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Canada Marine Act (S.C. 1998, c. 10)

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Act current to 2021-09-11 and last amended on 2020-09-10. Previous Versions

Canada Marine Act

S.C. 1998, c. 10

Assented to 1998-06-11

An Act for making the system of Canadian ports competitive, efficient and commercially oriented, providing for the establishing of port authorities and the divesting of certain harbours and ports, for the commercialization of the St. Lawrence Seaway and ferry services and other matters related to maritime trade and transport and amending the Pilotage Act and amending and repealing other Acts as a consequence

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 Canada Marine Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in this Act.


    Agency means the Canadian Transportation Agency continued by subsection 7(1) of the Canada Transportation Act. (Office)

    federal immovable

    federal immovable has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act; (immeuble fédéral)

    federal real property

    federal real property has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act; (bien réel fédéral)


    fees includes harbour dues, berthage and wharfage, as well as duties, tolls, rates and other charges, but does not include payments made under a lease or licence agreement. (droit)


    goods includes personal property and movables, other than ships. (marchandises)


    Minister means the Minister of Transport. (ministre)


    owner includes

    • (a) in the case of a ship, the agent, charterer by demise or master of the ship; and

    • (b) in the case of goods, the agent, sender, consignee or bailee of the goods, as well as the carrier of the goods to, on, over or from any real property or immovables to which this Act applies. (propriétaire)


    person includes a partnership, an association and a body corporate. (personne)

    port authority

    port authority means a port authority incorporated or continued under this Act. (administration portuaire)

    port facility

    port facility means a wharf, pier, breakwater, terminal, warehouse or other building or work that is located in, on or adjacent to navigable waters that is used in connection with navigation or shipping, land incidental to its use and any land adjacent to navigable waters that is used in connection with navigation or shipping. (installation portuaire)

    public port

    public port means a port designated as a public port under section 65. (port public)

    public port facility

    public port facility means a port facility designated as a public port facility under section 65. (installations portuaires publiques)


    Seaway means the deep waterway between the port of Montreal and the Great Lakes that is constructed and maintained pursuant to the Agreement between Canada and the United States providing for the development of navigation and power in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin, dated March 19, 1941, including the locks, canals and facilities between the port of Montreal and Lake Erie and generally known as the St. Lawrence Seaway. (voie maritime)


    ship means every description of vessel, boat or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for marine navigation, whether self-propelled or not and without regard to the method of propulsion, and includes a sea-plane and a raft or boom of logs or lumber. (navire)

  • Marginal note:Same meaning

    (2) Unless a contrary intention appears, words and expressions used in this Act have the same meaning as in the Canada Business Corporations Act.

  • 1998, c. 10, s. 2
  • 2001, c. 4, s. 133
  • 2008, c. 21, s. 1

Aboriginal Rights

Marginal note:Aboriginal rights

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


Marginal note:Purpose of the Act

 In recognition of the significance of marine transportation to Canada and its contribution to the Canadian economy, the purpose of this Act is to

  • (a) implement marine policies that provide Canada with the marine infrastructure that it needs and that offer effective support for the achievement of national, regional and local social and economic objectives and will promote and safeguard Canada’s competitiveness and trade objectives;

  • (a.1) promote the success of ports for the purpose of contributing to the competitiveness, growth and prosperity of the Canadian economy;

  • (b) base the marine infrastructure and services on international practices and approaches that are consistent with those of Canada’s major trading partners in order to foster harmonization of standards among jurisdictions;

  • (c) ensure that marine transportation services are organized to satisfy the needs of users and are available at a reasonable cost to the users;

  • (d) provide for a high level of safety and environmental protection;

  • (e) provide a high degree of autonomy for local or regional management of components of the system of services and facilities and be responsive to local needs and priorities;

  • (f) manage the marine infrastructure and services in a commercial manner that encourages, and takes into account, input from users and the community in which a port or harbour is located;

  • (g) provide for the disposition, by transfer or otherwise, of certain ports and port facilities; and

  • (h) promote coordination and integration of marine activities with surface and air transportation systems.

  • 1998, c. 10, s. 4
  • 2008, c. 21, s. 3

PART 1Canada Port Authorities


Marginal note:Definitions

 The definitions in this section apply in this Part.


airport means an airport situated in a port. (aéroport)

letters patent

letters patent means letters patent as amended by supplementary letters patent, if any. (lettres patentes)


port means the navigable waters under the jurisdiction of a port authority and the real property and immovables that the port authority manages, holds or occupies as set out in the letters patent. (port)


user, in respect of a port, means a person that makes commercial use of, or provides services at, the port. (utilisateur)

  • 1998, c. 10, s. 5
  • 2001, c. 4, s. 134


Marginal note:Application of Part

  •  (1) This Part applies to every port authority set out in the schedule and to every port authority for which letters patent of incorporation are issued or that has been continued under this Part and that has not been dissolved.

  • Marginal note:Amendment of schedule

    (2) The Minister may, by regulation, amend the schedule.

  • 1998, c. 10, s. 6
  • 2008, c. 21, s. 4

Agent of Her Majesty

Marginal note:Agent of Her Majesty

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (3), a port authority is an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada only for the purposes of engaging in the port activities referred to in paragraph 28(2)(a).

  • Marginal note:Not an agent of Her Majesty

    (2) A wholly-owned subsidiary of a port authority is not an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada unless, subject to subsection (3),

    • (a) it was an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada on June 10, 1996; and

    • (b) it is an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada under an enactment other than this Act.

  • Marginal note:Borrowing restriction

    (3) A port authority or a wholly-owned subsidiary of a port authority may not borrow money as an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada.


Marginal note:Letters patent

  •  (1) The Minister may issue letters patent — that take effect on the date stated in them — incorporating a port authority without share capital for the purpose of operating a particular port in Canada if the Minister is satisfied that the port

    • (a) is, and is likely to remain, financially self-sufficient;

    • (b) is of strategic significance to Canada’s trade;

    • (c) is linked to a major rail line or a major highway infrastructure; and

    • (d) has diversified traffic.

  • Marginal note:Contents of letters patent

    (2) The letters patent shall set out the following:

    • (a) the corporate name of the port authority;

    • (b) the place where the registered office of the port authority is located;

    • (c) the navigable waters that are within the port authority’s jurisdiction;

    • (d) the federal real property and federal immovables under the management of the port authority;

    • (e) the real property and immovables, other than the federal real property and federal immovables, held or occupied by the port authority;

    • (f) the number of directors, between seven and eleven, to be appointed under section 14, to be chosen as follows:

      • (i) one individual nominated by the Minister,

      • (ii) one individual appointed by the municipalities mentioned in the letters patent,

      • (iii) one individual appointed by the province in which the port is situated, and, in the case of the port wholly or partially located in Vancouver, another individual appointed by the Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba acting together, and

      • (iv) the remaining individuals nominated by the Minister in consultation with the users selected by the Minister or the classes of users mentioned in the letters patent;

    • (g) a code of conduct governing the conduct of the directors and officers of the port authority;

    • (h) the charge on the gross revenues of the port authority, or the formula for calculating it, that the port authority shall pay each year to the Minister on the day fixed by the Minister to maintain its letters patent in good standing;

    • (i) the extent to which the port authority and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the port authority may undertake port activities referred to in paragraph 28(2)(a) and other activities referred to in paragraph 28(2)(b);

    • (j) the maximum term of a lease or licence of federal real property or federal immovables under the management of the port authority;

    • (k) the limits on the authority of the port authority to contract as agent for Her Majesty;

    • (l) the limits on the power of the port authority to borrow money on the credit of the port authority for port purposes or a code governing that power, as the case may be; and

    • (m) any other provision that the Minister considers appropriate to include in the letters patent and that is not inconsistent with this Act.

  • Marginal note:Status of letters patent

    (3) Letters patent are not regulations within the meaning of the Statutory Instruments Act, but shall be published in the Canada Gazette and are valid with respect to third parties as of the date of publication.

  • Marginal note:When Ministerial approval required

    (4) Any provisions of letters patent relating to the extent to which a port authority may undertake activities referred to in paragraph 28(2)(b) shall be approved by the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance before the letters patent are issued.

  • Marginal note:When Governor in Council approval required

    (5) Any provisions of letters patent relating to limits on a port authority’s power to borrow money on its credit for port purposes shall be approved by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister and the Minister of Finance, before the letters patent are issued.

  • 1998, c. 10, s. 8
  • 2001, c. 4, s. 135
  • 2008, c. 21, s. 5
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 626
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