WHO’S INVOLVED
 MISSION: To provide communications and traffic services for the marine
 community and for the benefit of the public at large.                                                        USERS / CLIENTS
                                                                                                                Commercial Vessels
 OBJECTIVES:                                                                                                    Recreational Boaters
   Safe and Efficient Movement of Shipping                                                                      Fishing Vessels
   Information for Business and National Interests                                                              Ports
   Safety of Life at Sea                                                                                        Marine Associations
   Protection of the Environment                                                                                Pilots
                       INPUTS                                                                                   Immigration
   Financial Resources                                                                                          EC / MSC
   Human Resources
   Assets                                                                  KEY OUTPUTS                          RCMP
                              KEY ACTIVITIES                                                                    Other DFO sectors
                                                                 National policies/standards and
                    Administer and review policies,              procedures                                     General public
                    standards and levels of service
                                                                 Guard International Distress                   Marine Programs
                    Distress – safety communications and         Channels & Maritime Safety                     Fleet
                    co-ordination                                Information Broadcasts                         ITS
                                                                                                                SLSDC / SLSA
                    Regulating vessel traffic movements          Traffic Clearances                             IMRAS
                    Vessel screening                                                                            Private Sector
                                                                 Compensatory Mesaures                          Telco.
                                                                                                                Local Traffic Control
                                                                                                                Other DFO sectors
                                           OUTCOMES                                                             CCGC
   Minimize loss of life
   Minimize loss and or damage to property                                                                    BENEFICIARIES
   Reduce number and severity of maritime incidents                                                             Society at large
                                                                                                                Maritime community
   Environmental sustainability of waterways                                                                    Tourism Industry
   Economic sustainability of waterways                                                                         Special interest groups
   Compliance of vessels to acts and regulations                                                                International partners
     CVTS                                        Other applicable acts and regulations                          Other DFO sectors
                                                                                                                CCG Programs
     Detroit / St. Clair Safety Navigation       Public and Stakeholder Confidence                              OGDs
     Vessel Traffic Services Zones Regulations
     Eastern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations                                                  OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
                                                                                                                Marine Training

                                                      ULTIMATE IMPACTS

                                                                               Protection of the Marine and
               Marine Trade and Commerce                                         Freshwater Environment
                                                         Maritime Safety
To provide communications and traffic services for the marine community and for the benefit of the
public at large. The following are Marine Communications & Traffic Service’s (MCTS) objectives:

♦ Safe and Efficient Movement of Shipping
♦ Information for Business and National Interests
♦ Safety of Life at Sea
♦ Protection of the Environment

MCTS provides distress-safety communications and coordination, regulates vessel traffic
movements and screens vessels for compliance with applicable Canadian acts and regulations,
supports other government departments and the marine industry, and operates a public
correspondence service.

The regulatory framework for MCTS is derived primarily from the Canada Shipping Act (CSA) the
International Marine Organization’s (IMO) Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and
the Radio Communication Act. Canada’s signatory status to the SOLAS Convention requires the
Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) to make provisions for adequate shore-based communication
infrastructure. Cooperative vessel traffic services measures are also in place with the United
States for contiguous waters.

In 2003-2004, there was approximately 400 Marine Programs staff dedicated to MCTS activities
across Canada.

Twenty-two MCTS centres throughout five regions provide services 24 hours a day/365 days a
year (except seasonal MCTS centres) to several main client groups, including: commercial and
fishing vessels; recreational boaters; ports; shipping and marine industry; pilots; and the general

Other clients of MCTS include: other CCG and departmental programs; other Government
Departments, Agencies and Organizations, such as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC),
Environment Canada (EC), Department of National Defence (DND), the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); and provincial and territorial governments.

MCTS collaborates with several co-deliverers, including: private and public, domestic and
international organizations; domestic and foreign governments; ports; marine training institutions.
The most powerful external factor influencing the service delivery of MCTS is the technical
progress in maritime technology.

Wider utilization of digital and multiplexing technologies are facilitating the networking of remote
facilities. The Internet is being used as an information dissemination system. Improved and
widespread use of less expensive satellite telephone services is resulting in a significant decrease
in public correspondence traffic at MCTS centres. The Program’s level of service targets for public
correspondence are: that it be provided in areas where alternative service is not available. In
2003-2004, this service was discontinued in the Quebec Region at Montreal and Quebec City only.

