Information about programs and information holdings (Info Source)

2019

Office of the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund

Table of Contents

General Information

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

Manuals

Additional Information

General Information

Information about programs and information holdings provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It provides individuals and employees of the government (current and former) with relevant information to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

The Introduction and an index of institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are available centrally.

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act assign overall responsibility to the President of Treasury Board (as the designated Minister) for the government-wide administration of the legislation.

Background

After the Torrey Canyon (1967), Arrow (1970) and Irving Whale (1970) oil pollution disasters, the public demanded greater accountability for polluters whose ships caused oil pollution. At the time, there were limited legal options to ensure victims of ship-source oil pollution would be compensated. This led to the establishment of a compensation process for damages such as property damage, economic loss, and damage to the environment, as well as the costs of preventive measures, clean-up, and monitoring.

In 1971, major amendments were made to the Canada Shipping Act (CSA). The Maritime Pollutions Claim Fund (MPCF) was created and remained active until 1989. The MPCF was funded by a levy paid by oil receivers and shippers to and from Canada between 1972 and 1976.

In 1989, further amendments to the CSA changed the MPCF into the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (the Fund), making it a fund of first and last recourse for the victims of oil pollution damage from ship sources in Canadian waterways (including Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone). Canada also became a contracting State in the international regime, thereby aligning the Canadian regime to international conventions. The balance of the MPCF was transferred to the Fund in 1989; the amount held in the Fund comes from interest generated on that transfer. The Fund is a special purpose account established in the accounts of Canada.

In 2001, the law governing the Fund was changed to Part 6 of the Marine Liability Act (MLA). The MLA was amended to implement two international conventions, one increasing the amount of compensation available under the international regime for tankers (Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992), the other setting out a liability regime for spills from large non-tanker vessels (International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, or Bunkers Convention).

Since 2010, the Fund has been governed by Part 7 of the MLA, which has since been amended several times. The latest amendments came into force in 2018.

The Fund is managed by an independent Administrator, who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Transport.

Responsibilities

The Fund compensates victims of oil pollution for damages caused by any type of oil, from any ship or boat, anywhere in Canadian waters. The Fund then takes all reasonable steps to recover costs from polluters.

The Administrator, appointed by the Governor-in-Council:

  • Offers compensation to claimants for whatever portion of the claim the Administrator finds to be established and, where a claimant accepts an offer, the Administrator directs payment to the claimant out of the Fund;
  • Holds office and, as an independent authority, must investigate and assess all claims filed submitted to the Fund, subject to appeal to the Federal Court of Canada;
  • Has the powers of a Commissioner under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act;
  • Must take recourse action against third parties to recover the amount paid out of the Fund to a claimant and may also take action to obtain security, either prior to or after receiving a claim;
  • Prepares an annual report on the operations of the Fund, which is laid before Parliament by the Minister of Transport;
  • Becomes a party by statute to any proceedings commenced by a claimant against the owner of a ship, its insurer, or the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds, as the case may be after having been served with the document commencing the proceedings;
  • Directs payments out of the Fund for all Canadian contributions to the IOPC Funds (such contributions are based on oil receipts in Canada reported by the Administrator to the Director of the IOPC Funds);
  • Participates with the Canadian delegation at meetings of the Executive Committee and the Assembly of the IOPC Funds;
  • Consults with the Minister of Transport with regard to the release of necessary emergency funding of up to $10 million per fiscal year (or additional funds to a maximum of $50 million per fiscal year, if required) to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to respond to a significant incident involving the discharge of oil from a ship;
  • Has inspection and inquiry powers with respect to oil shippers’ data reporting obligations, infringement of which may cause Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs).

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

DOMESTIC COMPENSATION REGIME

The Fund is Canada’s domestic fund for providing compensation for ship-source oil pollution damages (including clean-up costs and expenses) caused by any type of oil from any type of ship or boat anywhere in Canadian waters. It also covers “mystery spills”, where the evidence suggests that the spill came from a ship, but the identity of the specific ship is not known. In addition, Canada is member of an international regime which covers liability and compensation for oil pollution incidents caused by ships that carry persistent oil in bulk as cargo (tankers). The Fund is also available to provide additional compensation (a third layer) in the event that compensation under the international funds, with respect to spills in Canada from oil tankers, is insufficient to meet all established claims for compensation.

CLAIMS

Claimants can submit claims to the Fund for oil pollution damage or anticipated damage, and for costs and expenses incurred for measures taken, caused by the discharge (or risk of discharge) of oil from a ship, anywhere in Canadian waters.

