Modernizing the Marine Transportation Security Regulations

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The Marine Transportation Security Regulations is one of the tools we use to keep Canada’s marine transportation system secure.

The regulations apply to any vessel in Canada, and to any Canadian vessels outside of Canada that are travelling between a port in one country and a port in another country. The vessels must also:

  • carry more than 12 passengers, or
  • be more than 100 tons gross tonnage, but not a towing vessel, or
  • towing vessel towing a barge astern or alongside or pushing ahead, if the barge is carrying certain dangerous cargoes.

The regulations also apply to any marine facility that interfaces with these vessels.


The changes Transport Canada is proposing

The regulations were last updated in 2014. Since then, other things have changed in a way that directly impacts the regulations and the Marine Security Operations Program:

  • Canada has signed a preclearance agreement with the United States. This agreement allows US Customs and Border Patrol to clear passengers ahead of a Canada-US border crossing (i.e. while passengers are on Canadian soil).
  • The Minister of Transport launched a ports modernization review in 2018 to review Canadian Port Authorities, identify challenges, and find ways to improve port security.
  • We’ve identified some regulatory gaps.

In the spirit of the Transportation 2030 Strategic Plan, we are looking at how we can modernize our regulations to ensure that the marine transportation security framework continues to be appropriate, effective, and can respond to modern threats and risks to the marine transportation system.

We want to change the Marine Transportation Security Regulations to:

  • ensure security at marine preclearance areas when they are established
  • extend vetting for port employees, including those who have remote access to critical systems in Restricted Areas Two, or who are involved with the movement of marine cargo, who currently are not required to obtain a Transportation Security Clearance.
  • update enforcement provisions to promote compliance with the regulations
  • update operating requirements for occasional-use marine facilities

We also want to deal with gaps that have accumulated over time:

  • updating the transportation security clearance application process, including using email to communicate with applicants
  • improving access control to vessels by requiring identity verification and confirming the legitimate reason why someone needs to be onboard a vessel
  • making the regulations more usable by clarifying:
  • inspection requirements, including for vessel and facility intermediate inspections
  • requirements for restricted areas, and
  • including clarifying what certain terms mean, like “undue delay”
  • creating greater alignment between the modernized Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
  • bringing Canada’s regulations more in line with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) by:
  • making sure that surveillance equipment is always monitored when at MARSEC 2
  • requiring marine facilities, ports, or occasional-use marine facilities to create a procedure to respond to ship security alert system
  • requiring ports to create a procedure to respond to security threats or breaches
  • requiring ports to develop security plans that include communication links with all stakeholders, so the port can always operate
  • increasing maritime domain awareness by asking for more information in the pre-arrival report, including all planned and expected stops in Canadian waters
  • clarifying the role of Port Security Committees
  • requiring vessel and facility operators to appoint an alternate Security Officer
  • requiring that security equipment be installed and maintained according to manufacturers’ recommendations
  • incorporating existing Tall Ship Security Measures into the regulations
  • making other minor changes like correcting translation errors and removing provisions that have expired or are no longer valid


We want to hear from you

  1. Complete the Marine Transportation Security Survey
  2. Choose “Register” at the top of the page, and join the discussion under the “Have Your Say” tab
  3. You can also submit your comments in a Word or PDF document through the “Submissions” tab. You can upload more than one document

We appreciate any information or comments you submit. Your feedback will help us write the proposal’s drafting instructions and develop the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS).

Once the comment period closes, we will publish a “What we heard report” online.

The Marine Transportation Security Regulations is one of the tools we use to keep Canada’s marine transportation system secure.

The regulations apply to any vessel in Canada, and to any Canadian vessels outside of Canada that are travelling between a port in one country and a port in another country. The vessels must also:

  • carry more than 12 passengers, or
  • be more than 100 tons gross tonnage, but not a towing vessel, or
  • towing vessel towing a barge astern or alongside or pushing ahead, if the barge is carrying certain dangerous cargoes.

The regulations also apply to any marine facility that interfaces with these vessels.


The changes Transport Canada is proposing

The regulations were last updated in 2014. Since then, other things have changed in a way that directly impacts the regulations and the Marine Security Operations Program:

  • Canada has signed a preclearance agreement with the United States. This agreement allows US Customs and Border Patrol to clear passengers ahead of a Canada-US border crossing (i.e. while passengers are on Canadian soil).
  • The Minister of Transport launched a ports modernization review in 2018 to review Canadian Port Authorities, identify challenges, and find ways to improve port security.
  • We’ve identified some regulatory gaps.

In the spirit of the Transportation 2030 Strategic Plan, we are looking at how we can modernize our regulations to ensure that the marine transportation security framework continues to be appropriate, effective, and can respond to modern threats and risks to the marine transportation system.

We want to change the Marine Transportation Security Regulations to:

  • ensure security at marine preclearance areas when they are established
  • extend vetting for port employees, including those who have remote access to critical systems in Restricted Areas Two, or who are involved with the movement of marine cargo, who currently are not required to obtain a Transportation Security Clearance.
  • update enforcement provisions to promote compliance with the regulations
  • update operating requirements for occasional-use marine facilities

We also want to deal with gaps that have accumulated over time:

  • updating the transportation security clearance application process, including using email to communicate with applicants
  • improving access control to vessels by requiring identity verification and confirming the legitimate reason why someone needs to be onboard a vessel
  • making the regulations more usable by clarifying:
  • inspection requirements, including for vessel and facility intermediate inspections
  • requirements for restricted areas, and
  • including clarifying what certain terms mean, like “undue delay”
  • creating greater alignment between the modernized Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
  • bringing Canada’s regulations more in line with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) by:
  • making sure that surveillance equipment is always monitored when at MARSEC 2
  • requiring marine facilities, ports, or occasional-use marine facilities to create a procedure to respond to ship security alert system
  • requiring ports to create a procedure to respond to security threats or breaches
  • requiring ports to develop security plans that include communication links with all stakeholders, so the port can always operate
  • increasing maritime domain awareness by asking for more information in the pre-arrival report, including all planned and expected stops in Canadian waters
  • clarifying the role of Port Security Committees
  • requiring vessel and facility operators to appoint an alternate Security Officer
  • requiring that security equipment be installed and maintained according to manufacturers’ recommendations
  • incorporating existing Tall Ship Security Measures into the regulations
  • making other minor changes like correcting translation errors and removing provisions that have expired or are no longer valid


We want to hear from you

  1. Complete the Marine Transportation Security Survey
  2. Choose “Register” at the top of the page, and join the discussion under the “Have Your Say” tab
  3. You can also submit your comments in a Word or PDF document through the “Submissions” tab. You can upload more than one document

We appreciate any information or comments you submit. Your feedback will help us write the proposal’s drafting instructions and develop the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS).

Once the comment period closes, we will publish a “What we heard report” online.

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