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 legislations cover:

  • 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 governong 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
    The goal of this act is to detect, prevent and deter any act of violence that could compromise marine safety and security.
  • Navigation 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.
  • Canada Marine Act
    This legislation governs port authorities, port operation and management of navigable waterway-related infrastructures, such as the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • Safe Containers Convention Act
    This act requires that containers used for marine transportation are in good condition and do not represent a safety risk.
  • Marine Liabilities Act
    This Act determines the level, sharing and limits of liability of the owner of the ship, the carriers of goods and passengers and the liability arising from oil pollution.

Provisions of these acts are enforced through a number of regulations that also allow the government to enforce the requirements of international conventions to which Canada is a signatory.

Main marine safety regulations are the following:

  • Load Line Regulations
  • Marine Personnel Regulations
  • Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations
  • Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations
  • Life Saving Equipment Regulations
  • Marine Transportation Security Regulations
  • Safe Containers Convention Regulations
  • Etc.

All marine transportation laws and regulations are listed on Transport Canada’s website.

The Oceans Protection Plan for a world-leading marine safety system

Despite the Canadian regime being one the best and safest in the world for regulating oil transportation, the Canadian government launched its Oceans Protection Plan on September 7, 2016 with the goal to even further improve the existing maritime safety system.

This world-leading safety system is based on the following:

  • Better information sharing of marine traffic: Real-time awareness of marine traffic in Canadian waters, strengthening of marine communications, traffic services centers and radar capacity, etc.
  • Safer navigation in Canada’s waters through better information in the hands of mariners
  • Safer resupply in Arctic communities
  • Tougher requirements for industry response to incidents : Regional response planning, modernization of the ship pilotage regime, stronger polluter-pay principle including unlimited compensation
  • Proactive monitoring and response capacity on water: Canadian Coast Guard to take command in marine emergencies, increase of the Canadian Coast Guard towing capacity, modern response equipment, increase of search and rescue capacity, etc.
  • Develop comprehensive response systems for spills on water: collaboration with partners to build a seamless response system.