Any person in Canada that has suffered damages may submit a claim for loss, damage, costs and expenses resulting from ship-source oil pollution. This includes Canadian Coast Guard, ports, harbours and marinas, the fishing & tourism industries, all levels of government, corporations, Indigenous communities, individuals, and coastal landowners and owners of impacted ships or boats.

The Administrator assesses the claim and offers compensation to the extent that the claim is established. To uphold the “polluter pays” principle, when a claim is paid out of the Fund, the Administrator must then take all reasonable measures to recover the amount paid from the shipowner or other responsible person.

Response Organizations certified under the CSA, usually under contract to the owner of a ship, cannot file a claim with the Administrator unless they have been unsuccessful in recovering their costs from the owner.

Incident Cases

Description: Records related to claims submitted to the Fund, including its predecessor, the MPCF, for damages resulting from ship-source oil pollution incidents. Includes records related to the administration, payment, and recovery action of claims. Records may include incident reports, letters of undertaking, claims, surveys, investigations and assessments, response organization reports, legal proceedings, claim settlement including offers of compensation and letters of acceptance, release and subrogation, final payment and pleadings and recourse action proceedings.
Document Types: Incident reports, claims, reports, assessments, pleadings, photographs and images, maps, notes, requisitions, private locator reports, legal opinions and correspondence.
Record Number: SOPF INC 001

  • Incident Case Files
    Description: This bank describes information that is related to the administration, investigation, assessment, legal proceedings, and payment of claims submitted to the Fund regarding ship-source oil pollution damage and expenses incurred. In addition, some information relates to cost recovery measures from the shipowner, the IOPC Funds, or any other person liable of compensation paid to claimants from the Fund. The personal information may include name, contact information, biographical information, citizenship status, credit information, date of birth, date of death, financial information, other identification numbers (e.g. legal docket number, police incident number), signature and photographs, and personal views and opinions.
    Class of Individuals: Any person who has submitted a claim for compensation to the Fund for loss, damage or costs incurred as a result of a discharge of oil from a ship, shipowner, ship insurer or any other person liable or contact thereof; any person who has commenced legal proceedings against the suspected polluter, legal representative of individual or shipowner (e.g. lawyer, power of attorney), witnesses.
    Purpose: The personal information is collected and used to process and investigate claims made regarding ship-source oil pollution (including mystery spills), to assess compensation to claimants, and to administer cost recovery action to applicable shipowners and obtain views and opinions from counsel about potential legal action for cost recovery. This information is necessary for the Administrator to carry out his or her mandate under the MLA.
    Consistent Uses: In the case of legal proceedings, information will be shared between legal representatives and with the applicable municipal, provincial/territorial, federal court of law. Aggregate information is published in the Annual Report to Parliament on the operations of the Fund. The information may also be used or disclosed for evaluation, research and/or statistical purposes.
    Retention and Disposal Standards: Records will be retained for three years after the settlement of individual claims and the expiry of the appeal period, if any. Incident reports not resulting in a claim are kept for six years after the incident is reported to the Fund. General subject files including records about international incidents are kept for five years after resolution. As per guidelines provided by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), some records are then transferred to LAC for archival purposes.
    RDA Number: 96/022
    Related Record Number: SOPF INC 001
    TBS Registration: 20090841
    Bank Number: SOPF PPU 001

Fund Indexation, Limitation of Liability and Levy

Description: Records related to the Fund’s indexation, former limit of liability, the total amount payable to all claims resulting from a single oil spill, and levy exercise on each metric ton of contributing oil imported into or exported from Canada in bulk as cargo on a ship.  Records may include the annual correspondence between the Fund and Transport Canada as well as any related reports.
Document Types: Correspondence and reports.
Record Number: SOPF OPS 005

Contractors and Response Organizations

Description: Records related to contractors and response organizations specializing in surveys, assessments, investigations and inspections including clean-up activities in response to ship-source oil pollution incidents who may be available to conduct surveys, assessments, investigations and/or inspections in support of the claims administration and settlement process.
Document Types: Correspondence.
Record Number: SOPF OPS 002

Maritime Pollution Claims Fund (MPCF)

Description: Records related to the general administration and operation of the MPCF. Includes records related to correspondence, memoranda and reports created and/or received during the MPCF regime.
Document Types: Correspondence, notes, and reports.
Record Number: SOPF OPS 004

OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

Initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the existence of the Fund and compensation available to victims of oil pollution damages caused by ships. This includes federal, provincial and territorial governments, local governments, the marine insurance industry, the maritime legal community, Environmental Response professionals and industry, ports and marinas, Indigenous groups and communities, the fishing and aquaculture industries, the boating community, the shipping industry, international partners, academics, private citizens and the media.

