Disposal at sea permit application guide

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When any substance is loaded onto a ship, aircraft, platform or other structure and released into the sea or estuarine environment, it is likely to be considered disposal at sea. Disposal at sea is prohibited without a permit issued by the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) Disposal at Sea Program under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).

How substances are permitted for disposal at sea

Only substances listed in Schedule 5 of CEPA are eligible for consideration. Proposed disposal projects are evaluated by regional Disposal at Sea Program staff in accordance with the assessment requirements of Schedule 6 of CEPA.

Applying for a disposal at sea permit has 4 phases (detailed guidance on the permit process requirements is available in the waste type specific permit application guides below):

1. Pre-application

You consult with regional Program staff to ensure all pre-application required information is provided and the assessment is completed prior to submitting the application.

2. Submission of application

The prescribed application form (set out by the Disposal at Sea Permit Application Regulations) and supporting documentation must be completed to meet the requirements outlined in CEPA.

For your convenience, the Program has prepared downloadable versions of the permit application form that are specific to the various waste types. You may use these application forms when applying for a permit, which can be accessed below.

Once you have accessed a form, you can fill in the fields, electronically in the case of the PDF, but you must print the form for submission by mail to the nearest Disposal at Sea Program regional office. You may not be able to save any completed forms. If you prefer receiving a Microsoft Word version of an application form, please contact us at ec.immersionenmer-disposalatsea.ec@canada.ca.

  • For the PDF version, you must have a PDF reader on your computer. If you do not, our Help page can be accessed.

Guidance documents to assist you in completing the permit application forms are also available following the application form below. 

Permit application forms and their completion guides

Dredged material

  • Application form (HTML; PDF 266 KB)
  • Application form completion guide (HTML; PDF 545 KB)

Excavated material (inert, inorganic geological matter)

  • Application form (HTML; PDF 254 KB)
  • Application form completion guide (HTML; PDF 536 KB)

Fish Waste (and other organic matter resulting from industrial fish processing operations)

  • Application form (HTML; PDF 257 KB)
  • Application form completion guide (HTML; PDF 521 KB)

3. Permit application assessment

Regional Program staff and other relevant agencies assess the information provided in the application. The application may also be forwarded to other stakeholders as appropriate. The permit assessment involves a numbers of steps.

There is a 90-day regulated service standard for Program staff to reach a permit decision once you have been notified by ECCC in writing that your application is complete. In some situations the time limit will not apply. For example, if additional analysis or consultations are required to meet certain statutory obligations.

The department must publish a copy of the permit and its conditions to the CEPA Environmental Registry. The start date for loading and disposal at sea is always set to account for the registry publication period (up to 14 days following the 90 day review process).

4. Operations

You may begin project operations on the permit’s start date, and in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the permit.


If necessary, permit conditions can be varied during the specified term of the permit. Any changes made to a disposal at sea permit by ECCC must be published on the CEPA Environmental Registry.

After a permit has been issued, periodic inspections will be conducted at both the load site and disposal site to ensure compliance with the permit conditions. The Disposal at Sea Program also conducts representative disposal site environmental monitoring each year.

For information on disposal of uncontaminated organic matter of natural origin; ships, aircraft, platforms or other structures; or bulky substances, please contact the nearest Disposal at Sea Program regional office.

Permit application guides by waste types

Detailed information about applying for a permit and the assessment process can be found in the following waste type specific guides:

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