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Shipowner Eligibility 

Ownership of Canadian registered ships is restricted to qualified persons defined as:
Canadian citizen or a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration Act, or a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province;
corporation incorporated under the laws of a country other than Canada if one of the following is acting with respect to all matters relating to the ship, namely,
a subsidiary of the corporation, that is incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province
an employee, or director in Canada of any branch office of the corporation that is carrying on business in Canada, or
a ship management company, incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province; and
qualified person under a financing agreement under which the person will acquire ownership on completion of the agreement

About the Flag

The Canadian nation was created by the 1867 confederation of provinces. Located in northern North America, Canada is a bicameral parliamentary democracy with its capital at Ottawa. English is the official language, and the legal system is based on British common law except in Quebec where a civil law system based on French law prevails. The Queen of Great Britain is the Chief of State represented by a Governor General and the Head of the Government is the Prime Minister. It is a member of the Commonwealth, the OECD, the UN, and the IMO.

An affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada boasts an impressive economy with significant recent growth in manufacturing and mining. Its chief exports are newsprint, wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum and machinery, and its major trading partners are the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

The monetary unit is the Canadian dollar.

Canada's Register of Ships is well established and governed by the Canada Shipping Act.

Company Formation

Companies can be incorporated under federal legislation administered by the Department of Industry, or the legislation of one of the Provinces. Industry Canada is particularly helpful and provides a comprehensive information packet.

There are no restrictions with respect to the nationality of shareholders. However, there are some restrictions with respect to the directors and officers; these can be different depending on the relevant legislation. The federal legislation is the Canada Business Corporations Act and requires that a majority of directors be resident Canadians.

However, if a holding corporation earns in Canada directly or through its subsidiaries less than five percent of the gross revenues of the holding corporation and all of its subsidiary bodies corporate together, then not more than one-third of the directors of the holding corporation need be resident Canadians.

The Canadian Government reviews foreign investments in Canada; the mandate for this has been vested in the Investment Review Division within Industry Canada. Every corporation, whether or not carrying out business, must file an annual return (Form 22) with the Corporations Directorate.

All shares must be without nominal or par value. The Act gives incorporators broad discretion to designate a class of shares as common or preferred or Class A and Class B. There is no requirement to specify a maximum aggregate consideration for the issuance of shares or to limit the number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue.

In order to receive a Certificate of Incorporation, the following documents must be submitted to the Corporations Directorate in duplicate in the original, signed by the incorporator:

Canada-based Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search Report on corporate names that may sound or look similar to the proposed name, not more than 90 days old (except where a number name is requested)
Form 1, Articles of Incorporation
Form 3, Notice of Registered Office
Form 6, Notice of Directors

It is not mandatory to use the forms provided. However, substitutions must follow the same format. Upon acceptance by the Corporations Directorate, a notice will be published in the monthly Canada Corporations Bulletin setting out the corporation's name and date of incorporation.


Revenue in Canada is generated through a number of different types of taxes levied by both the federal and provincial governments including the Personal Income Tax; Corporate Income Tax; Goods and Services Tax; Provincial Sales Tax; Import Duty; and Excise Tax.

Commonwealth companies would not normally be subject to tax in Canada solely by virtue of the fact that they own a ship registered in Canada. However, this would depend on the area of operation of the ship. The Canadian Income Tax Act allows non-residents of Canada to earn international shipping income in Canada without being subject to Canadian income tax if:
the corporation's principal business consists of the operation of ships that are used primarily in transporting passengers or goods in international traffic (determined on the assumption that the corporation is non-resident and that, except where paragraph (c) of the definition "international traffic" in subsection 248(l) applies, any port or other place on the Great Lakes or St. Lawrence River is in Canada);
all or substantially all of the corporation's gross revenues is from the operation of ships in transporting passengers or goods in such international traffic; and
the corporation has not been granted articles of continuance in Canada.
From Canada's perspective, the purpose is to create shipping industry jobs by offering assurance to nonresident shipowners that they may establish themselves in Canada without subjecting their international shipping income to Canadian income tax. It is effective for taxation years commencing on or after March 1, 1991. Because of the general nature of the exemption, binding rulings or technical interpretations as to how the exemption will apply in particular instances should be obtained from Revenue Canada, Taxation.

