Speaking notes for The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities
Belledune, New Brunswick
August 18, 2014
Check against delivery
Thank you for that kind introduction.
It’s great to be back at ACPA. Your conference last year in Nanaimo was one of the first events I attended last year as Minister and it’s a pleasure to again see so many familiar faces.
It’s also great to see you all in Belledune – a coastal region that is close to home for me.
Wherever home is, being federal Minister of Transport brings challenges and achievements from right across the country.
So, in keeping with the “Anchors Away” theme of this year’s conference, I’d like to share with you some recent developments that relate to transportation across Canada.
They highlight some of the key challenges that we face and explain how we are addressing them.
And they demonstrate how transportation connects to our country’s trade agenda – whether through our policies and regulations, our infrastructure, the people who operate our transport networks and our efforts to protect people and our environment.
Transportation and trade in Canada
Much of our work focuses on the fact that Canada is a trading nation and because of this, transportation is integral to our economic growth and prosperity.
We can reap economic advantages of international trade, but to do so, we must respond to global change and ensure our transportation networks can meet global demands.
This means ensuring that our physical infrastructure is up to the task, that we plan strategically for future demands and that we strengthen our relationships with public and private partners, both in Canada and abroad.
To this end, our government has concluded free trade agreements with 10 countries in less than seven years, and is negotiating with 30 more.
As you know, last year, Prime Minister Harper announced an historic agreement-in-principle with the European Union, providing access for Canada to a market of more than 500 million consumers. Just recently, the remaining technical discussions have been concluded on the agreement.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is Canada’s most ambitious trade and investment initiative, broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Once implemented, it will cover virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade, including transportation.
In March, our Prime Minister also announced an important trade agreement with Korea – our first with an Asian country. South Korea is not only a major economic player and a key market for Canada – it also serves as a gateway to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.
Gateways, borders and corridors
To pursue our ambitious trade agenda, we are supporting these agreements with transportation initiatives here in Canada.
For example, we launched the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative in 2006 and have invested 1.4 billion dollars in Asia-Pacific Gateway projects in partnership with all four western provinces, municipalities and the private sector.
Since 2007, we have announced 39 strategic infrastructure investments in nine provinces under the 2.1 billion-dollar Gateways and Border Crossings Fund.
This includes investments in the Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor, where we are developing an integrated multimodal system to strengthen transportation networks in our Atlantic and Central regions.
For example, we recently announced about 185,000 dollars under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund for the SmartATLANTIC Saint John buoy project to help improve the efficiency, safety and environmental stewardship of marine transportation in the Bay of Fundy.
These initiatives demonstrate how our government is taking action to pursue our aggressive trade agenda by strengthening marine transportation and the networks that feed it.
We have demonstrated the power of collaboration, engagement and public-private partnerships to achieve a common goal.
And we continue to help the economy of the entire country by strengthening supply chains and making the most of trade opportunities in important international markets, such as Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
Conditions for Port Competitiveness
At the heart of our plans is the need to create the right conditions for an efficient, competitive and sustainable transportation system to move Canadians and Canadian products.
And, as part of this direction, the action we are taking to support the important role that our ports play in this system.
This action is not only to encourage investment in Canadian products. This government is also committed to creating the right conditions to ensure that we have competitive ports to support our assertive trade agenda.
To that end, I am pleased to announce that I have approved amendments that will allow all Canada Port Authorities, or CPAs, to enter into long-term lease agreements and use the lands they manage to generate revenues that would support future port projects.
This change is part of a long-standing commitment to ensure consistency of lease terms for all CPAs rather than a select few.
In addition to addressing specific factors, such as leases, we are moving ahead on overall transportation issues.
For example, two months ago I launched a review of the Canada Transportation Act headed by David Emerson, who is no stranger to many of you.
It’s been some 13 years since we last did a review of the transportation legislation in Canada and the world has changed. We need to ensure our transportation system effectively supports Canada’s international competitiveness, trade and prosperity.
The review is an opportunity to examine our legislation and policy frameworks, to ensure they are up to date and contain the right measures for modern times.
It will look at how we can ensure that the national network has the capacity and is nimble enough to meet medium and long-term demands.
More specifically, with respect to ports, the CTA Review will provide an opportunity to examine the governance and service delivery models for Canada Port Authorities and identify how they can be improved.
I trust that ports will work with the ACPA and stakeholders as well as the CTA panel, to help develop ways that we can work together to address these matters.
And I am confident that the CTA Review will produce solid recommendations to help Canada map out its transportation plans for the future.
