Canadian Shipowners Assoc. v. Canada

In Miscellaneous Maritime Law Topics on (Updated )

This was an appeal of a decision of the Trial Division in which the trial judge upheld the validity of the Marine Navigation Service Fees Regulations passed pursuant to the Financial Administration Act. The regulations provide for the payment of fees by commercial shipping, domestic and foreign, for marine navigation services provided by Canadian Coast Guard. The regulations were imposed as part of a policy of cost recovery instituted by the Government of Canada. The applicants argued that the regulations were not authorized by the Financial Administration Act, were discriminatory and were, in essence, a tax on commercial shipping. The trial judge, however, held that the regulations were made for valid reasons and in good faith and that the enabling statute impliedly authorized the creation of classes of users and the power to include or exclude certain types of ships from the payment of fees. The trial judge further held that the fees were not a tax and noted that the fees collected would not exceed the cost of providing the services. On appeal, the Court of Appeal in a short judgement indicated their approval of the reasons of the trial judge and dismissed the appeal.