Double taxation treaties are in force with Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, People's Republic of China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There are treaties with many other nations currently under negotiation.

Registration and Documentation

Under the Canada Shipping Act and Regulations known as the Canada Shipping Act 2001 (CSA 2001), Part 2 REGISTRATION, LISTING AND RECORDING the Chief Registrar is responsible for establishing and maintaining a register to be known as the Canadian Register of Vessels. For more information on the legislation under this part, refer to the CSA 2001 web page.

Ships are registered in Canada in accordance with the provisions set forth in Part I of the Canada Shipping Act. The administrative work involved in ship registration as well as the day-to-day maintenance of the Register is handled by the various Registrars of Ships at the 10 designated Canadian Administrative/Ports of Registry. The addresses and telephone numbers of all Registrars are available from the Lists of Ports of Registry on the Canadian Registry's website.

All forms necessary to effect registration of a vessel in Canada are available from the Registrar of Ships at the intended port of registry, or, electronically at the Ship Registry web page under Vessel Registration Forms. The supporting documents required for registration must be originals or notarized copies and may be submitted at any of the ten Ports of Registry. They are as follows:
Application for Registry (Form 1);
Notice of Name for a Ship (Form 13);
Declaration of Ownership/Transfer of Ownership (Form 3) to prove eligibility to be registered as owner;
Appointment of Authorized Representative (Form 14 - this form applies to commercial ships only, where there is more than one owner);
Evidence of ownership/title:
Canadian-built: In the case of a new ship built for the applicant for registry, the evidence consists of a Builder's Certificate (Form 2). Otherwise, the evidence consists of the Builder's Certificate and any intervening Bills of Sale forming complete sequence of title to the applicant for registry.
Foreign-built: In the case of a newly built ship, the evidence consists of a Builder's Certificate and any intervening Bills of Sale forming complete sequence of ownership from the builder to the applicant for registry. Otherwise, the evidence consists of the original Bill of Sale from the last foreign owner to the applicant for registry, duly authenticated by a Canadian consular officer, and any intervening Bills of Sale forming complete sequence of title from the last foreign owner to the applicant for registry. However, if the Bill of Sale has been executed before, and under Seal of a foreign or Canadian Notary/Lawyer, the customary authentication is not required.
Proof of measurement for tonnage under Canadian rules by a duly appointed Tonnage Measurer or by the self-measurement method: Ships up to and including 12 meters in length overall (LOA) can use the self-measurement method (Form 4A). A list of all Tonnage Measurers is posted on the Ship Registry web page under Tonnage Measurement.

If, at the time of application, the ship is registered as a foreign ship, the following additional foreign documentation would be required:
Deletion Certificate of the foreign registry free of encumbrances, which is issued by the Registrar at the foreign port of registry.
Payment of the appropriate fees on application for registry: The Schedule of Fees can be found on the Ship Registry web page.
A Canadian Certificate of Registry has an expiry date which is valid for the period that the Minister specifies.
A Provisional Certificate of Registry is valid for the purpose and the period specified by the Chief Registrar.

Bareboat Charter Registration

The Canada Shipping Act permits bareboat registration in and out of the Register.
In order for a foreign vessel to be bareboat charter registered into the Canadian Register, the owner must submit the documents listed on the form "Application for Bare Boat Charter Registry" (Form 18).
A ship registered in a foreign country that is bareboat chartered exclusively to a qualified person may be listed as a bareboat chartered ship for the duration of the charter if, for the duration of the charter, the registration is suspended in respect of the right to fly the flag of that country. No mortgages may be registered against the vessel during the period of bareboat charter registration.

A Canadian ship may be bareboat chartered out. On application, the registration of a Canadian ship may be suspended in respect of the right to fly the Canadian flag while the ship is shown on the registry of a foreign country as a bareboat chartered ship. In the case of vessels bareboat chartered out, all mortgages registered in Canada will remain enforceable.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

You must register any vessel in Canada that:
exceeds 15 gross tons'
is owned only by Canadian citizens, residents, or companies incorporated in Canada (called qualified persons); and
is not registered in a foreign country.
In most cases, before a vessel can be registered, you are required to have the vessel measured by a tonnage measurer.
If your vessel has an overall length of 12 meters or less, you may be able to undertake a simple measurement by yourself. Contact your chosen registry office for details.
If the vessel already has a valid International Tonnage Certificate (ITC), you are not required to re-measure the vessel.