Affiliations, Federal, National and International Relations

Description: Records related to the fostering of relationships, and increasing cooperation with outside organizations, other government departments and agencies, foreign countries and international organizations, provincial, territorial, and local governments, ports and marinas, Indigenous groups, shipowners, insurers, Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs, oil shippers, as well as organizations, associations, clubs, societies and foundations.
Document Types: Correspondence, notes, reports, meeting agendas and minutes, records of decisions, presentations, Memoranda of Understanding, and legal opinions.
Record Number: SOPF OUT 001

Committees, Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

Description: Records related to committees, conferences, seminars and workshops related to oil pollution, prevention, response, liability or compensation regime issues in which the Fund may or may not actively participate.
Document Types: Correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, notes, lists of participants, presentations, records of decisions and reports.
Record Number: SOPF OUT 002

INTERNATIONAL OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION (IOPC) FUNDS

The Fund is responsible under the MLA for the payment of Canada’s contributions to the IOPC Funds. The Fund is responsible for collecting data from receivers of contributing oil annually and reporting it to the IOPC Funds. The Administrator of the Fund also participates, as a member of the Canadian delegation, in meetings of the Executive Committee and the Assembly of the IOPC Funds.

International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund

Description: Records related to the administration of the IOPC Funds. Includes records related to the contributions by Canada to the IOPC Funds, including records of contributing oil companies, correspondence to and from the IOPC, contributing oil reports, and records related to IOPC committees and working groups.
Document Types: Correspondence, notes, instructions, reports, meeting agendas and records of decision.
Record Number: SOPF OPS 001

INTERNAL SERVICES

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Acquisitions; Communications Services; Financial Management; Human Resources Management; Information Management; Information Technology; Legal Services; Management and Oversight Services; Material; Real Property; Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Acquisition Services

Acquisition Services involve activities undertaken to acquire a good or service to fulfill a properly completed request (including a complete and accurate definition of requirements and certification that funds are available) until entering into or amending a contract.

Communications Services

Communications Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that Government of Canada communications are effectively managed, well coordinated and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The communications management function ensures that the public—internal or external—receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services and initiatives.

Financial Management Services

Financial Management Services involve activities undertaken to ensure the prudent use of public resources, including planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems.

Human Resources Management Services

Human Resources Management Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, allocating resources among services and processes, as well as activities relating to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and/or plans.

Information Management Services

Information Management Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective use of information technology to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance services to the public.

Legal services

Legal Services involve activities undertaken to enable government departments and agencies to pursue policy, program and service delivery priorities and objectives within a legally sound framework.

Management and Oversight Services

Management and Oversight Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction and allocating resources among services and processes, as well as those activities related to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and/or plans.

Materiel Services

Materiel Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that materiel can be managed by departments in a sustainable and financially responsible manner that supports the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Real Property Services

Real Property Services involve activities undertaken to ensure real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle, to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Travel and Other Administrative Services

Travel and Other Administrative Services include Government of Canada travel services, as well as those other internal services that do not smoothly fit with any of the internal services categories.

Manuals

Additional Information

To make a formal request, mail your letter or Access to Information Request Form (Access to Information Act) or Personal Information Request Form (Privacy Act), along with any necessary documents (such as consent or the $5.00 application fee for a request under the Access to Information Act) to the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
Office of the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund
180 Kent Street – Suite 830
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5

You may also submit a formal request online through the Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Service.

The Government of Canada encourages the release of information through informal requests. To make an informal request, contact us at the address noted above or e-mail us at info@sopf-cidphn.gc.ca. You may also wish to consult the Office of the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund’s completed Access to Information ATI Summaries.

For additional information about the programs and activities of the Office of the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund, please contact:

Office of the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund
180 Kent Street – Suite 830
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5
Telephone: 613-991-1726
Email: info@sopf-cidphn.gc.ca

To obtain information on open data, visit the Open Government portal.

Reading Room

In accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, an area on the premises will be made available should the applicant wish to review materials on site. The address is:

180 Kent Street – Suite 830
Ottawa, Ontario