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In the coming years the Arctic Ocean will become navigable for significant periods of time. Now is the time to consider the legal regime that will govern the arctic region, and the recent Polar Code is a major international step in that direction. Among the areas that need further attention before the Arctic becomes a major commercial highway is shipping liability. In particular, Canadian law may hold cargo owners liable for ship owners’ mistakes, errors, and omissions leading to oil spills in the Canadian Arctic. This peculiar cargo owner liability may be an uninsurable risk, and is therefore potentially destabilizing to firms that may not even appreciate their risk. Rather than getting rid of this protection entirely, however, this article proposes a solution to bring this facet of Canadian law into harmony with the Polar Code, preserving the additional protection afforded by cargo owner liability, while tempering it with principles from the Polar Code itself.

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