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Canada Marine Act

The Canada Marine Act (French: Loi maritime du Canada), passed in 1998 under the stewardship of David Collenette, Minister of Transport, was an act intended to modernize Canada's most important ports, and make "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."[1][2]

The Act designated 19 ports as economically significant.[3] Each of those ports was to have a port authority created for it. The act had provision to allow additional ports to have port authorities created to oversee their operation.[2] An exception was made for the port facilities at Churchill, Manitoba, North America's only port on the Arctic Ocean connected to the North American Railroad Grid.[2] The act downloaded the mandate to oversee the operation of 150 smaller ports to the provinces or municipalities in which they were contained.[2] Thirty-four remote ports remain under direct supervision by the Department of Transport.[2]

CMA Port Authorities[2]
Port Authority Municipality Province # Directors[4]
Belledune Port Authority Belledune, New Brunswick New Brunswick 7
Fraser River Port Authority[5] New Westminster, BC British Columbia -
Halifax Port Authority Halifax Nova Scotia 7
Hamilton Port Authority[3] Hamilton Ontario 7
Montreal Port Authority Montreal Quebec 7
Nanaimo Port Authority Nanaimo British Columbia 7
North Fraser Port Authority[5] Fraser River British Columbia -
Oshawa Port Authority[6] Oshawa Ontario 7[6]
Port Alberni Port Authority Port Alberni British Columbia 7
Prince Rupert Port Authority Prince Rupert British Columbia 7
Quebec City Port Authority Quebec City Quebec 7
Saguenay Port Authority Saguenay Quebec 7
Saint John Port Authority[7] Saint John New Brunswick 7
St. John's Port Authority St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador 7
Sept Iles Port Authority Sept-Îles Quebec 7
Thunder Bay Port Authority Thunder Bay Ontario 7
Toronto Port Authority Toronto Ontario 9
Trois-Rivières Port Authority Trois-Rivières Quebec 7
Vancouver Port Authority[5] Vancouver British Columbia -
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Vancouver British Columbia 11
Windsor Port Authority Windsor Ontario 7

The Port of Sydney, NS is not part of this system.

Oddly, the Welland Canal, which is part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, seems to be regulated under the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act (R.S., 1985, c. F-24) which falls to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Port Dalhousie is subject to the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Regulations,[8] while Port Colborne seems to fall under the Ontario Fishery Regulations.

Responsibility for the construction and operation of canals had been given to the Department of Public Works at the time of Confederation, with the canals of the United Province of Canada having been previously operated by that colony's Department of Public Works. Things were simpler then. Since 1995, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada has taken care of these affairs. A vestigial reminder of the past is that the Ottawa River, which once was an important part of the economy with for example the Ottawa River timber trade, and "all canals or other cuttings for facilitating such navigation, and all dams, slides, piers, booms, embankments and other works of what kind or nature soever in the channel or waters" is wholly governed under this Ministry's An Act respecting certain works on the Ottawa River. Most of the other heritage waterways of Ontario and a few in Quebec are governed by Parks Canada under the guidance of the Minister of the Environment.

The Act is, from time to time, supplemented by Regulations and Letters Patent published in the Canada Gazette. Transport Canada maintains a helpful list of its "recent publications",[9] which documents, among other things, the land transactions of the various Port Authorities. The equivalent phrase to the English "Port Authority" is the French Administration Portuaire, so that one would google for "Administration Portuaire de Saguenay" or other Quebec emplacements. A list of board member appointments to Port Authorities can be found at the respective individual Governor in Council Appointments webpages of each organisation.[4] The Minister of Transport alone appoints the Chair of the Board, while in consultation with the Minister, the remaining Board members are selected by "users" of the Port. A "user" is determined as specified under the legislation, and cannot include City Councillors, civil servants or directors of Port customers. Each Authority by now should have its own domain name website, at which can most likely be found copies of the Letters Patent and other legal documents.


Recent Transactions and NewsEdit


  • On 18 February 2012, Letters Patent were issued to promote the Oshawa Harbour Commission to a Port Authority.[6]

Prince RupertEdit


Thunder BayEdit



  • On 16 March 2013, the Canada Gazette published Letters Patent that signified the termination of a leasehold arrangement at Goyeau Street for the Headquarters of the Windsor Port Authority, and the acquisition of a replacement at Sandwich Street.[16]


  1. ^ "Canada Marine Act (1998, c. 10)". Transport Canada. 2013-12-10. Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 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.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Canada Marine Act -- Creating Canada Port Authorities" (PDF). Westac. March 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-03-29. Retrieved August 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Organization Profile - Hamilton Port Authority". Government of Canada. 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  4. ^ a b Governor in Council Appointments: list of "Federal Organisations by Portfolio", see "Transport"
  5. ^ a b c now defunct; see "Vancouver Fraser"
  6. ^ a b c Canada Gazette archive — Vol. 146, No. 7 — 18 Feb 2012: "CANADA MARINE ACT: Letters Patent issued to the Oshawa Port Authority"
  7. ^ "Canada Marine Act & Letters Patent". Saint John Port Authority. Archived from the original on 2013-04-17. Retrieved August 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "Fishing and Recreational Harbours Regulations" SOR/78-767
  9. ^ Transport Canada: "Recently in the Canada Gazette"
  10. ^ a b Canada Gazette archives 9 February 2013, see "DEPARTMENT of TRANSPORT"
  11. ^ " "Projet de desserte ferroviaire au terminal maritime de Grande-Anse à Saguenay - Le rapport du BAPE est maintenant public" 16 Nov 2012". Archived from the original on 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
  12. ^ Saguenay Port Authority: "What's New" page
  13. ^ Canada Gazette archives 25 May 2013, see "DEPARTMENT of TRANSPORT"
  14. ^ Canada Gazette archives 2 Nov 2013, see "DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT"
  15. ^ "Port Metro Vancouver". Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2014-01-03. In June 2006, the Federal Minister of Transport invited the Fraser River Port Authority, the North Fraser Port Authority and the Vancouver Port Authority to examine port amalgamation. The three port authorities subsequently commissioned a report on the potential benefits of an integrated port authority for the Lower Mainland. The report recommended that the three port authorities integrate to form the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
  16. ^ Canada Gazette archives 16 Mar 2013, see "DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT"

See alsoEdit