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Passage of Oil Tanker Moratorium Act brings about environmental protection almost 50 years in the making

Thursday, June 20, 2019

VANCOUVER, BC, Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories – Environmental lawyers welcome the news that Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, has passed a final vote in the Senate and will become law. The Senate voted today to accept a message from the House of Commons signalling its agreement on the final version of the Bill.

“The legalization of an oil tanker prohibition on the Pacific north coast is the result of many decades of tireless work by Indigenous nations, northern communities, and supporters throughout BC and Canada,” said Gavin Smith, Staff Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law Association. “Today is a recognition and a validation of their efforts.”

The Act prohibits tankers carrying over 12,500 tonnes of crude or persistent oil from docking, loading or unloading in Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance and Queen Charlotte Sound. Crude oil tankers have never plied those waters, yet there have been proposals to introduce oil tankers to the region dating back to the 1970s, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway project rejected in 2016.

The passage of the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act comes almost half a century after the BC Legislature and the House of Commons each unanimously resolved, in 1971 and 1972 respectively, to oppose oil tanker traffic on the Pacific north coast.

“It’s an understatement to say that Bill C-48 has had a long journey to become law,” said Smith. “The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act represents an important milestone for protecting the Pacific north coast and all those who rely on it.”

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For more information, please contact:

Gavin Smith | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law Association
604-601-2512, gsmith@wcel.org