Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Search

Oceans Act (S.C. 1996, c. 31)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2022-08-08 and last amended on 2019-07-30. Previous Versions

PART ICanada’s Maritime Zones (continued)

Continental Shelf (continued)

Marginal note:Application of provincial law

  •  (1) Subject to this section and to any other Act of Parliament, the laws of a province apply to the same extent as federal laws apply pursuant to section 20 in any area of the sea

    • (a) that forms part of the exclusive economic zone of Canada or is above the continental shelf of Canada;

    • (b) that is not within any province; and

    • (c) that is prescribed by the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) Subject to any regulations made pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(d), subsection (1) does not apply in respect of any provision of a law of a province that

    • (a) imposes a tax or royalty; or

    • (b) relates to mineral or other non-living natural resources.

  • Marginal note:Interpretation

    (3) For the purposes of this section, the laws of a province shall be applied as if the area of the sea in which those laws apply under this section were within the territory of that province.

  • Marginal note:Sums due to province

    (4) Any sum due under a law of a province that applies in an area of the sea under this section belongs to Her Majesty in right of the province.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (5) For greater certainty, this section shall not be interpreted as providing a basis for any claim, by or on behalf of a province, in respect of any interest in or legislative jurisdiction over any area of the sea in which a law of a province applies under this section or the living or non-living resources of that area, or as limiting the application of any federal laws.

Court Jurisdiction

Marginal note:Jurisdiction extended

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (4) and to any regulations made pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(h), a court that would have jurisdiction in respect of any matter had the matter arisen in a province has jurisdiction in respect of any such matter involving a federal law that applies pursuant to this Act to the extent that the matter arises in whole or in part in any area of the sea that is not within any province and

    • (a) that area of the sea is nearer to the coast of that province than to the coast of any other province; or

    • (b) that province is prescribed by the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Jurisdiction extended — provincial laws

    (2) Subject to any regulations made pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(h), a court that would have jurisdiction in respect of any matter had the matter arisen in a province has jurisdiction in respect of any such matter involving a law of the province that applies pursuant to this Act to the extent that the matter arises in whole or in part in any area of the sea to which the law of that province applies pursuant to this Act.

  • Marginal note:Orders and powers

    (3) A court referred to in subsection (1) or (2) may make any order or exercise any power it considers necessary in respect of any matter referred to in that subsection.

  • Marginal note:Criminal offences

    (4) The jurisdiction and powers of courts with respect to offences under any federal law are determined pursuant to sections 477.3, 481.1 and 481.2 of the Criminal Code.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (5) Nothing in this section limits the jurisdiction that a court may exercise apart from this Act.

  • Marginal note:Definition of court

    (6) In this section, court includes a judge of a court and a justice of the peace.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Marginal note:Certificate — Minister of Foreign Affairs

  •  (1) In any legal or other proceedings, a certificate issued by or under the authority of the Minister of Foreign Affairs containing a statement that any geographic location specified in the certificate was, at any time material to the proceedings,

    • (a) in the internal waters of Canada,

    • (b) in the territorial sea of Canada,

    • (c) in the contiguous zone of Canada,

    • (d) in the exclusive economic zone of Canada, or

    • (e) in or above the continental shelf of Canada

    is conclusive proof of the truth of the statement without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have issued the certificate.

  • Marginal note:Certificate — Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

    (2) In any legal or other proceedings, a certificate issued by or under the authority of the Minister containing a statement that any geographic location specified in the certificate was, at any time material to the proceedings, within an area of the sea in which a law of the province named in the certificate applies under section 9 or 21 is conclusive proof of the truth of the statement without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have issued the certificate.

  • Marginal note:Certificate cannot be compelled

    (3) A certificate referred to in subsection (1) or (2) is admissible in evidence in proceedings referred to in that subsection, but its production cannot be compelled.

Marginal note:Saving

 Nothing in this Part limits the operation that any Act, rule of law or instrument has apart from this Part.

Regulations

Marginal note:Recommendation — Minister of Foreign Affairs

 The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, make regulations

  • (a) prescribing geographical coordinates of points from which

    • (i) baselines may be determined under subsection 5(2) as straight lines interpreted as geodesics,

    • (ii) in respect of a portion of the territorial sea of Canada prescribed in the regulations, an outer limit line may be determined, where, in the opinion of the Governor in Council, a portion of the territorial sea of Canada determined in accordance with paragraph 4(a) would conflict with the territorial sea of another state or other area of the sea in which another state has sovereign rights or would be unreasonably close to the coast of another state,

    • (iii) in respect of a portion of the exclusive economic zone of Canada or the continental shelf of Canada prescribed in the regulations, an outer limit line may be determined, where, in the opinion of the Governor in Council, a portion of the exclusive economic zone of Canada or the continental shelf of Canada determined in accordance with paragraph 13(1)(a) or 17(1)(a) or (b) would conflict with the territorial sea of another state or other area of the sea in which another state has sovereign rights or would be unreasonably close to the coast of another state or is otherwise inappropriate, and

    • (iv) the outer limit of the exclusive economic zone of Canada or the outer edge of the continental margin or other outer limit of the continental shelf of Canada may be determined; and

  • (b) prescribing areas of the sea adjacent to the coast of Canada as fishing zones of Canada.

Marginal note:Recommendation — Minister of Justice

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, make regulations

    • (a) prescribing a work or a class of works for the purpose of the definition marine installation or structure in section 2;

    • (b) making any law of a province applicable in respect of any part of the area of the sea in which laws of the province apply under section 9 or 21, even though the law, by its own terms, is applicable only in respect of a particular area within the province;

    • (c) restricting the application of subsection 9(1) or 21(1) to such laws of a province as are specified in the regulations;

    • (d) making subsection 9(1) or 21(1) applicable, on the terms and conditions, if any, specified in the regulations, in respect of any laws of a province that impose a tax or royalty or relate to mineral or other non-living natural resources;

    • (e) excluding any law of a province from the application of subsection 9(1) or 21(1);

    • (f) determining or prescribing the method of determining the safety zone referred to in paragraph 20(1)(c);

    • (g) prescribing an area of the sea and a province for the purposes of subsection 9(1), 21(1) or 22(1);

    • (h) restricting the application of subsection 22(1), (2) or (3) to courts of a district or territorial division of a province;

    • (i) prescribing, in respect of any area of the sea and for the purpose of subsection 22(1), the manner of determining the province that has the coast nearest to that area;

    • (j) excluding any federal laws or laws of a province or any of their provisions from the application of subsection 20(1) or 21(1), as the case may be, in respect of any area in or above the continental shelf of Canada or in respect of any specified activity in any such area; and

    • (k) making federal laws or laws of a province or any of their provisions applicable, in such circumstances as are specified in the regulations,

      • (i) in the exclusive economic zone of Canada or in a portion of that zone,

      • (ii) in or above the continental shelf of Canada or a portion of that shelf, or

      • (iii) in any area beyond the continental shelf of Canada, where that application is made pursuant to an international agreement or arrangement entered into by Canada.

  • Marginal note:Restriction

    (2) A regulation made pursuant to subsection (1) in relation to a law of a province may be restricted to a specific area or place or to a specific provision of the law.

  • Marginal note:Interpretation

    (3) For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(j) and (k), federal laws and the laws of a province shall be applied

    • (a) as if the places referred to in any regulations made pursuant to either of those paragraphs formed part of the territory of Canada;

    • (b) notwithstanding that by their terms their application is limited to Canada or a province; and

    • (c) in a manner that is consistent with the rights and freedoms of other states under international law and, in particular, with the rights and freedoms of other states in relation to navigation and overflight.

Marginal note:Publication of proposed regulations

  •  (1) A copy of each regulation that the Governor in Council proposes to make pursuant to paragraph 25(b) or section 26 shall be published in the Canada Gazette at least 60 days before its proposed effective date, and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons and provinces to make representations with respect to the proposed regulation.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) No proposed regulation that has been published pursuant to this section need again be published under this section, whether or not it has been altered.

PART IIOceans Management Strategy

Application

Marginal note:Part does not apply to inland waters

 For greater certainty, this Part does not apply in respect of rivers and lakes.

National Strategy

Marginal note:Development and implementation of strategy

 The Minister, in collaboration with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements, shall lead and facilitate the development and implementation of a national strategy for the management of estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems in waters that form part of Canada or in which Canada has sovereign rights under international law.

Marginal note:Principles of strategy

 The national strategy will be based on the principles of

  • (a) sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;

  • (b) the integrated management of activities in estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters that form part of Canada or in which Canada has sovereign rights under international law; and

  • (c) the precautionary approach, that is, erring on the side of caution.

Marginal note:Integrated management plans

 The Minister, in collaboration with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements, shall lead and facilitate the development and implementation of plans for the integrated management of all activities or measures in or affecting estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters that form part of Canada or in which Canada has sovereign rights under international law.

Marginal note:Implementation of integrated management plans

 For the purpose of the implementation of integrated management plans, the Minister

  • (a) shall develop and implement policies and programs with respect to matters assigned by law to the Minister;

  • (b) shall coordinate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada the implementation of policies and programs of the Government with respect to all activities or measures in or affecting coastal waters and marine waters;

  • (c) may, on his or her own or jointly with another person or body or with another minister, board or agency of the Government of Canada, and taking into consideration the views of other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments and affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements,

    • (i) establish advisory or management bodies and appoint or designate, as appropriate, members of those bodies, and

    • (ii) recognize established advisory or management bodies; and

  • (d) may, in consultation with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements, establish marine environmental quality guidelines, objectives and criteria respecting estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters.

Marginal note:Cooperation and agreements

  •  (1) In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister by this Act, the Minister

    • (a) shall cooperate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements;

    • (b) may enter into agreements with any person or body or with another minister, board or agency of the Government of Canada;

    • (c) shall gather, compile, analyse, coordinate and disseminate information;

    • (d) may make grants and contributions on terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board; and

    • (e) may make recoverable expenditures on behalf of and at the request of any other minister, board or agency of the Government of Canada or of a province or any person or body.

  • Marginal note:Consultation

    (2) In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions mentioned in this Part, the Minister may consult with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements.

Marginal note:Logistics support, etc.

 The Minister may coordinate logistics support and provide related assistance for the purposes of advancing scientific knowledge of estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems.

Designation of Marine Protected Areas

Marginal note:Marine protected areas

  •  (1) A marine protected area is an area of the sea that forms part of the internal waters of Canada, the territorial sea of Canada or the exclusive economic zone of Canada and has been designated under this section or section 35.1 for special protection for one or more of the following reasons:

    • (a) the conservation and protection of commercial and non-commercial fishery resources, including marine mammals, and their habitats;

    • (b) the conservation and protection of endangered or threatened marine species, and their habitats;

    • (c) the conservation and protection of unique habitats;

    • (d) the conservation and protection of marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity;

    • (e) the conservation and protection of any other marine resource or habitat as is necessary to fulfil the mandate of the Minister; and

    • (f) the conservation and protection of marine areas for the purpose of maintaining ecological integrity.

  • Marginal note:Definition of ecological integrity

    (1.1) For the purpose of paragraph (1)(f), ecological integrity means a condition in which

    • (a) the structure, composition and function of ecosystems are undisturbed by any human activity;

    • (b) natural ecological processes are intact and self-sustaining;

    • (c) ecosystems evolve naturally; and

    • (d) an ecosystem’s capacity for self-renewal and its biodiversity are maintained.

  • Marginal note:Network of marine protected areas

    (2) For the purposes of integrated management plans referred to in sections 31 and 32, the Minister shall lead and coordinate the development and implementation of a national network of marine protected areas on behalf of the Government of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Performance of duties and functions

    (2.1) In performing his or her duties and functions under subsection (2), the Minister shall ensure that:

    • (a) clearly identified objectives are set with regard to each marine protected area; and

    • (b) the network of marine protected areas covers diverse habitat types, biogeographic regions and environmental conditions.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (3) The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, may make regulations

    • (a) designating marine protected areas;

    • (b) delineating zones within marine protected areas;

    • (c) prohibiting classes of activities within marine protected areas; and

    • (d) respecting any other matter consistent with the purpose of the designation.

 
Date modified: