Background document: Adding administrative monetary penalties under the Canada Marine Act

Transport Canada wants feedback on implementing Administrative Monetary Penalties under the Canada Marine Act.

Read the consultation document


An administrative monetary penalty is like a ticket, but is done through an administrative process and doesn’t result in a criminal record or jail time. It can be issued to a person, a company or a ship.

An administrative monetary penalty isn’t issued when a violation of the act is serious enough to go to court.

The Canada Marine Act lets the Minister of Transport designate enforcement officers for:

  • Canada Port Authorities
  • Public ports
  • the St. Lawrence Seaway, and
  • Department of National Defence Harbours

These officers monitor and enforce the act in each location.

A review done by the Canada Marine Act Compliance Program found that the current rules don’t let us use a graduated approach to deal with violations. By graduated approach, we mean that the way we respond to a violation matches its seriousness and consequences.

Most of the time, officers have only two options:

  • issue a warning, or
  • take the case to court

While there are some situations where we can issue tickets, they’re very limited.

What we’re proposing

Transport Canada wants to add administrative monetary penalties to the Canada Marine Act and the following related regulations:

Introducing administrative monetary penalties would give enforcement officers a quick and flexible way to enforce the law. It would also create a stronger financial incentive for individuals, companies and ships to follow the rules and cooperate with Transport Canada.

The new regime would also include flexible penalty amounts. To set these fine, we rated each violation as either minor, serious or very serious. Penalties for very serious violations can reach the maximum fines allowed by the law, while minor violations have much lower fines.

Penalties would take into consideration any history of non-compliance by the violator, the harm the violation could cause to people, property and the environment, any potential economic gains, as well as mitigating factor.

The method used to calculate fines would be included as a schedule in the regulations. In some cases, violations committed or continued on more than one day would lead to separate violations for each day.

Find examples of proposed administrative monetary penalties here.

Right of appeal

Anyone who’s issued a penalty can ask to Transportation Appeals Tribunal of Canada for help. The tribunal will review the decision and then decide to either uphold, change or set aside the penalty.

If either Transport Canada or the offender disagrees with the Tribunal’s decision, it can be appealed. Once the Appeal Panel makes a decision, they’ll advise the offender and the Minister of the decision.

More about the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada

Coming into force

This is an informal consultation.

If Transport Canada creates a new regulations based on this notice, it would be published with a proposed coming into force date in the Canada Gazette, Part I, followed by a formal comment period. In this case, you could submit feedback during this formal comment period.

Any new regulations would come into force after it’s published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.