Canadian Coast Guard Aids to Navigation discarded batteries

2020 Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCESD Report 3
Case study: Discarded batteries from Canadian Coast Guard Aids to Navigation

Petition: 426

Issue(s): Compliance and enforcement, International cooperation, Toxic substances, Waste management, Water

Petitioner(s): A Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Cornwall, Ontario

Date Received: 6 June 2019

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition raises concerns about the federal government’s response to requests from the public to reduce the number of and to clean up toxic Aids to Navigation batteries that have been discarded in and around the Upper St. Lawrence River. The petition states that several batteries containing hazardous materials were discovered in the Upper St. Lawrence River during Great River Network Cleanup sessions in May 2017 and July 2018 and more recently by recreational divers in spring 2019.

The petition asks the Canadian Coast Guard to remove these batteries in the Upper St. Lawrence River at Cornwall and Akwesasne, and it requests information on when this operation will take place. In addition, it asks the government whether it has a protocol for removing such batteries, given that the United States has had one in place since 1994. The petition also asks whether Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which includes the Canadian Coast Guard, or Transport Canada has created a procedure that allows the general public to identify and report batteries that have been discarded in Canadian waterways. If a protocol and procedure do not exist, the petition calls on the government to establish them.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada