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July 16, 2015

(Ottawa - July 16, 2015) The Council of Canadian Academies is pleased to announce that it has been engaged by the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas) to undertake an expert panel workshop to develop a framework for the characterization of risks associated with marine shipping in Canadian waters. The questions that will guide the workshop are as follows:

What are the main areas of social, environmental, and economic risk associated with key stages of marine shipping of goods in Canadian waters? Are these risks commonly agreed upon? To what extent are they measurable?

Marine shipping plays an important role in the economy, with Canadian ports and marine terminals handling hundreds of millions of tonnes of cargo every year. The cargo transported by water includes relatively benign containerized goods, and potentially dangerous materials, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), oil, and other hazardous and noxious substances (HNS). The range of risks associated with transportation of all goods on water is unique from other modes like pipelines and rail, and the effects can be significant. Risks span environmental, economic, and social dimensions and can lead to a range of impacts, including marine life disturbances, loss of tourism revenue, and negative effects on food security of coastal Aboriginal communities.

To lead the development of the workshop and complete the necessary background research, the Council has appointed a four-member Workshop Steering Committee, chaired by Captain Dr. James R. Parsons, Owner of Global Marine Solutions Inc. and Academic Director of the Master of Maritime Management graduate program at the Marine Institute of Memorial University.

The Council, under the guidance of its Scientific Advisory Committee is now assembling an independent, multidisciplinary expert panel to participate in the two-day workshop. The workshop is expected to take place in the fall of 2015 and the results will be published in a report.

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