Enforcement of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act

Transport Publication - TP 13585 E

TP 13585 E
Marine Safety Directorate

1 Policy Objectives

1.1 This Policy identifies the objectives and enforcement responsibilities of Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS) under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (AWPPA).

1.2 This Policy provides Marine Safety Inspectors, Pollution Prevention Officers and others responsible for regulatory oversight of the marine industry with clarity on how TCMSS addresses matters of non-compliance with the CSA 2001, the AWPPA, and their associated regulations.

2 Policy Statement

2.1 The top priorities of Marine Safety are vessel safety and pollution prevention. When faced with non-compliant matters, TCMSS determines the appropriate response in accordance with Transport Canada’s enforcement policy to ensure the safety of vessels, their crew and passengers, and the marine environment.

2.2 TCMSS will ensure its enforcement program abides by the guiding principles for design and implementation of modal specific enforcement programs established in the departmental Enforcement Policy.

2.3 Ship owners, operators, authorized representatives, masters and crew are obliged to operate their vessels in accordance with the provisions of the CSA 2001 and the AWPPA, as well as regulations made pursuant to those Acts.

2.4 When TCMSS learns of a possible contravention of the CSA 2001 or its regulations, or of the AWPPA or its regulations, TCMSS will inspect and if required investigate the circumstances.

2.5 TCMSS will adhere to the principle of graduated escalation of enforcement responses for contraventions of the CSA 2001 and the AWPPA. However, in serious cases circumstances may warrant initiating prosecutions or imposing maximum penalties available under each enforcement regime.

2.6 For the CSA 2001, a range of options can be used to address contraventions.

  • For minor violations, TCMSS will assess all aspects of the situation, including the attitude of the offender, to determine whether oral counselling or a warning letter will ensure future compliance.  Verbal counselling or warning letters are not to be used if the offender disputes contravening the Act or the Regulations.
  • For more serious violations, where the offender accepts responsibility and acknowledges that a contravention has occurred, an Assurance of Compliance may be used. If the offender has a recent history of non-compliance, an Assurance of Compliance is not an appropriate enforcement tool.
  • The issuance of tickets under the Contraventions Act, by designated police and provincial enforcement agencies, can be used for provisions that cover offences designated under the Contraventions Regulations related to small commercial vessels and pleasure craft.
  • In addition to other penalty and non-penalty enforcement actions, the Minister may suspend, cancel or refuse to renew a Canadian maritime document (CMD) on various grounds. This is commonly called a CMD action. For Certificates of Competency under Part 3, CMD actions based on the grounds of a contravention, incompetence or acts of misconduct will only be taken in the most serious of circumstances. HQ will carry out a final review on any CMD action.
  • In circumstances where the offender refuses to accept responsibility for the wrongful act, where there exists a history of non-compliance with legislation, damage to the environment, evidence of engaging in unsafe operations, or in cases of willful neglect; administrative monetary penalties, or penal sanctions, will be used as a deterrent.
  • Application of other enforcement actions does not affect the Marine Safety Inspector’s duty to use detention powers under the CSA 2001 where warranted.

2.7 For contraventions of the AWPPA, TCMSS has the following options:

  • For minor offences of the AWPPA, TCMSS will assess all aspects of the situation, including the attitude of the offender, to determine whether oral counselling or a warning letter will ensure future compliance. 
  • For all other offences of the AWPPA, TCMSS will initiate a request for prosecutions with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) and proceed against the alleged offender by following the summary conviction process.

2.8 TCMSS will use the Marine Enforcement Management System (MEMS) to capture all enforcement actions and to help ensure national consistency of application of enforcement actions.

2.9 A Designated Officer (DO) in each TCMSS Region is responsible for the coordination of enforcement activity and for monitoring adherence to this Policy within that Region.

3 Scope

3.1 This policy is applicable to contraventions of the CSA 2001, the AWPPA and their respective regulations, as applicable.

3.2 This policy does not apply to any activities under Part II of the Canada Labour Code.

4 Authority

4.1 Under CSA 2001, the Minister of Transport is granted certain powers to address non-compliance with provisions of the Act and its regulations.

4.2 Specifically, these powers include the ability to:

  • refuse to issue a Canadian maritime document (S. 16);
  • suspend, cancel or refuse to renew a Canadian maritime document (S. 20);
  • inspect (S. 211);
  • search and seize evidence (S. 212 and S. 220);
  • detain and/or direct vessels (S. 222 and S. 227);
  • enter into an assurance of compliance or to issue a notice of violation (S. 229).

4.3 Separate enforcement authorities are also established under Parts 5, 7, 8, and 10 of CSA 2001.

4.4 Under the AWPPA subsection 14(1), the Governor in Council may designate pollution prevention officers to enforce the Act. Pollution prevention officers are granted certain powers specified on their certificate of designation. Offences under the AWPPA are laid out in sections 18 and 19.

5 Responsibility / Further Information

5.1 The Executive Director, Domestic Vessel Regulatory Oversight, is accountable for the development, implementation, maintenance, and continuous improvement of this Policy.

5.2 Regional Directors are responsible for enforcement activities in their respective regions and for the appointment of Designated Officers (DOs).

5.3 Marine safety inspectors and pollution prevention officers are responsible for recommending and taking enforcement action in accordance with their statutory authorities, delegated powers, and this Policy and its related procedures published by TCMSS in the Enforcement Manual.

5.4 Comments or queries related to this Policy and its application should be addressed to:

Manager, Flag State, Compliance and Enforcement (AMSDF)
Transport Canada
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0N8
E-mail: insp.stand-norm.insp@tc.gc.ca

6 Related Documents

6.1 Canada Shipping Act, 2001

6.2 Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act

6.3 Centre of Enforcement Expertise Desk Book (RDIMS #10546608)

6.4 Marine Compliance and Enforcement Manual (RDIMS #10581646) 

6.5 Policy on Detention of Vessels (RDIMS #10925088)

7 Date of Application

7.1 This policy comes into effect May 16, 2018.

8 Date for Review or Expiry

8.1 This policy will be reviewed not later than 14 months after it comes into effect and on a five (5) year cycle thereafter.

9 RDIMS Reference

9.1 The English version of this document is saved in RDIMS under reference number 2152595.  The applied naming convention is Publication – TP 13585 – Policy – Transport Canada Marine Safety Policy on Enforcement of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.

9.2 La version française du présent document est dans le SGDDI et porte le numéro de référence 1880023.  La règle d'affectation des noms est Publication – TP 13585 – Politique – Politique d’exécution de sécurité maritime – Transports Canada à l’égard d’Application de la Loi de 2001 sur la marine marchande du Canada et la Loi sur la prévention de la pollution des eaux arctiques.

9.3 This is the second approved and finalized version of this document.

10 Keywords

  • designated officer
  • enforcement
  • assurance of compliance
  • notice of violation
  • administrative monetary penalty
  • marine safety inspector
  • pollution prevention officer
  • arctic waters