The Canadian Compensation Regime for ship-source oil pollution damage is based on the polluter-pays principle as well as on many international conventions. It covers damage caused by oil pollution (or anticipated pollution) in Canadian waters (including the exclusive economic zone), as long as the pollution emanates from an identified or unidentified ship or vessel.
The Fund may be used as a fund of last resort or of first resort; the choice is that of the claimant.
Fund of Last Resort. The claimant may file a claim against the owner of the ship responsible for oil pollution damage (up to the owner’s limit of liability) and can then submit to the Fund a claim for compensation for damages or for a portion of damages that haven’t been reimbursed to him (this could be due to the fact that the limit exceeded the owner’s liability limit, or because the owner was not financially solvent to compensate the claimant).
Fund of First Resort. The claimant may submit his claim directly to the Fund. The Administrator has the obligation of investigating and assessing the claim. If the claim is established, the Administrator will offer a settlement to the claimant, who will then have 60 days to accept the offer.
Most importantly, claims must be filed within the prescribed time limitations. The claim must be received by the Office of the Administrator within the time limits prescribed. The time limits are two (2) years after the incident, if the incident did in fact cause oil pollution.