There is a wide range of clients that use MCTS services, and most sectors are expanding as the
marine transportation industry continues to grow and change. The most recent information shows
that Canadian ports handled over 400 million metric tonnes of cargo; the international component
accounted for 84% while domestic cargo was 16%. Canada’s total tonnage is approximately 5.8
times less than its southern neighbour, although its population is approximately one tenth that of
the United States.

New trends, technologies, and practices are emerging in the marine community{ XE "Communities"
}, reflecting increases in the boating population, in cruise ship traffic, tourism industry traffic (e.g.
whale watchers) and in the tendency for fishers{ XE "Fishers" } to operate farther offshore. This
traffic has increased the demand for MCTS services. The Program conducted Phase II of a
strategic review in 2003-2004. The least cost analysis and the project report were completed at the
end of January of 2004.

The Program faced several regional challenges in 2003-2004. Some MCTS equipment were
unserviceable up to 16 hours (overnight) and up to 60 hours (over the weekend) as technical staff
availability was restricted to normal working hours. However, the Program continued with 24 hours
a day operations during Hurricane Juan and the Blizzard of February 18, 2004.


Traffic clearance is an essential element to enable the MCTS Program to regulate vessel
movements in accordance with applicable regulations. The number of clearances issues increased
by 16% in 2003.


The Program continually maintains and improves its channels of communication with all clients. It
issues more than six thousand Notices to Shipping (Notships) annually. The year 2003 was the
highest on record, with 7687 Notships issued.

The Program’s level of service targets for distress/safety communications are: response time with
99% of calls responded to within 1 minute; radio band coverage vary based on frequency (VHF,
MF & HF); and continuous broadcasts (scheduled and unscheduled).


There has been an increase of traffic on Canadian waters in recent years. The number of vessel
movements increased by 4.3% from 1997 to 2002. This increased traffic applies a direct pressure
on the Program by increasing the workload within limited resources. Due to increased complexity
of information collection and dissemination procedures, the data for 2003 is preliminary, and may
be revised.

The Program’s level of service targets for regulating vessel traffic management are: coverage per
Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) zones regulations; St. Clair and Detroit River Safety Navigation
regulations; and operational availability of not less than 99.7%. The accuracy, timeliness, and
accessibility of integrated marine information systems are also to be based on operational
availability of not less than 99.7%.

The Pacific region handles more than half of all vessel movements (excluding ferries). The main
reason of this phenomenon is the very high economic activity of Canadian business in Japan and
other Southern Asia countries. The Quebec region is the second busiest, providing marine services
on a main water route to the interior of North America - the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Maritime
and Newfoundland and Labrador regions also deal with heavy vessel traffic considering their
relatively limited geographic areas of traffic concentration and significant fishing activity.


The MCTS program delivers a major component in maintaining marine safety by providing a
continuous guard to international distress frequencies. This program is the first to assist vessels by
providing advice, and if necessary, initiating and coordinating SAR communications. Dedicated
operators using sophisticated communications systems detected the majority of all marine
incidents. The number of incidents detected annually is rather stable, but high at approximately
6000-8500. The Pacific region, with the greatest vessel activity, handles a fair number of incidents.


Collisions, groundings, and strikings are the most frequent types of marine incidents in Canada, but
their numbers are decreasing. The number of incidents recorded in 2003 was 217, the third lowest
total over the past 25 years. Improved vessel traffic management, communication, and navigation
technologies (GPS, DGPS, Electronic Navigational Charts) are the main factors contributing to this

Calculating the ratio of vessel movement to the number of all incidents can show the relative level
of safe navigation in different regions. The Maritime region had the best ratio in 2003, where there
was one marine incident per one hundred and forty vessel movements.

To maintain and improve on existing performance results, CCG programs will improve vessel traffic
surveillance capability via the development of operational policies and standards for the
implementation of AIS into MCTS operations. It is expected to improve MCTS’s vessel traffic
surveillance capacity. It is also expected to contribute to existing CCG objectives related to marine
safety and environmental protection and supporting role in maritime security. The project is
scheduled for completion in 2007-2008. In 2003-2004, the CCG received Treasury Board (TB)
Preliminary Project Approval (PA) in the amount of $1.5 million. The Program also developed the
Statement of Operational Requirements.
Installation of shore-based VHF/DSC along the Great Lakes (C&A) and the St-Lawrence River
(QC) is planned for completion in 2006-2007.

The MCTS Program will consider reporting on measures and indicators such as: radio coverage;
the number of denied and restricted clearances; the volume of information issued; and the number
of incidents by type.

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