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2014 Legal News

December 12, 2014 – Amendments to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations

Federal employees engaged in multi-employer employment are now subject to two additional forms of leave, namely leave related to critical illness and leave related to death or disappearance.


December 12, 2014 – Amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations have been modernized and seen significant amendments. Noteworthy changes include a revision of Schedules 1, 2 & 3. Also, the amendments aim to differentiate lithium batteries from non-lithium batteries so as to restrict the air-transport of lithium batteries on passenger flights due to their flammable properties.


December 9, 2014 – Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act assented

Part 1 enacts the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, which authorizes the Minister of Transport to indemnify certain aviation industry participants for loss, damage or liability caused by “war risks”.


Part 2 amends the Aeronautics Act to provide certain persons with powers to investigate aviation accidents or incidents involving civilians and aircraft or aeronautical installations operated by or on behalf of the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces or a visiting force. It also establishes privilege in respect of on-board recordings, communication records and certain statements, and permits, among other things, access to an on-board recording if certain criteria are met.


Part 4 amends the Marine Liability Act to implement the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010  (HNS Convention). Among other things, it gives force of law to many provisions of the Convention, clarifies the liability of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund with respect to the Convention and confers powers, duties and functions on the Fund’s Administrator.


Part 5 amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to introduce new requirements for operators of oil handling facilities, including the requirement to notify the Minister of their operations and to submit plans to the Minister. It extends civil and criminal immunity to the agents or mandataries of response organizations engaged in response operations. It also introduces the administrative monetary penalties regime to Part 8 (Pollution Prevention and Response).


November 28, 2014 – New Grade Crossing Regulations for Railways

The Grade Crossing Regulations for Railways establish minimum grade crossing standards, outline the roles and responsibilities of railway companies, road authorities and private parties, provide for the sharing of safety information, outline rules for inspection and testing and create prohibitions on obstruction of public crossings.


November 21, 2014 - IMO Polar Code Adopted

The I​​​​​​​​MO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code)​ and related amendments to make it mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The code covers a broad range of matters related to polar navigation, including ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions. The environmental provisions and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) amendments will be adopted by the Marine​ Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in 2015. 

November 20, 2014 - Nova Scotia Limitation of Actions Act passed

Bill 64 was passed making significant changes to the Limitation of Actions Act, including the reduction of the general limitation period from six years to two years from the day on which the claim is discovered and an ultimate limitation period of 15 years from the day on which the act or omission on which the claim is based occurred. The new Act will come into force when it is proclaimed.

October 24, 2014 – Minor Amendments to the Pacific Pilotage Regulations

The Pacific Pilotage Regulations have been updated to remedy minor inaccuracies in the legislation. Specifically, inaccuracies in the coordinates for pilotage area #5 have been corrected.


September 19, 2014 – Amendments to the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations

The amendments introduce new areas across the country in which operation of certain vessels has been restricted. See the Schedules for details. The amendments do not affect the status quo in the Maritime Provinces. 


August 1, 2014 – Changes to the Transportation Information Regulations

In response to grain capacity issues on Canadian rail lines in 2013 and 2014, amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations mandate the collection of additional information by the Department of Transport. The data to be collected includes information on rail traffic, status of railcar fleets and railway car order fulfillment. Data collection is also to occur on a more frequent basis.


July 9, 2014 – New Disposal at Sea Application Form and Procedure

The Minister of Environment may, on application, issue permits for projects relating to disposal at sea, pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The amendments introduce a new and more detailed application form. In addition, the modified form allows for permits to be renewed for projects relating to disposal at sea which are deemed low risk and do not vary from year to year, thus reducing complexity and saving time.

July 9, 2014 - Malcolm v. Shubenacadie Tidal Bore Rafting Park Limited, 2014 NSSC 217.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court granted summary judgment dismissing a minor passenger's claim against a river rafting tour operator which was commenced after the expiration of the limitation period under the Athens Convention. The Court considered a number of defences raised by the plaintiff passenger and held that:

  • The action is governed by Canadian maritime law and the applicable limitation period is set out in the Athens Convention. The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Ryan Estate, 2013 SCC 44 did not alter this conclusion.

  • The 2009 amendments to the Marine Liability Act exempting adventure tourism activities from the application of the Athens Convention did not apply retrospectively.

  • The provisions in the Nova Scotia Limitation of Actions Act providing for the suspension of limitation periods for claims by minors did not supersede Canadian maritime law.

