Backgrounder — Tougher Penalties for Ship Owners and Operators who Fail to Comply with Canada’s Marine Security Legislation

The Marine Transportation Security Act (MTSA) provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to put in place measures to protect the security of the marine transportation system. As part of the overall approach to combat human smuggling, the Government of Canada is proposing changes to the MTSA.

Under the current MTSA, certain type and size vessels bound for Canada must file pre-arrival information at a certain time before entering Canadian waters.

The proposed amendments to the MTSA introduce a specific penalty for failing to provide pre-arrival information before a vessel enters Canadian waters. The proposed measures also increase penalties for failing to comply with ministerial directions and for persons who provide false or misleading information. It also amends the Act to create a new offence for vessels that fail to comply with ministerial directions.

As well, the MTSA currently provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to direct any vessel to remain outside Canadian waters, to proceed out of Canada or to proceed to a place as specified by the Minister when there are reasonable grounds to believe the vessel may pose a security threat. A proposed amendment to the Act would ensure stiffer penalties for individuals and corporations who fail to comply with a Ministerial direction. This proposed amendment also introduces the concept of subsequent offences. In other words, repeat offenders would be subject to higher fines.

Additionally, the proposed amendments authorize the making of regulations that would enhance the Department of Transport’s ability to share information on vessels of interest with federal departments and agencies that have mandates to ensure the safety or security of Canada or Canadians.

Marine security is an important component of overall transportation security. The Government of Canada is committed to working with its partners, to ensure that Canada’s marine transportation system remains one of the safest and most secure in the world.

Proposed Enhanced Penalties and Information Sharing under the Marine Transportation Security Act

Below are tables outlining the proposed amendments to the MTSA as part of the action surrounding the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.

Failure to File Pre-Arrival Information
Under current regime Under proposed amendments
On conviction of indictment:
Individual N/A A fine not exceeding $75,000 and/or a prison term not exceeding one year
On summary conviction:
Individual A fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or a prison term not exceeding six months A fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or a prison term not exceeding six months
Failure to Comply with Ministerial Direction
Under current regime Under proposed amendments
On conviction of indictment:
Individual A fine not exceeding $10,000 and/or to a prison term not exceeding one year A fine not exceeding $200,000 and/or a prison term not exceeding one year, and for any subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $500,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of not more than two years
Corporation A fine not exceeding $200,000 A fine not exceeding $500,000, and for any subsequent offence, a fine of not more than $1,000,000
On summary conviction:
Individual A fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or to imprisonment not exceeding six months A fine up to $100,000 and/or a prison term not exceeding six months, and for any subsequent offence, a fine of up to  $200,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year
Corporation A fine not exceeding $100,000 A fine not exceeding $250,000 and for any subsequent offence, a fine of up to $500,000.
Vessel N/A A fine not exceeding $100,000, and for any subsequent offence to a fine of not more than $200,000
Providing False or Misleading Information
Under current regime Under proposed amendments
On conviction of indictment:
Individual A fine up to $10,000 and/or up to a year in jail A fine up to $200,000 and/or up to one year in jail and a fine up to $500,000 and/or up to two years in jail for any subsequent offences
Corporation A fine up to $200,000 A fine up to $500,000 and a fine up to $1,000,000 for any subsequent offences
On summary conviction:
Individual A fine up to $5,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail A fine up to $100,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $200,000 and/or up to a year in jail for any subsequent offences
Corporation A fine up to $100,000 A fine up to $250,000 and up to $500,000 fine for any subsequent offences

Subscribe to news

Date Modified: