• Amendments to Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001
  • January 8, 2016 | Authors: Dionysios Rossi; Graham Walker
  • Law Firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Vancouver Office
  • Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations

    The Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations, SOR/2012-69 were amended on January 2, 2015 to control and regulate airborne emissions from ships and to implement Canada's international obligations under Annex VI of MARPOL.

    The amendments lowered the permitted limit for sulphur content in marine fuel by 90% (from 1.000% to 0.10%) for almost all types of vessels, including drilling, production and storage vessels in the North American Emission Control Area ("NA-ECA") or operating in waters south of 60º N. The new restrictions will apply to Canadian-flagged vessels in any area of the world, as well as foreign-flagged vessels that are operating in Canadian waters or within the Canadian portion of the NA-ECA under MARPOL. However, offshore drilling, storage and offloading platforms ("FPSOs"), fishing vessels, pleasure crafts, and production or storage vessels will be exempt.

    Transport Canada has warned that it will be increasing penalties for non-compliance to accord with these stricter limits. Therefore, vessel and cargo owners may risk increased fines and delays for non-compliance, which will cause a corresponding increased risk of third party claims for insurers.

    The amendments also lowered the sulphur content for vessels operating in waters outside of the NA-ECA north of 60º N from 3.50% to 0.50%, but this change will not be effective until January 1, 2019. The affected area includes Hudson's Bay, James Bay, and Ungava Bay.

    Vessel Operation Restrictions Regulations

    Amendments to the Vessel Operation Restrictions Regulations, SOR/2008-120 establishing restrictions on boating activities and navigation in Canadian waters came into force on May 29, 2015. The amendments are intended to respond to requests from local authorities for Transport Canada to impose or amend restrictions on navigation in order to enhance the safety of navigation, protect the environment, or protect the public interest.

    Specifically, the amendments appoint inspectors in a municipality in Québec to ensure compliance with the Regulations in order to maintain and promote safe operation of vessels in the area, as well as correct existing restrictions on 87 bodies of water in Ontario and 59 bodies of water in Québec to accurately reflect geographical place, names, and coordinates.

    Vessel Registration and Tonnage Regulations and Vessels Registry Fees Tariff

    The Vessel Registration and Tonnage Regulations, SOR/2007-126 (the "VRTR") and Vessels Registry Fees Tariff, SOR/2002-172 were amended on May 1, 2015 and establish requirements with respect to vessels in the Canadian Register of Vessels under Part 2 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, SC 2001, c 26 (the "CSA, 2001"). These amendments alleviate much of the administrative burden relating to registration and aim to reduce the regulatory burden on non-profit organizations, charitable organizations, and small business owners.

    Prior to 2011, all vessels other than pleasure craft were required to be registered, including human-powered pleasure craft such as canoes, kayaks, row boats, and small sailing vessels. This requirement placed an unnecessary administrative burden on small vessel owners that far outweighed any safety benefit.

    The amendments to the VRTR exempt from registration vessels under an aggregate power of 7.5 kW, sailboats that are 8.5 m or less in length, human-powered vessels other than commercial river rafts, and certain vessels operated by recreational boating schools for training purposes.