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Canada's NWP Laws and Regulations

(from AMSA Report 2009)


Canada and the Russian Federation regulate shipping in the Arctic under UNCLOS Article 234, as well as under other authorities. Canada has established special ship construction, equipment and crewing requirements and near zero oil pollution discharge standards through the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (AWPPA) and its regulations. The legislation applies to a 100 nautical mile pollution prevention area, but recent amendments will extend this to the 200 nautical mile EEZ. Pollution standards for discharges are stricter in Canadian Arctic waters than MARPOL, with only untreated sewage or emergency discharges permitted.

The Canada Shipping Act, 2001 authorizes regulations to be passed establishing vessel traffic services (VTS) zones in an Arctic shipping safety control zone whereby vessel reporting and clearance would be mandatory. To date, only a voluntary non-regulatory VTS zone known as NORDREG has been adopted for the Canadian Arctic. Currently, Canada effectively has a routing requirement in that the Shipping Safety Control Zones (adopted under the AWPPA) stipulate when and where ships of certain ice strength can operate.

Recently, the Canadian federal government announced plans to extend the application of the AWPPA to 200 nautical miles and to move NORDREG to a mandatory reporting system for ships entering Canadian Arctic waters.


  •  1. Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report 2009

Arctic Council, 2009, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), Arctic Council.©

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