  • A contractual choice of law clause providing that Nova Scotia law applied to any disputes did not exclude Canadian maritime law as Nova Scotia law includes the former.


Eric Machum of Metcalf & Company acted for the sucessful defendant in this matter. Read the full decision.


June 26, 2014 - Proposed Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations

Highlights include:

  • Revised licensing requirements;

  • Transport documents will be required for excepted packages to contain additional information such as the names and addresses of the consignor/consignee and the identification mark for any certifications.

  • Reclassification of ore with low concentrations of uranium (3%) from LSA-2 to LSA-1. This modification allows ores of lower concentrations to be shipped with less packaging.


June 19, 2014 - Offshore Health and Safety Act assented

This statute amends the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act (the “Accord Acts”) in order to establish a new occupational health and safety regime in the offshore areas. In addition, it clarifies that the new occupational health and safety regime applies to the transportation of persons who are in transit to, from or between workplaces in the offshore areas. 


A number of additional and consequential amendments to other statutes are enacted.


June 19, 2014 – Amendments to Marine Transportation Security Regulations

The amendments adopt changes  to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) requiring that all seafarers, with or without security responsibilities hold a certificate of proficiency. 


The amendments also encompass other changes required by the IMO, such as

  • requiring vessel operators to mark the vessel with an IMO number;

  • requiring vessel operators to clearly identify each restricted area on the vessel; and

  • amending existing provisions, consistent with IMO recommendations to facilitate the coordination of shore leave for seafarers and to facilitate the coordination for access to vessels by seafarers’ welfare and labour organizations, including the International Transport Workers’ Federation representatives.


Other amendments are intended to harmonize the Canadian regulatory regime with the U.S. regime, reduce financial and regulatory compliance burden, where possible, and address interpretation issues and regulatory gaps such as suspension and cancellation provisions for marine security documents and to increase the scope of required security management quality assurance systems.


June 13, 2014 – New Design Requirements for Railcars

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations have been amended so as to upgrade tank car design requirements. The amendments adopt the TP14877 standard published by Transport Canada, Containers for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail. The amendments also introduce new requirements for documentation relating to the procedures and processes for classification of dangerous goods. They entered into force on July 15, 2014.


April 23, 2014 - Peracomo Inc. v. TELUS Communications Co., 2014 SCC 29

Supreme Court of Canada clarified the law on limitation of liability. This case concerned a fisherman who cut an undersea cable in the St. Lawrence River. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) overturned the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) regarding when the shipowner's right to limit liability is lost. The FCA held that because Mr. Peracomo intended to cut the cable, even though he did not intend to cause the loss, he lost his right to limit liability to $500,000. The SCC overturned this reasoning. The law is now such that the right to limit is barred only if the type of loss intended or envisaged by the person liable is the actual loss suffered by the claimant.


April 11, 2014 – Exemptions for aquaculture under the Fisheries Act.

The Regulations Establishing Conditions for Making Regulations under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act grant the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the power to exempt certain aquaculture operations from the general prohibition on polluting water frequented by fish.

April 1, 2014 - Navigation Protection Act in force

Amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act made under the Jobs and Growth Act 2012 enter into force.

March 28, 2014 - Navigation Protection Act clarified.

The former Schedule of listed waters in the Navigation Protection Act had technical errors such as inaccurate latitude and longitude boundaries and terrain description. These inaccuracies have been amended and will eliminate the burden that would otherwise be placed on builders of proposed works who would have to spend considerable time assessing whether or not they were building in a scheduled or unscheduled waterway.


March 12, 2014 - Order Designating the Minister of the Environment as the Minister Responsible for the Administration and Enforcement of Subsections 36(3) to (6) of the Fisheries Act.

The general prohibition on depositing a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish is now administered by the Minister of the Environment.


February 28, 2014 - New Transportation Safety Board Regulations.

The new Transportation Safety Board Regulations repeal and replace the previous Regulations. Changes affecting the marine industry include: a list of the navigation aids on board the ship is no  longer required to be provided as part of an occurrence report, however, ships equipped with a voyage data recorder are now required to provide information on the type of recorder on board the ship and actions taken to save the data on the on-board recorder.


January 29, 2014 - Editorial changes to the Collision Regulations.

The amendments are minor (mostly harmonizing English and French versions of the statute) and do not make any substantive changes to any of the provisions identified.


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