Frequently asked questions – Disposal at Sea Regulations

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with basic information about Environment Canada’s regulations. The Disposal at Sea Regulations are among Environment Canada’s most frequently accessed regulations on the Web.

Disposal at Sea Regulations

  1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
  2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
  3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
  4. What is the timeline for implementation?
  5. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The objective of the Disposal at Sea Regulations (the Regulations) is to prevent marine pollution from the uncontrolled disposal of waste or other matter at sea. The Regulations also implement Canada’s international commitments on disposal at sea as set out in the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) prohibits the disposal of waste and other matter at sea but allows certain types of waste to be disposed of with a permit. The Disposal at Sea Regulations specify the area where the rules in CEPA 1999 apply, the requirements for obtaining a permit, as well as a list of reporting requirements regarding emergency disposals.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The Regulations apply to anyone proposing to dispose of waste or other matter at sea. This may include dredging companies, excavation companies, fish processing plants, port authorities, small craft harbours and others.

Discharges from land or from normal ship operations (such as bilge water) are not considered disposal at sea but are subject to other controls.

The Disposal at Sea Regulations prescribe the fee for submitting a permit application ($2,500) for the disposal of certain types of waste material. The Disposal at Sea Permit Fee Regulations establish the permit fee for the disposal of dredged or excavated material.

The Disposal at Sea Regulations also prescribe the contents of a report that is required if a disposal at sea has occurred for emergency purposes. Note that permit applicants and permit holders are also subject to other reporting requirements under CEPA 1999.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The Disposal at Sea Regulations, made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, came into force on August 1, 2001, replacing the Ocean Dumping Regulations 1998.

Amendments to the Disposal at Sea Regulations came into force on September 24, 2014. Under those amendments, permit renewals are allowed for routine, low-risk permits. The amendments also establish service standards for the issuance of permits.

5. Where can I get more information?

More information can be found on the Disposal at Sea section of Environment Canada’s website, or by contacting:

Marine Environmental Protection Programs Section
Environment Canada
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Tel.: 819-420-7613
Fax: 819-420-7624
Email: sea-mer@ec.gc.ca

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the Disposal at Sea Regulations. It does not replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the Disposal at Sea Regulations. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Disposal at Sea Regulations shall prevail.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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