Marine Legislation

For a full list of the Agency's Acts, please consult the Legislation and Regulations information.

The Canada Marine Act

Under the Canada Marine Act, the Agency investigates complaints about user fees charged by Canadian port authorities, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited to determine if they are unjustly discriminatory.

The Pilotage Act

The Pilotage Act requires each pilotage authority to establish, operate, maintain and administer efficient and safe pilotage services in its region. Pilotage authorities must establish or revise charges to be paid to the Authority based on legislated charging principles, for example setting charges at levels that allow the authority to be financially self-sufficient, and that are fair and reasonable.

A pilotage authority must publish on its website a notice of any proposal to establish or revise a pilotage charge, and give persons the opportunity to make written representations on this proposal. After considering all written representations, the authority must publish the announcement that sets out its decision in respect of the proposal. A person may file with the Agency an objection to the announcement within 90 days after the announcement, if that person considers that the pilotage charge was not established or revised in accordance with charging principles, or if the notice process was not followed. The Agency has certain powers to intervene if it determines that the notice of objection is well founded.

The Coasting Trade Act

Under the Coasting Trade Act, Canadian coasting trade is reserved for Canadian-registered vessels, except in cases where there are no suitable and/or available Canadian ships to carry out the activity.

Anyone who wishes to use a foreign-registered ship in Canadian coasting trade must simultaneously apply to the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Transportation Agency to obtain a licence. The Agency maintains a detailed data bank of Canadian-registered vessels that it updates continuously. This data bank is used to provide notice of these applications to the relevant portion of the Canadian industry. The Agency determines whether there are suitable Canadian ships available to carry out the activity described in the application. If the applicant wishes to use the foreign vessel to carry passengers, the Agency must also determine whether operators of Canadian vessels offer adequate, similar passenger services. The Canada Border Services Agency cannot license anyone to use a foreign-registered ship until the Agency issues its determination.

The Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, 1987

The Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, 1987 allows shipping conferences to operate into and out of Canadian ports without contravening the Competition Act. To be eligible for the exemption granted by the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, 1987, shipping conferences must file certain documents with the Agency. These include a copy of the agreement that sets out the aspects of service and pricing that the shipping lines have agreed to carry out jointly. Conferences must file notice of any tariff increases at least 30 days before raising the tariff. Shippers can also file a complaint with the Agency on non-compliance issues.

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