Transport Canada Marine

Transport Canada promotes efficient marine transportation and safe, secure and sustainable marine practices; oversees marine infrastructure; regulates the safe transportation of dangerous goods by water; and helps protect the marine environment.

Marine Safety

Transport Canada’s marine safety programs provide Canadians with a safe and efficient marine transportation system worthy of public confidence.


Canada Shipping Act


Safety Management Systems

In 1998, Transport Canada Marine Safety added Safety Management Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, that introduced the requirements of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code to Canadian companies and vessels subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). These regulations include the requirement for vessels to establish their own Safety Management System (SMS) that provides companies with a proactive approach to managing safety. SMS is a structured, consistent and risk-driven method to identify and close critical safety gaps, adopt safety best practices and clearly demonstrate commitment to, as well as accountability and due diligence for, safety.

Transport Canada is currently in the process of developing Safety Management Regulations that would apply to Canadian non-Convention vessels. The proposed regulations are based on the International Safety Management (ISM) Code but incorporate existing acts, regulations, and standards that are consistent with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Until this work is completed, vessel owners and operators are encouraged to voluntarily develop an SMS in compliance with the ISM Code. An SMS will provide:

  • Safety objectives, targets, programs, initiatives and plans, including drills and training;
  • Clear roles and responsibilities for crew members and any personnel ashore;
  • A system for identifying and reporting hazards, assessing risks and putting controls in place; and
  • Tools to improve the day-to-day operation of the vessel.

SMS will provide an operator with the flexibility to develop and tailor its safety system to its operations while complying with regulatory requirements.

An operator’s SMS can be audited and certified by organizations that are authorized by the Minister of Transport. This assures the continuous review and improvement of the system. You may have your SMS audited and certified by contacting a Recognized Organization.