Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act Now Law

March 1, 2019 – Wrecked, abandoned, and hazardous vessels, including small boats, pose environmental, economic, and safety hazards, and are a concern for coastal and inland water communities across Canada. The Government of Canada, through its Oceans Protection Plan, is taking action to deter this irresponsible practice.

The Act prohibits vessel abandonment and brings into Canadian law the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. It increases owner responsibility and liability for vessels, addresses irresponsible vessel management, and enables the Government of Canada to remove problem vessels. Not complying with the Act now can result in penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for companies or corporations, while regulatory offence prosecution could result in a maximum fine of $1M for individuals and $6M for companies or corporations.

As part of the National Strategy to Address Canada’s Wrecked and Abandoned Vessels, the Government of Canada launched two short-term funding programs in 2017 to support coastal communities and other eligible recipients in removing and disposing of high-priority, smaller vessels: Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program. Transport Canada’s program also supports education and awareness activities and research on vessel recycling and design. Other measures being undertaken as part of the National Strategy include improving vessel owner identification, creating an inventory of problem vessels and assessing their risks, and establishing a polluter pays approach for vessel clean-up.

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