You are responsible for hiring an approved tonnage measurer, for paying the measurer's fee and for related expenses, such as travel. The Registry office you have chosen for your vessel can give you a list of certified tonnage measurers. A list of Tonnage Measurers can also be found on Canada's ship Registry web page at under Tonnage Measurement. The measurer will calculate the vessel's tonnage, and provide this information on a Certificate of Survey.

Vessel Registration Query System
This query system is available on the Internet. The query system contains details of approximately 47,000 ships registered in Canada, ranging from pleasure craft to commercial and fishing vessels. Furthermore, it provides information on vessel particulars, owners and builders. The information is live and can be accessed any time from anywhere in the world. A centralized point of contact for queries is provided. The Query System can be found on our Ship Registry web page at: under Vessel Registration Query System.

The query system is user-friendly and allows for efficient information retrieval. Information can be obtained using a ship's Official Number, its name or use the Advanced Search option, which permits searching on a wider variety of attributes.


All officers and crew must be Canadian citizens or persons admitted to Canada for permanent residence, and only Canadian Certificates are recognized. However, these requirements are currently under review and may change.


A mortgage may be on a vessel or on shares

A person, a group of several persons, or a corporation may complete a Mortgage Form for any number of shares in a vessel, as long as they are registered owners. Where there are different owners of different vessel's shares, a separate mortgage would be required for each share being mortgaged.
Mortgage Form

In order for a mortgage on a vessel or share to be registered, you must complete the Mortgage Form (84-0019E) and send it to a Registrar, complete with the required fee. This alone becomes the registered mortgage document. Note that this form does not allow the inclusion of details that go beyond describing the nature of the mortgage transaction. Thus other issues relating to conditions which attach to a mortgage are covered in a separate agreement or deed between the parties concerned. You may refer to such a separate deed in the mortgage, but a registrar will not accept it for registration.
Inspection of registered mortgages

If you are proposing to advance money or to purchase a vessel, you have the right to inspect the Register or to obtain a copy of the transcript by paying a fee. Thus you would be informed fully in advance as to how far the ownership of a vessel would be burdened by mortgages.

Several mortgages for any one vessel may appear on the Register at the same time. Mortgages rank in priority according to the date and time that they are accepted by the Registrar as complete and not according to the dates of the mortgage deeds themselves.

No restrictions on mortgagees
There are no restrictions as to the kinds of persons who may be entered in the Register as mortgagees. Thus a person who is not qualified to own a Canadian registered vessel could be a mortgagee.
While the number of persons who may be registered as joint owners of a share(s) is limited to five, there is no legal limitation to the number of persons who may be registered as joint mortgagees.

Transfer of a mortgage
A mortgagee may transfer the mortgage by completing the transfer section on the Mortgage Form. The mortgage form must be sent to the Registrar at the port of registry along with the required fee. For a transfer by joint mortgagees, all parties must sign the transfer section. A transfer by a corporation must be executed under its corporate seal or by an officer authorized to do so by a company resolution or by power of attorney.

If you can't find the original Mortgage Form, you will have to complete a Statutory Declaration. Talk to the registrar's office about this.

Powers of mortgagees
If you are a registered first mortgagee, then the Canada Shipping Act gives you absolute power, subject to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, and to the extent set out in the mortgage agreement, to sell the vessel or shares which form the security. However, if there is more than one mortgage on the same vessel or share, no second or additional mortgagee can sell without the agreement of every prior mortgagee, except by an order by a court. Under power of sale, a sale of the vessel by a first mortgagee means that there is no longer a mortgage on the vessel.

Discharging a mortgage
Until the Registrar receives the original mortgage deed together with a letter of discharge signed by the mortgagee, the mortgage will remain registered. It is not necessary that the amount for which the receipt is given should be the full amount of the mortgage, only that the receipt contains a statement that it is given in discharge of the mortgage. There is no additional fee for you to discharge a mortgage.
If the mortgagee is a corporation, a discharge must be given either under its corporate seal, under the signature of an officer authorized to do so by a company resolution, or by power of attorney.
If the original mortgage deed has been lost, you must complete a statutory declaration confirming that the obligation was discharged.

Further information can be found on the Registry website.


