top of page

2017 Legal News


January 1, 2017 - IMO Polar Code enters into force

The Polar Code (click for full text) covers the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in Arctic and Antarctic waters including ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and protection of the environment. Ships operating in the defined waters of the Antarctic and Arctic will have to carry a Polar Ship Certificate and a Polar Water Operational Manual.

January 1, 2017 - Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) abandonment provisions enter into force

Under the MLC all ships must have on board a certificate showing they have insurance to assist seafarers on board vessels if they are abandoned.

February 13, 2017 - Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations Amended

The amendments remove discrepancies between the French and English versions and some grammatical errors. 

March 24, 2017 -  Atlantic Pilotage Tariffs adjusted

The Authority is publishing a two-stage tariff adjustment, with the first stage taking effect in 2017 and the second stage taking effect in 2018. The rates are set on a port-by-port basis, with 13 compulsory ports affected in 2017 and 12 affected in 2018. Tariffs for other non-compulsory areas are also being increased in each year. Combined, the changes are estimated to increase the overall tariff rates by 4.12% in 2017 and by 3.33% in 2018. To see full article Atlantic Pilotage Tariff Regulations, 1996.

June 9, 2017 -  Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations amended

The Regulations set out restrictions to boating activities in Canadian waters including: prohibitions with respect to access by vessels to specified waters; restrictions on the mode of propulsion used; maximum engine power or speed limits; and prohibitions on recreational towing (e.g. water-skiing) activities. The Schedules to the Regulations also specify waters in which a permit is required in order to hold a sporting, recreational or public event or activity (e.g. regattas and dragon boat races). These amendments were created due to the increase of water activities as a results of population growth and technical evolution of vessels leading to a potential increased of safety risk to users.

19th June 2017 - Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization Act.

The Act amends the Customs Act so that boaters and aircraft are exempted from reporting immediately to the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) if:

  1. In the case of boats, the boat does not land persons in Canada and does not anchor, moor or make contact with another conveyance while in Canadian waters

  2. In the case of aircraft, it does not land in Canada.


Boaters cruising the Great Lakes and other bodies of water that are in both Canada and the United States can now sail more easily without fear of a large CBSA fine, seizure of a boat and/or cancellation of NEXUS passes.

September 21, 2017 - Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Implemented

CETA's implementation immediately eliminates a import duties on a wide range of products. The CETA Rules of Origin apply to all goods imported under CETA and are generally more flexible than the NAFTA rules of origin.  The Protocol on rules of origin and origin procedures sets out the product-specific rules of origin.  You must know the H.S. classification number for each product in order to find the appropriate tariff and rule of origin.


Impact on shipping

  • Import duties on vessels are to be eliminated progressively over a period of four to eight years depending on the type of vessel.

  • European Union (EU) entities are allowed to perform certain coasting trade activities without requiring a coasting trade licence, including:

  1. the repositioning of empty containers (on a non-revenue basis);

  2. feeder services between the ports of Halifax and Montréal; and

  3. private dredging services.

November 23, 2017 - Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations updated

The marine provisions in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG Regulations) were last revised in 2001. The TDG Regulations were updated to bring the terminology in line with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001)and its regulations, including the Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations (CFTR) and the Vessel Certificates Regulations (VCR). Additional changes were made to clarify the scope of the Regulations.

The prohibition against carriage of UN3156, COMPRESSED GAS, OXIDIZING, N.O.S. on vessels with more than 25 passengers is lifted as it inadvertently prevented the transport of oxygen-enriched air tanks required by underwater divers on board vessels and for medical purposes in ambulances on board vessels.

December 13, 2017 - Beluga Whale, North Atlantic Right Whale, et al Orders

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard approved Critical Habitat Orders under the Species at Risk Act. The orders allow for further protection of eight at-risk species, including:

  1. Whales: North Atlantic Right Whale and Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary). 

  2. Fish species: Spotted Gar, Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario populations); Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Eastslope populations).

  3. Mollusc species: Northern Abalone.

The following are examples of activities deemed by DFO "likely to destroy critical habitat" of these species, and which may therefore require authorization under the Species at Risk Act:

  • Capture and removal of prey species (e.g. a plankton fishery);

  • Shipping;

  • In-water and/or land-based industrial activities (e.g. pile driving, dredging, and construction);

  • Seismic surveys;

  • Sonar;

  • Large-scale tidal energy developments; and

  • Dumping and discharge of contaminants/pollution (e.g. from industrial developments, vessels).

DISCLAIMER: As lawyers we appreciate disclaimers; so here is ours. Metcalf & Company maintains its web site for informational purposes only. The information is provided "as is" with all faults, and is not legal advice. Your use of the information does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a lawyer before relying on any such information.
bottom of page