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Newsletters 2007 > March 2007

Canada Shipping Act, 2001

The Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001), is an updated and streamlined version of the existing Canada Shipping Act (CSA). The CSA is an old piece of legislation that dates back to more than 100 years and has been repeatedly amended during that time. It is the main legislation governing the activities of Canada ships in all waters and foreign ships in Canadian waters. It applies to everything from pleasure crafts, to fishing vessels, to tugs and barges, to lakers and cruise ships. Due to its frequent amendments to catch up to ever changing technologies and needs, the CSA is often criticized as a "patchwork quilt" that is difficult to navigate.

CSA 2001 will result in improved provisions to better protect and support crews, enhance passenger and vessel safety, and better protect the marine environment. The CSA 2001 will be simplified as followed:

  • only include definitions for terms that are different than the ordinary dictionary meaning
  • technical details are removed and placed in regulations, standards or other documents
  • language is clearer and easier to understand
  • antiquated provisions/sections are revamped/removed, particularly those that have been consolidated and moved to the Marine Liability Act

The existing CSA is currently in force. CSA 2001 was initiated in 1997 and received Royal Assent on November 1, 2001; however CSA 2001 does not come into force until the central regulations needed in support of it are developed and fully vetted.

There are currently almost 100 CSA regulations. The goal of the Regulatory Reform Project is to reform these 100 regulations into approximately 30. This Regulatory Review is being conducted in two phases. The first phase will include the reform of those regulations necessary for the coming into force of the CSA 2001, and will include the revamping of those regulations that are inconsistent with the provision of the new act, and those that substantially impact safety and the environment. The second phases will consist of a modernization of those regulations that are currently consistent with the new act and those that are non-critical.

Phase one is expected to occur on July 1, 2007, at which time CSA 2001 will come into force and phase two will commence. Highlights of the Phase 1 Regulatory reforms will include:

a) Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations - provides an alternative to judicial penalties for enforcement and compliance with the act for the marine industry; similar regulations have already been in use in the aviation industry for some time
b) Marine Personnel Regulation - ensures ship owners have the appropriate amount of crew who have the appropriate training and certification;
c) Environmental Response Regulations - deals with the prevention of and response to marine spills from vessel and oil handling facilities;
d) Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals Regulations -promotes the elimination of deliberate, negligent or accidental discharge of ship-source pollutants into the marine environment; and includes the safe operation of chemical tankers; and
e) Small Vessel Regulations -addresses safety needs for pleasure craft of all sizes and small non-pleasure craft of up to 12 meters (or 15 gross tonnages) that are not fishing vessels.

Highlights of regulations that will come into force sometime after the CSA 2001 include:

a) Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations;
b) Fire Safety Regulations; and
c) Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations - will deal with having vessels built and outfitted for safety, equipped for emergencies, and manned by competent crews.1


Demetrios Yiokaris


1For a more thorough discussion see:
- Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Transport Canada, May 2005 and accessed on January 12, 2007 at www.tc.gc.ca;
- Canada Shipping Act, 2001 Regulatory Reform Project - Overview Spring 2006 (Slideshow) Transport Canada, Spring 2006 and accessed on January 5, 2007 at www.tc.gc.ca;
- Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) Regulatory Reform, Transport Canada, updated on October 4, 2006 and accessed on January 5, 2007 at www.tc.gc.ca.

 



 


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