Compliance Program

Transport Canada’s Marine Security Program has a number of enforcement tools to encourage industry to meet the requirements of the Marine Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and its regulations.  In most cases, a graduated approach is used to inform individuals or corporations when non-compliance exists and guidance is provided to assist in rectifying the situation.

Transport Canada’s objective is to be fair, transparent, timely, consistent, and to work collaboratively with industry – giving them the opportunity to take corrective action in cases of non-compliance.  If individuals or corporations commit serious, wilful or repeated contraventions of the MTSA or its regulations, administrative monetary penalties may be issued or charges under the Act may be laid.  Most enforcement cases are heard and resolved quickly in an open and fair manner.

Transport Canada Marine Security has developed a Compliance Policy that states the principles of the Compliance Program, taking into consideration the philosophy and methods of existing Transport Canada programs and lessons learned from other modal groups.   Marine Security has also developed a comprehensive set of procedures and work instructions to ensure national consistency in the use of compliance activities and enforcement actions. 

The Compliance Program includes training modules for security inspectors across Canada to ensure consistent and effective application of marine security legislation and implementation of the Compliance Program.

Compliance Activities

The Marine Security Program works collaboratively with industry stakeholders to ensure a common understanding of the requirements of the MTSA and its regulations, and how to achieve compliance.  This type of education and awareness is generally the first step in Marine Security’s compliance activities.

The next step is assisting industry members apply their knowledge and experience in the performance of security assessments of their operations.  Industry will then develop security plans or procedures to address the results of those assessments and to meet all regulatory requirements.

Finally, Marine Security will conduct inspections of regulated vessels, marine facilities, and ports to ensure that they are in compliance with the MTSA and its regulations.

Enforcement Actions

Non-compliance will be addressed using a graduated approach.  The first level of this approach is documenting non-compliance and offering the contravener the opportunity to correct the non-compliance.   This may be the appropriate action for minor or inadvertent issues of non-compliance.

In 2001, the MTSA was amended to include two new enforcement actions for addressing non-compliance.  They are the assurance of compliance and the administrative monetary penalty.  In 2006, the Marine Transportation Security Regulations (MTSR) were amended to add supporting provisions for these two new enforcement actions. 

An assurance of compliance could be the appropriate action for issues of a minor or moderate gravity where the contravener is willing to correct the issue and follow up is required to verify and document the correction.  An assurance of compliance has a penalty amount associated with it in the event that the assurance of compliance is not fulfilled. 

Administrative monetary penalties represent a more severe enforcement option in circumstances when non-compliance with the MTSA and/or MTSR is being done wilfully, negligently or repetitively.  These penalties can range from $250 -$5,000 for individuals and $1,000 - $25,000 for corporations.

These enforcement actions can be reviewed by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada on the basis of the facts of the situation or the amount of the penalty assessed.

In more serious or grave cases Marine Security may decide to refer the case for prosecution.

All of these actions are governed by the Compliance Policy and the Compliance Procedures to ensure that they are conducted in a transparent, fair, consistent, timely, and confidential manner.

Any questions on the Marine Security’s Compliance and Enforcement Program may be addressed to the Director of Marine Security Operations at