Minister Garneau proposes new regulations on ballast water to better protect against aquatic invasive species

News release

June 7, 2019                             Ottawa                          Transport Canada                  

Ballast water, which is important for the safety and stability of vessels, can also introduce and spread aquatic invasive species like the zebra mussel in Canada. Generally irreversible, these invasions can harm plants and animals, contribute to algal blooms, degrade beaches, impair fisheries and disrupt infrastructure. To further protect Canadian waters from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, the Government is proposing new Ballast Water Regulations.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced that the Ballast Water Regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 8, 2019. Developed following extensive dialogue with industry, scientists, engineers and international partners, the proposed regulations would strengthen existing rules and further reduce the risks to Canada’s environment and economy associated with the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species through ballast water. The proposed regulations would replace Canada’s existing Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations.

The proposed regulations would address Canada’s obligations under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments and would include requirements for vessels to:

  • implement a Ballast Water Management Plan approved by the Minister;
  • be surveyed and carry an International Ballast Water Management Certificate;
  • meet a performance standard that limits the discharge of organisms capable of reproducing—typically using a Ballast Water Management System;
  • record ballast water operations and maintain a Ballast Water record book on board; and
  • be subject to periodic inspections in ports or offshore terminals to ensure compliance.

The proposed regulations would apply to Canadian vessels everywhere and vessels in waters under Canadian jurisdiction. This includes, for the first time, extending ballast water standards to Great Lakes vessels, for example ships operating in this region between Canada and the United States and other Canadian domestic ships.

The publication in Canada Gazette, Part I, will mark the beginning of a 90-day consultation period and interested parties will have until September 5, 2019, to submit comments. 


“Stronger ballast water regulations are needed to protect our environment and economy. Scientific evidence indicates that the proposed Regulations would prevent at least 60 invasions over the next 25 years, many of which would cause severe economic or environmental damage.  These new standards for the Great Lakes reflect the importance of shipping to the region and its $6 trillion trading relationship it shares with the United States”.

The Honourable Marc Garneau                                       
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • In 2010, Canada acceded to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the Convention), which entered into force in 2017.

  • Science advice from Fisheries and Oceans Canada indicates that the proposed regulations would prevent at least 60 invasions over the next 25 years, nine of which would be expected to cause severe economic or environmental damage.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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