International regulations

The very nature of shipping, which is central to global trade, requires regulation at the international level. International maritime regulations are developed within specialized United Nations agencies, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The International Maritime Organization is:

  • a specialized UN agency governing shipping
  • 33 international conventions to date
  • signatory countries committing to applying the conventions in their waters.

The main marine safety international conventions are:

Canadian regulations

Shipping is the most regulated mode of transportation, and Canadian regulations are exhaustive and efficient. International Maritime Organization member states, such as Canada, incorporate the conventions into their national legislation. Here, this responsibility is shared by Transport Canada, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Canadian legislation covers:

  • Crew training and required qualifications
  • Ship construction and certification
  • Ship inspection
  • Operations on land and at sea
  • Hazardous materials transportation
  • Navigation
  • Pilotage
  • Security and safety
  • Insurance and compensation funds
  • Environmental protection

The main Canadian laws governing marine transport are:

  • Canada Shipping Act
    This legislation governs the technical components of marine transport, such as vessel operation, circulation and status, crews, safety and environmental aspects.
  • Marine Transportation Security Act
    This Act governs safety and security relating to ships, crews, cargo handling, vessel supply, vessel access, ports and terminals.
  • Navigable Waters Protection Act
    This statute ensures that no obstacle interferes with ship traffic.
  • Pilotage Act
    This Act defines the navigation sectors in which pilotage services are compulsory and the pilotage authorities that have jurisdiction there.Louis Rhéaume (20)
  • Canada Marine Act
    This legislation governs port authorities, port operation and management of navigable waterway-related infrastructures, such as the St. Lawrence Seaway.