Shipping Fed. of Cda. v. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

In Miscellaneous Maritime Law Topics on (Updated )

Précis: The court dismissed a challenge by ship owners to a container fee imposed under the Canada Marine Act.

This was an application for judicial review challenging the ability of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to impose a fee on ship owners for container cargo. Section 49 of the Canada Marine Act specifically requires that any fees charged be “fair and reasonable”. The applicants alleged the fee charged was not fair and reasonable as ship owners receive no benefit for the infrastructure improvements for which the fee was assessed. The applicants further argued that the fee was an illegal tax as it was unconnected with any service.

Decision: Application dismissed.

Held: The Court held that the fee was a charge connected with a regulatory scheme and therefore a regulatory charge and not a tax. The Court further held that there was no requirement to link the fee with a service or benefit.