Commercial Shipping

Canadian and U.S. Regulations

Vessels transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway are subject to a number of Canadian and U.S. regulations. The following links provide an overview of some of these regulations.

Information contained in the links noted below is provided by external sources. St.Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation are not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.



Canadian Regulations

U.S. Regulations



Canadian Regulations

Canada Border Services Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) manages Canada’s borders by administering and enforcing about 90 domestic laws that govern trade and travel, as well as international agreements and conventions.

Vessels in International Service


Canada Marine Act

Includes regulations on:


Canadian Coast Guard

The Canadian Coast Guard plays a vital role in maintaining an accessible and sustainable national maritime transportation system by providing mariners - both commercial and recreational - with national programs and services related to aids to navigation, marine communications and traffic services (MCTS), marine search and rescue (SAR), pollution response, icebreaking and waterways management. The website has information on fees applicable for icebreaking and marine navigation services.


Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency delivers all federal inspection services related to food, animal health and plant protection.

Acts and Regulations


Canadian Grain Commission

The Canadian Grain Commission is a federal government department that operates under the authority of the Canada Grain Act. Its mandate is to deliver excellence and innovation in grain quality and quantity assurance, research, and producer protection.

Canada Grain Act


Environment Canada

Canadian Ice Services

Marine Weather


Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the lead federal government department responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters.

This mandate includes responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's fisheries resources while continuing to provide safe, effective and environmentally sound marine services that are responsive to the needs of Canadians in a global economy.

Ocean Industries


Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)


Immigration and Refugee Board

The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is Canada's largest independent administrative tribunal. Its mission is to make well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters, efficiently, fairly, and in accordance with the law.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act


Industry Canada

Through its programs and services, this federal government department is helping to build a dynamic and innovative economy where all Canadians have the opportunity to benefit from more and better-paying jobs, stronger business growth, and a marketplace that is fair, efficient and competitive.

Shipbuilding and Industrial Marine


Marine Services Online

A government of Canada website with information for on Commercial Operators and Marine Infrastructure.


Pilotage Act (Transport Canada)

  • includes general pilotage regulations and specific information on Pilotage requirements and tariffs for the Great Lakes region

Great Lakes Pilotage Authority


Public Health Agency of Canada

Quarantine Act


Seaway Handbook

  • published jointly by the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMS) and the American Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC)
  • contains Seaway Practices and Procedures established under Section 99 of the Canada Marine Act and Seaway Regulations established pursuant to the American Saint Lawrence Seaway Act.
  • includes schedules of tolls, charges and other information pertinent to the use of the Seaway.

Transport Canada

Marine - Large Commercial Vessels

Canada Labour Code, Part II - Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Marine Safety Publications

Ports Programs and Divestiture


Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is an independent agency created in 1990 by an Act of Parliament with a mandate to advance transportation safety in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation by:

  • conducting independent investigations, including public inquiries when necessary, into selected transportation occurrences in order to make findings as to their causes and contributing factors
  • identifying safety deficiencies, as evidenced by transportation occurrences
  • making recommendations designed to eliminate or reduce any such safety deficiencies
  • reporting publicly on our investigations and on the findings in relation thereto

U.S. Regulations

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has three primary missions:

  1. Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;
  2. Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism; and
  3. Minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

DHS is comprised of the following organizations:

Border and Transportation Security (BTS)
Border and Transportation Security (BTS) secures our nation’s borders and transportation systems and enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

Customs and Border Protection

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Transportation and Security Administration (TSA)

Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R)
Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) ensures that our nation is prepared for incidents, whether natural disasters or terrorist assaults, and oversees the federal government’s national response and recovery strategy.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP)
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) helps deter, prevent, and mitigate acts of terrorism by assessing vulnerabilities in the context of continuously changing threats.

Office of Management
The Under Secretary for Management is responsible for the budget, ppropriations, expenditure of funds, accounting and finance, procurement, information technology systems, facilities, property, equipment, other material resources, and the identification and tracking of performance measurements relating to the responsibilities of Homeland Security.

Office of the Secretary
The staff functions in the Office of the Secretary oversee activities with other federal, state, local, and private entities as part of a collaborative effort to strengthen our borders, provide for intelligence analysis and infrastructure protection, improve the use of science and technology to counter weapons of mass destruction, and to create a comprehensive response and recovery division. Some links within the Office of the Secretary are:

Office of the Chief Privacy Officer

Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Office of the Inspector General

Office of the Private Sector

Directorate for Preparedness

Science and Technology (S&T)

The Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) serves as the primary research and development arm of Homeland Security, using our nation’s scientific and technological resources to provide federal, state, and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland. The focus is on catastrophic terrorism—threats to the security of our homeland that could result in large-scale loss of life and major economic impact.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ensures that America continues to welcome visitors, refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, and new citizens while protecting the nation from terrorism, unlawfulentrants, and illegal residents.

U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard protects the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests—in the nation’s ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.

U.S. Secret Service (USSS)
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) is responsible for the protection of the President, our nation’s leaders, as well as our country’s financial and critical infrastructures.


United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

USACE's mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including: (1) Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.); (2) Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air-Force. (Military Construction), and; (3) Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services).


United States Coast Guard (USCG)

The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service and one of the nation’s five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests — in the nation’s ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.

USCG in the Great Lakes / St Lawrence Seaway (USCG District 9)


United States Department of Agriculture

USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.


United States Maritime Administration

MARAD's mission is to strengthen the U.S. maritime transportation system - including infrastructure, industry and labor - to meet the economic and security needs of the Nation. MARAD seeks to promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, as well as be capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. MARAD also seeks to ensure that the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective intermodal water and land connections, and reserve shipping capacity for use in time of national emergency. Their three strategic areas are: commercial mobility, national security, and environment.