Considering the Unthinkable: How Ready is Canada for an Oil Spill?


Vancouver, British Columbia – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Despite a global decline in oil spills due to improved safety measures, the latest Clear Seas Center for Responsible Shipping (Clear Seas) public opinion poll shows that tanker and marine fuel spills in Canadian waters are beyond concern for Canadians. Catastrophic events such as the recent oil spill off the coast of Mauritius also raise questions about Canada’s ability to clean up oil spills and protect the marine environment and coastal communities.

To answer these questions, Clear Seas has launched a new website that explains what happens when oil is spilled from a ship in Canadian waters. This unique website provides a comprehensive inventory of the resources available to respond to an oil spill in the ocean. It also breaks down the response sequence and the organizations that are involved in, and responsible for, the spill containment and cleanup.

“Primarily, oil spills can and must occur in Canada, but they are extremely rare. Fortunately, Canada has a comprehensive and proactive system in place to help clean up and minimize spill damage, ”said Paul Blomerus, Executive Director of Clear Seas. Most of the spills in Canada are low (67% of ship source spills between 2003 and 2012 were less than 1,000 liters) and come from fishing boats and pleasure craft, or are classified as mysterious spills.

Blomerus said the site will be a timely addition to the public discussion on responding to oil spills and setting response standards, given the concerns expressed by Canadians in the recent Clear Seas survey about shipping oil and gas.

You can visit the page and read about Canada’s response efforts here.


Clear Seas is a not-for-profit, independent research center that provides impartial information to policymakers and the public about shipping in Canada. The organization’s research agenda is defined internally in response to current issues, reviewed by a research advisory board, and approved by a board of directors. Reports and results are available on