Terms of Reference

Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC)

  • Canadian Marine Advisory Council
  • Standing Committees
  • Meeting Documents
  • Contact Canadian Marine Advisory Council

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1. The Canadian Marine Advisory Council (hereafter referred to as “ CMAC ”) is a consultative body representative of parties that have a recognized interest in shipping, navigation and marine pollution matters.  CMAC is coordinated and chaired by senior members of the Department of Transport and is intended to advise the Department on matters that fall within the mandate, such as, but not necessarily limited to:

  • The development and acceptance of international conventions, regulations, codes, standards, and recommendations.
  • The development and implementation of national statutes, regulations, codes, standards, recommendations and procedures.
  • Operations and services.
  • Any other matters related to marine safety, marine services and marine pollution prevention.

Participation in CMAC Meetings

2. National CMAC is comprised of parties that have a recognized interest in shipping, navigation and marine pollution matters.

3. Participants are obliged to speak on behalf of their constituency.  Statements made by members during the session are public statements and are recorded along with the members' names and associations in the minutes, which are distributed to participants and available upon request.

National CMAC Meetings

4. National CMAC meetings are comprised of:

  • An Opening Plenary Session and a Closing Plenary Session.
  • National Standing Committees, including:
    • Standing Committee on Personnel.
    • Standing Committee on Construction and Equipment.
    • Standing Committee on the Environment.
    • Standing Committee on Navigation and Operations.
    • Standing Committee on Recreational Boating.
    • Standing Committee on Fishing Vessels Safety.
    • Standing Committee on Marine Security.
  • Working Groups, which may be established under the authority of the Opening or Closing Plenary sessions, and which report directly to a specific Standing Committee.

5. Standing Committees are established by the authority of the National Opening and Closing Plenary sessions of CMAC .  The specific number and types of Standing Committees may be modified as necessary.  Additional Standing Committees may be created if the workload and subject matter so dictates.

National Standing Committees

6. The National Standing Committees are chaired or co-chaired by the Department of Transport or an industry representative, subject to approval by the National CMAC Chair and confirmation by the general membership.

7. Agendas for Standing Committees are established by the Chair(s).  Agenda items reflect issues that are:

  • Referred to the Standing Committee from the Opening and Closing Plenary sessions.
  • Referred to the Standing Committee from regional meetings and include the necessary background information.
  • Requested from members of CMAC , which are deemed appropriate for general discussion and include the necessary background information.
  • Viewed by the Chair(s) as matters of general or immediate importance.

8. Standing Committees maintain recommendations for their sessions and report verbally to the Closing Plenary session.  Written reports of the Standing Committees will be finalized within sixty days following the National CMAC meeting.


9. National CMAC meetings are normally held in Ottawa twice yearly, in April and November.  The national meetings are traditionally held during the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the meeting week.

10. National CMAC meetings observe the following format:

  • Opening Plenary - Monday morning, normally half a day.
  • Working Group meetings - Monday afternoon and Tuesday.
  • Standing Committee meetings - Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Closing Plenary - Thursday afternoon.

11. The Opening Plenary Session:

  • Approves the schedule for the week.
  • Deals with matters that are expected to receive brief discussion only and do not relate to a specific Standing Committees, or are of general interest.

12. The Standing Committees deal with the agenda as approved, including urgent matters referred to the Standing Committees by the Opening Plenary Session.

13. The Closing Plenary Session:

  • Receives verbal recommendations from the Standing Committees.
  • Addresses any other business.

14. Intersessional meetings of Standing Committees and Working Groups may be authorized by the Opening or Closing Plenary sessions.

Regional CMAC Meetings

15. Regional CMAC meetings are held following a process similar to that of the National CMAC meeting, however:

  • The format may be adjusted to suit the needs of the members.
  • There is no requirement to establish Working Groups, although the regional CMAC meetings may decide to do so.

16. Regional CMAC meetings are chaired by officials of Transport Canada Marine Safety with the exception of the Prairie and Northern Regional CMAC meeting, which is co-chaired by officials of the Canadian Coast Guard.

17. The six regional CMAC meetings are:

  • Atlantic—Maritimes
  • Atlantic—Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • Prairie and Northern
  • Pacific

CMAC Secretariat

18. Transport Canada Marine Safety HQ provides the CMAC Secretariat for National CMAC meetings.

19. The CMAC Secretariats for the Regional CMAC meetings are provided by Transport Canada Marine Safety Regional Offices and the Canadian Coast Guard (where applicable).