Marine Security regulation amendments
As some of you may know, in July, Transport Canada published Regulations Amending the Marine Transportation Security Regulations. These changes will improve marine security and bring greater clarity and consistency for marine operators.
They aim to meet mandatory requirements set by the International Maritime Organization and reflect recent changes made to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
And they will result in a seafarer community that is more alert and better prepared for security risks.
Transport Canada conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the amendments on the marine industry.
It concluded that, while the amendments might create some incremental costs in the short term – due mostly to enhanced security training provisions for seafarers – the overall benefits of the amendments would significantly exceed these costs.
These amended regulations will further align Canada’s marine regulatory approach with that of the United States. This will eliminate duplication and impediments to trade without compromising marine security.
They will ease the regulatory compliance burden and improve efficiency and flexibility for operators.
And they will cut red tape for businesses, so they can focus on what they do best: create jobs and promote economic growth.
All of this said, the “nuts and bolts” of transportation is truly nuts and bolts. In other words, we need the physical networks – roads, rails, ports and air facilities – to move goods and people safely, securely and efficiently.
And so, following the direction we established for our Gateway initiatives, we are now moving ahead with world-class infrastructure as the platform on which to base our country’s economic productivity.
That is why this government is building on its historic infrastructure investments and providing 70 billion dollars for public infrastructure over the next decade.
This includes the 53 billion dollar New Building Canada Plan for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure.
It is the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in our nation’s history and its investments will enhance our global competitiveness.
We have, and will continue to deliver infrastructure projects in this region that not only fuel Canada’s economy, but also improve the flow of local road and rail traffic and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
While I have spoken about how we are investing in many things, there is another form of investment we can’t forget. That is the investment in people – the men and women who work on the front lines of transportation.
Globalization demands rapid technological change in all transportation sectors.
We can meet such demands only if transportation workers receive proper training and support, whether that is from employers, educational institutions or government.
This training and support is on the rise in Canada. For example, last fall, I attended the opening of the new British Columbia Maritime Employers Association Waterfront Training Centre, which trains women and men who choose careers in marine transportation.
This kind of training demonstrates a significant shift: from a workforce of the physically strong doing casual, short-term work, to a more diversified force of permanent, multi-skilled professionals, who choose to pursue port work as a career.
It is essential to ensure that Canada continue to have enough people with the right skills and training to support a modern transportation network.
And I am hopeful it will also support greater involvement on the part of women in transportation leadership.
As someone who has worked in traditionally male dominated environments, I understand the challenge women can face to be leaders.
However, times are changing. For example, I know of three other women who serve as CEOs of port authorities in Canada: Karen Oldfield in Halifax, Sylvie Vachon in Montreal, and Donna Taylor in Oshawa.
I hope they can be role models for women looking to work in transportation management.
In a country as large as Canada, transportation will always be a major factor, and it will require leaders whose skills and commitment will matter more than their gender.
Transportation Safety and Environmental Responsibility
Finally, I’d like to talk a little bit about our commitment to transportation safety and environmental responsibility.
Natural resources — including oil, minerals, and agricultural and forestry products — remain essential to Canada’s economy.
Because we want to develop them responsibly, Transport Canada is supporting both regulatory and voluntary approaches to reduce emissions from transportation sources and develop cleaner options.
For example, through our Clean Transportation Initiatives, we are working with industry to create technology and tools at ports to synchronize truck arrivals with those of container ships. This can cut down congestion at ports and reduce emissions.
Also at ports, including the Port of Halifax here in Atlantic Canada, we are supporting development of shore power technology to reduce emissions by allowing ships to turn off engines while docked and connect to electric power supplies.
I expect all of you have heard about the World-Class Tanker Safety System, whose development Transport Canada is leading.
To secure the marine sector’s key role in Canada’s global trade and economic agenda, we must ensure that world markets remain confident in our ability to transport our goods efficiently, but also in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
This is why we have announced we will develop new measures to strengthen our oil tanker safety system.
These measures will give Canada the most robust and comprehensive oil spill regime in the world, built on the key pillars of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.
As I noted at the start, many of our transportation initiatives relate to our country’s trade agenda and help connect us to a global supply chain that reaches, not only beyond this region, but beyond this continent.
Many of the actions we must take to plan, regulate and invest in transportation must also consider these complex factors.
As a former member of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Port Authority, I know firsthand that ports need to continuously improve supply chain efficiency, reliability, and security to stay competitive in the continuously evolving world of global commerce.
And as Canada’s Transport Minister, I am committed to helping the marine shipping sector build safe, secure, environmentally responsible and efficient transportation for the future.
Thank you for the opportunity to explain how our work is contributing to our communities and our country’s economic prosperity.