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 set fair and reasonable user charges that allow the authorities to sustain themselves financially.

Pilotage authorities must give notice in Part I of the Canada Gazette of any proposed pilotage charges. Interested parties opposed to proposed pilotage charges have 30 days after this notice appears to file an objection with the Agency. If someone files an objection within the 30-day period, the Agency must determine whether the pilotage authority has based its charges to continue operations on a self-sustaining financial basis, and whether the proposed user charges are fair, reasonable and in the public interest.

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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