Fees Respecting Registration
Regulations are current to 2021-04-20 and last amended on 2015-05-01
2 (1) The fee payable for a service set out in column 1 of the table to this section is the fee set out in column 2.
(2) This section does not apply in respect of vessels that are registered in the small vessel register
Column 1
Column 2
Fee ($)
For processing an application for the initial registration of a vessel
If the vessel is not registered within 12 months after the date of the application, for each additional period of 12 months or less until the vessel is registered or the application is cancelled
For processing an application for the registration of a vessel that was registered in Canada, then registered elsewhere than in Canada and is about to be registered in Canada again and issuing a certificate of registry
For processing an application for the listing of a bare-boat charter and issuing a certificate of registry, for each six-month period
With respect to suspending the right of a Canadian vessel to fly the Canadian flag while the vessel is shown on the registry of a foreign country as a bare-boat chartered vessel,
o (a) for suspending the registration
o (b) for reinstating the registration
For issuing a provisional certificate
For replacing a certificate of registry or provisional certificate
For amending the Register or a certificate of registry to reflect an alteration to a vessel and issuing a new certificate of registry
For amending the Register or a certificate of registry to reflect the transfer of the registry of a vessel to a new port of registry and issuing a new certificate of registry
For issuing a certificate of deletion from the registry
For amending the Register to reflect a change of ownership of a Canadian vessel or a share in one and issuing a new certificate of registry
For temporarily recording a vessel that is about to be built or is under construction in Canada
For registering a mortgage and entering its discharge in the Register
For amending the Register to reflect the transfer or transmission of a registered mortgage
For recording a change to the priorities of mortgages or for recording a court injunction or order
For approving a change in the name of a Canadian vessel and issuing a new certificate of registry
For witnessing a declaration before a registrar who is a commissioner of oaths
For historical research respecting the Register that requires searching through various information sources other than the computer database, per request, for each vessel listed under the category
o (a) non-active vessel
o (b) active vessel
For historical research respecting the Register that requires the use of the computer database, for each side of a two-sided printed page
For issuing transcripts or abstracts of entries in the Register
o (a) for each certified copy
o (b) for each uncertified copy
SOR/2005-326, s. 8
SOR/2007-100, s. 2
SOR/2013-235, s. 12
Previous Version
3 (1) The fee payable for registering a vessel, a group of small vessels or a fleet in the small vessel register for a five-year period is $50.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of pleasure craft.
(3) For the purposes of this section, group of small vessels means two or more vessels of 5 gross tonnage or less that are owned by the same person.
SOR/2007-100, s. 2
SOR/2015-99, s. 1
Previous Version
Services Provided out of Hours
4 If a service referred to in this Tariff, including the travelling time related to the service, is provided by a registrar during the hours set out in column 1 of an item of the table to this section, the fee payable, in addition to any other fee payable, is the greater of the fee set out in column 2 and the fee set out in column 3 of the item.
Column 1
Column 2
Fee per Hour or Fraction of an Hour ($)/Minimum Fee
between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Monday to Friday, other than on a holiday
any hour on a Saturday or holiday
any hour on a Sunday
5 [Repeal]
Coming into Force
6 This Tariff comes into force on May 1, 2002.


Marine Safety & Security, Transport Canada - HQ Ottawa, ON
Mr. Ahmed Sewelam
Manager, Port State Inspection and Cargoes, Navigation Safety & Environmental Programs

Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 10th Floor
K1A 0N8
1 613 991 3131
1 613 991 3143
1 613 993 8196

Stockholm Agreement 96
IMO Convention 48
* IMO amendments 91 
* IMO amendments 93
SOLAS Convention 74
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
LOAD LINES Convention 66
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69
COLREG  Convention 72
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
STCW  Convention 78
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR  Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76
INMARSAT amendments 94
INMARSAT amendments 98
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V)
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92
FUND Convention 71
FUND Protocol 92
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III)
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC  Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Canada

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88 x
SOLAS Agreement 96
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88 x
TONNAGE Convention 69 x
COLREG Convention 72 x
CSC Convention 72 x
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95 x
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76 x
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008 x
FACILITATION Convention 65 x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V) x
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI) x
London Convention 72 x
London Convention Protocol 96 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 x
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 x
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003 x
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96
HNS PROT 2010 x

x: Accession/ratification
d: Denunciation

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