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2015 Legal News


October 9, 2015 - Forsey v. Burin Peninsula Marine Service Centre, 2015 FCA 216
The plaintiff's fishing vessel fell over on its cradle while at the defendant's Marine Service Centre for repairs and maintenance. As a result of the fall the vessel suffered serious structural damage and became a total loss. In addition, there was a fuel spill which had to be contained and cleaned up. The plaintiff sued for recovery of damages and clean up expenses. The Marine Center denied liability on the basis that the fishing vessel's crew built the cradle. Furthermore, it argued the plaintiff signed a contract releasing the Marine Center from liability and relied on signs posted at the premises stating "Boat Stored at Owners Risk".
At trial, it was determined that the Marine Service Center was responsible for the construction of the cradle. The Marine Center's employees chose the wood used to build the cradle and the method of construction. A significant issue involved the Marine Center's employees disposal of the damaged wood within 48 hours of the vessel falling without explanation or notice to the plaintiff and prior to the arrival of the plaintiff's surveyor. As a result, it was presumed the wood was in poor condition and not fit for its intended purpose. The Trial Judge further found that the contractual release from liability and the notices were ambiguous and ineffective.
On appeal the Federal Court of Appeal held the Trial Judge made no palpable and overriding error either in relation to her finding that the cradle was negligently constructed nor in finding that the contract and signs were ineffective.
Eric Machum of Metcalf & Company acted for the sucessful plaintiff and his insurer. Read the full decision.
September 1, 2015 – Amedments to Nova Scotia Limitations of Actions Act in force

Effective September 1st, 2015 the amendments establish a 2 year basic limitation period and create an ultimate limitation period of 15 years except for real estate matters and sexual misconduct and abuse in an intimate or dependent relationship.


July 18, 2015 – Marine Mammal Regulations Amended

The amendment increases the distance that unlicensed seal harvest observers must maintain from a person fishing for seals from one-half nautical mile (i.e. 926 meters) to one nautical mile (i.e. 1 852 meters).


June 29, 2015 – Aquaculture Activities Regulations

The Regulations provide greater certainty for aquaculturists on regulatory requirements related to sections 36 (deposit of deleterious substances) and section 35 (fisheries protection) of the Fisheries Act. The Regulations prescribe the classes of substances authorized to be deposited and specify works, undertakings or activities authorized to be undertaken. In addition, they establish new monitoring and reporting requirements.   


June 19, 2015 – Amendments to the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations

The amendments introduce a new voluntary program for shippers and third party service providers such as freight forwarders who wish to screen, transport or store secure air cargo intended to be flown on passenger flights. The program will allow for limited self-screening of cargo and is intended to reduce the need for third party screening. It is anticipated that shippers will see reduced costs and delays. The amendments come into force on October 17, 2016.


June 18, 2015 - Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act
This enactment amends the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act to implement the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, to prohibit the importation of fish caught and marine plants harvested in the course of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to clarify certain powers in respect of the administration and enforcement of the Act. Read more about the Agreement. 
June 17, 2015 – Regulatory changes concerning marine safety

The Life Saving and Equipment Regulations have been amended to update and clarify the law regarding lifeboat launching. Minor changes have also been made to the Marine Machinery Regulations.   


June 12, 2015 – Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substance Regulations

The Regulations include new licensing requirements for the transport of nuclear substances by special use vessels and stricter reporting requirements for dangerous occurrences.


June 12, 2015 - Regulations amending the On Board Trains Occupational Safety and Health Regulations

The minimum sound levels to which employees working on trains has been reduced and operators are now expected to introduce engineering controls to reduce employee exposure to noise.

June 8, 2015 – New limits of liability under 1996 Protocol to LLMC 1976 enter into force

The limits of liability under 1996 Protocol to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) increase by approximately 50%. Canada passed a regulation amending Schedule 1 of the Marine Liability Act to reflect the new limits.


The increased limits will also apply to claims under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 (BUNKERS) and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007.

June 5, 2015 – Regulations amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations

The amendments solidify a temporary change in the law which had increased the minimum flight attendant to passenger ratio from 1 attendant for every 40 passengers to 1 for every 50. Operators now have the option of using either ratio and must comply with additional mitigation requirements if they choose 1:50. 


