Canada steeply increases the size of maritime penalties

Written by Nick Blenkey
Canadian maritime penalties

The size of monetary penalties for violations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 has been increased by a whopping-tenfold: from a maximum of CAD 25,000 to a new maximum of CAD 250,000 (about US$18,000 to US$180,000. The increased maritime penalties were announced by Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez and are structured into three levels: minor, medium, and serious.

Minor violations are administrative in nature and pose no threat to public safety or the environment; medium violations apply to situations when regulations on pollution response are not followed, but may not pose a large threat to people or the environment; and serious violations are those that endanger human health or the environment, or involve destroying documents or obstruction of authority.

Examples of minor violations include:

  • a Master of a vessel failing to notify the Minister of Transport prior to entering a shipping safety control zone
  • vessels carrying dangerous goods not holding the appropriate Document of Compliance

Examples of medium violations include:

  • cheating on an examination to obtain a maritime document
  • a person possessing a maritime document not issued to them

Examples of serious violations include:

  • not storing compressed gas in separate compartments from other types of compressed gas
  • discharging of cargo residues in polar waters in certain conditions

“We’re serious about the safety of our waters and the wellbeing of Canadians, and that’s why we’re introducing these amendments and raising the maximum penalty,” said the Minister of Transport. “This is another step we’re taking through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan to make sure our coasts and waterways are safe for generations to come.”

The previous maximum maritime penalty of CAD 25,000 per violation was set in 2008. The new maximum penalty amount is the result of approved legislative amendments to the Administrative Monetary Penalties and Notices (CSA 2001) Regulations.

Transport Canada says administrative monetary maritime penalties are a key tool in its enforcement toolbox. Other enforcement tools include written warnings, canceling or suspending licences and permits, and pursuing criminal prosecution. Transport Canada notes that the maritime penalties are distinct from criminal prosecution, which is used to address the most serious cases of non-compliance and can result in a fine of up to CAD 1 million and/or imprisonment of up to 18 months.

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