Oceans Act (S.C. 1996, c. 31)

Act current to 2016-06-06 and last amended on 2015-02-26. Previous Versions

Oceans Act

S.C. 1996, c. 31

Assented to 1996-12-18

An Act respecting the oceans of Canada

Preamble

WHEREAS Canada recognizes that the three oceans, the Arctic, the Pacific and the Atlantic, are the common heritage of all Canadians;

WHEREAS Parliament wishes to reaffirm Canada’s role as a world leader in oceans and marine resource management;

WHEREAS Parliament wishes to affirm in Canadian domestic law Canada’s sovereign rights, jurisdiction and responsibilities in the exclusive economic zone of Canada;

WHEREAS Canada promotes the understanding of oceans, ocean processes, marine resources and marine ecosystems to foster the sustainable development of the oceans and their resources;

WHEREAS Canada holds that conservation, based on an ecosystem approach, is of fundamental importance to maintaining biological diversity and productivity in the marine environment;

WHEREAS Canada promotes the wide application of the precautionary approach to the conservation, management and exploitation of marine resources in order to protect these resources and preserve the marine environment;

WHEREAS Canada recognizes that the oceans and their resources offer significant opportunities for economic diversification and the generation of wealth for the benefit of all Canadians, and in particular for coastal communities;

WHEREAS Canada promotes the integrated management of oceans and marine resources;

AND WHEREAS the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in collaboration with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements, is encouraging the development and implementation of a national strategy for the management of estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Oceans Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,

artificial island

île artificielle

artificial island means any man-made extension of the seabed or a seabed feature, whether or not the extension breaks the surface of the superjacent waters; (île artificielle)

Department

ministère

Department means the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; (ministère)

federal laws

droit

federal laws includes Acts of Parliament, regulations as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Interpretation Act and any other rules of law within the jurisdiction of Parliament, but does not include laws of the Legislature of Yukon, of the Northwest Territories or for Nunavut; (droit)

law

droit

law, in respect of a province, includes a law or rule of law from time to time in force in the province, other than federal laws, and the provisions of any instrument having effect under any such law; (droit)

marine installation or structure

ouvrages en mer

marine installation or structure includes

  • (a) any ship and any anchor, anchor cable or rig pad used in connection therewith,

  • (b) any offshore drilling unit, production platform, subsea installation, pumping station, living accommodation, storage structure, loading or landing platform, dredge, floating crane, pipelaying or other barge or pipeline and any anchor, anchor cable or rig pad used in connection therewith, and

  • (c) any other work or work within a class of works prescribed pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(a); (ouvrages en mer)

Minister

ministre

Minister means the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; (ministre)

ship

navire

ship includes any description of vessel, boat or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for marine navigation without regard to method or lack of propulsion. (navire)

  • 1996, c. 31, s. 2;
  • 1993, c. 28, s. 78;
  • 1998, c. 15, s. 35;
  • 2002, c. 7, s. 223;
  • 2014, c. 2, s. 46.
Marginal note:Saving

 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

PART ICanada’s Maritime Zones

Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone

Marginal note:Territorial sea of Canada

 The territorial sea of Canada consists of a belt of sea that has as its inner limit the baselines described in section 5 and as its outer limit

  • (a) subject to paragraph (b), the line every point of which is at a distance of 12 nautical miles from the nearest point of the baselines; or

  • (b) in respect of the portions of the territorial sea of Canada for which geographical coordinates of points have been prescribed pursuant to subparagraph 25(a)(ii), lines determined from the geographical coordinates of points so prescribed.

Marginal note:Determination of the baselines
  •  (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the baseline is the low-water line along the coast or on a low-tide elevation that is situated wholly or partly at a distance not exceeding the breadth of the territorial sea of Canada from the mainland or an island.

  • Marginal note:Geographical coordinates of points

    (2) In respect of any area for which geographical coordinates of points have been prescribed pursuant to subparagraph 25(a)(i) and subject to any exceptions in the regulations for

    • (a) the use of the low-water line along the coast between given points, and

    • (b) the use of the low-water lines of low-tide elevations that are situated wholly or partly at a distance not exceeding the breadth of the territorial sea of Canada from the mainland or an island,

    the baselines are straight lines interpreted as geodesics joining the consecutive geographical coordinates of points so prescribed.

  • Marginal note:Baselines where historic title

    (3) In respect of any area not referred to in subsection (2), the baselines are the outer limits of any area, other than the territorial sea of Canada, over which Canada has a historic or other title of sovereignty.

  • Marginal note:Low-tide elevations

    (4) For the purposes of this section, a low-tide elevation is a naturally formed area of land that is surrounded by and above water at low tide but submerged at high tide.

Marginal note:Internal waters of Canada

 The internal waters of Canada consist of the waters on the landward side of the baselines of the territorial sea of Canada.

Marginal note:Part of Canada

 For greater certainty, the internal waters of Canada and the territorial sea of Canada form part of Canada.

Marginal note:Rights of Her Majesty
  •  (1) For greater certainty, in any area of the sea not within a province, the seabed and subsoil below the internal waters of Canada and the territorial sea of Canada are vested in Her Majesty in right of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (2) Nothing in this section abrogates or derogates from any legal right or interest held before February 4, 1991.

Marginal note:Application of provincial law
  •  (1) Subject to this section and to any other Act of Parliament, the laws of a province apply in any area of the sea

    • (a) that forms part of the internal waters of Canada or the territorial sea of Canada;

    • (b) that is not within any province; and

    • (c) that is prescribed by the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) Subject to any regulations made pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(d), subsection (1) does not apply in respect of any provision of a law of a province that

    • (a) imposes a tax or royalty; or

    • (b) relates to mineral or other non-living natural resources.

  • Marginal note:Interpretation

    (3) For the purposes of this section, the laws of a province shall be applied as if the area of the sea in which those laws apply under this section were within the territory of that province.

  • Marginal note:Sums due to province

    (4) Any sum due under a law of a province that applies in an area of the sea under this section belongs to Her Majesty in right of the province.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (5) For greater certainty, this section shall not be interpreted as providing a basis for any claim, by or on behalf of a province, in respect of any interest in or legislative jurisdiction over any area of the sea in which a law of a province applies under this section or the living or non-living resources of that area, or as limiting the application of any federal laws.

Marginal note:Contiguous zone of Canada

 The contiguous zone of Canada consists of an area of the sea that has as its inner limit the outer limit of the territorial sea of Canada and as its outer limit the line every point of which is at a distance of 24 nautical miles from the nearest point of the baselines of the territorial sea of Canada, but does not include an area of the sea that forms part of the territorial sea of another state or in which another state has sovereign rights.

Marginal note:Prevention in contiguous zone of infringement of federal laws

 A person who is responsible for the enforcement of a federal law that is a customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary law and who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person in the contiguous zone of Canada would, if that person were to enter Canada, commit an offence under that law may, subject to Canada’s international obligations, prevent the entry of that person into Canada or the commission of the offence and, for greater certainty, section 25 of the Criminal Code applies in respect of the exercise by a person of any powers under this section.

 
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