May 29, 2015 – New Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations

The new Regulations enacted under the Fisheries Act, RSC 1985, c F-14 are intended to be a comprehensive national framework for the regulation of invasive aquatic species. They replace what was formerly an inconsistent patchwork of regulations and policies from multiple levels of government. From a shipowners perspective, the Regulations establish prohibitions against the importation, possession, transportation, and/or release, or potential release of the 89 aquatic invasive species listed in Part 2 of the Schedule. The Regulations contain a narrow exemption for emergencies. 


May 15, 2015 MARPOL Polar Code Amendments adopted

The I​​​​​​​​MO has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code)​ and related amendments to make it mandatory under both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). 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 Polar Code and SOLAS amendments were adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), on November 21, 2014 and the environmental provisions and MARPOL amendments were adopted by the Marine​ Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) on May 15, 2015. The Polar Code is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2017. 


April 23, 2015 - Red Tape Reduction Act

The Red Tape Reduction Act enacts the one-for-one rule into law. The rule has been implemented by federal departments since 2012 requiring regulators to offset the cost increases of administrative burden on business, and for every new regulation added that imposes an administrative burden, one must be removed.


April 14, 2015 – Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention enter into force

Canada is not a party to the convention but Transport Canada has recommended Canada adopt it.


April 1, 2015 – New Regulations Affecting Offshore Aviation

The Canadian Aviation Regulations, SOR/96-433 have been amended so as to require all occupants of helicopters involved in domestic offshore operations to be trained in the use of emergency underwater breathing apparatuses. In addition, the amendments introduce a requirement that helicopters cannot be used in offshore operations in non-emergency situations when the sea state exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified for ditching in water. The amendments come into force on July 22, 2015.


March 27, 2015 – Great Lakes Pilotage Fee Increase

The Pilotage Authority is increasing its general tariff for all pilotage charges in all seven districts as follows:

  • 2015 – 1.5% increase;

  • 2016 – 1.5% increase;

  • 2017 – 2.0% increase.


February 27, 2015 – Atlantic Pilotage Fee Increase

The Pilotage Authority is increasing all charges related to one-way trips and moves for the areas listed below as follows:

  • Cape Breton (Canso Strait) – 10%;

  • Saint John – 5%;

  • Halifax – 5%;

  • Bay of Exploits – 3%;

  • Humber Arm – 3%.


February 26, 2015 – Energy Safety and Security Act assented

This statute amends the Canada-Newfoundland and Canada-Nova Scotia offshore regulatory statutes to update and strengthen the liability regime for discharges from offshore rigs and structures and increase the limit of liability to $1 billion without proof of fault or negligence. In addition, the Act creates an administrative monetary penalty regime. 


The enactment also repeals the Nuclear Liability Act and enacts the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act to strengthen the liability regime applicable after a nuclear incident.


February 6, 2015 – New Railway Safety Management Regulations

The new Railway Safety Management System Regulations, 2015 repeal and replace the former Railway Safety Management Regulations, 2001. The Regulations are in large part a response the the Lac Megantic disaster of 2013. Important new inclusions include whistle-blower provisions that enable employees to report safety hazards without fear of reprisal and rules regarding hours of rest and fatigue. The Regulations entered into force on April 1, 2015.


January 30, 2015 – New Hazardous Products Regulations

The new Hazardous Products Regulations have revised the classification and communication requirements related to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The new Regulations implement the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and to the greatest extent possible, are in alignment with U.S. law. The Regulations entered into force on February 11, 2015.


January 5, 2015 – New Temporary OHS Regulations for Offshore Marine Installations in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Marine Installations and Structures Occupational Health and Safety Transitional Regulations entered into force on December 31, 2014. They serve as interim rules until a new regime can be developed. The Offshore Health and Safety Act specifies that this process could take until 2019. In the meantime, the temporary Act addresses a wide range of issues including standby craft, emergency drills, levels of sound, hazardous substances, first aid and confined spaces.


January 5, 2015 - New Temporary OHS Regulations for Offshore Marine Installations in Nova Scotia

Like its counterpart in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Marine Installations and Structures Occupational Health and Safety Transitional Regulations operate as a temporary set of rules governing a wide range of OHS issues until a new regime is developed. 


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