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Canada Raises Penalties for Maritime Violations

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1444
April 18, 2024

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, has announced a substantial increase in the value of monetary penalties for violations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. The maximum penalty has been raised from CAD $25,000 to a significant CAD $250,000.

The revised penalty structure, divided into minor, medium, and serious levels, is designed to reflect the severity of the maritime violation.

Minor violations, which are administrative and pose no threat to public safety or the environment, can include a ship captain’s failure to notify the Minister of Transport before entering a shipping safety control zone. Medium violations, where pollution response regulations are not followed, may include instances such as cheating on an examination to obtain a maritime document. Serious violations, posing a risk to human health or the environment, can range from improper storage of compressed gas to the discharge of cargo residues in polar waters under specific conditions.

The adjustment in penalties is part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, a collaborative initiative involving Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, scientists, and government.

“We’re serious about the safety of our waters and the well-being of Canadians, and that’s why we’re introducing these amendments and raising the maximum penalty,” stated Rodriguez. “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 Canada Shipping Act, 2001, has enabled the use of administrative monetary penalties to enforce the Act and its regulations. The previous maximum penalty of CAD $25,000 per violation was set in 2008, and the new amount reflects the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the country’s marine safety system and deter violators.

Transport Canada maintains oversight of the marine shipping industry through inspections and monitoring, ensuring compliance with regulations. Their enforcement toolbox includes regulatory amendments, written warnings, and potential cancellation or suspension of licenses and permits, even criminal prosecution.

The penalties are distinct from criminal prosecution, used for the most serious cases of non-compliance, which can result in a fine of up to CAD $1 million and/or imprisonment of up to 18 months.


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