warmer salt-water conditions typically encountered by ocean-going vessels. Great Lakes regional water conditions are cold, fresh, and sometimes heavily sedimented.
- The Ballast Water Innovation Program is a central component of the department’s efforts to advance the implementation and enforcement of the 2021 Ballast Water Regulations. These regulations address Canada’s commitments under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 and require the use of ballast water management systems.
- Project results will enable Transport Canada to deepen its technical expertise relating to unique Canadian ballast water management system issues and support our international collaboration with the United States and at the International Maritime Organization, including on research and development efforts.
- To learn how the Oceans Protection Plan is making marine shipping safer and protecting coastal ecosystems in Ontario, including in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region, click here.