Minister of Transport announces modernized vessel construction and equipment regulations

News release

January 3, 2024          Ottawa, Ontario              Transport Canada

The safety and security of Canada’s marine transportation system is a top priority for Transport Canada. A critical part of that system is a modern and streamlined regulatory regime that is consistent with international standards.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, announced that the new Vessel Construction and Equipment Regulations, which apply to the construction and equipment of new vessels 24 metres or more in length (excluding fishing vessels and pleasure craft), have come into force. The regulations update and consolidate requirements that previously existed in various regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and the Canada Labour Code, into one set of regulations and add penalties for non-compliance.

The regulations are wide-ranging, setting updated requirements with respect to structural strength, stability, machinery, electrical systems, lifesaving equipment, and crew accommodations, as well as fire protection on vessels without mechanical means of propulsion. They also notably include a requirement for passenger vessels to carry enough infant-sized and child-sized lifejackets to guarantee that each person on board has access to an appropriately sized lifejacket, addressing safety considerations raised by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Lifejackets on board passenger vessels that operate on overnight voyages will also need to be equipped with locator lights.

Additionally, these new streamlined and modernized regulations will reduce logistical and administrative burdens for the shipping industry. They also bring Canada’s regulations in line with the International Maritime Organization standard.

Ultimately, these changes will make Canadians safer when they travel or work at sea, help Canada meet its international obligations, and ensure Canadian vessel construction and equipment requirements are consistent with modern standards and industry best practices.


“We’re making it safer for all Canadians travelling and working at sea. These important regulations coming into force go a long way to improve marine safety for passengers, vessel owners and operators.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

Associated links


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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