The "Stormont" v. Canada

In Miscellaneous Maritime Law Topics on (Updated )

Précis: A challenge to an ice breaking services fee was dismissed.

The issue in this case was whether the ice breaking services fee in the Oceans Act applied to the defendants who operated a truck ferry service utilizing tug and barge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The defendants argued, inter alia, that they did not have to pay the fee as it was not applicable to international voyages and that the Minister did not have the power to impose such fees. The defendants’ argument turned upon the interpretation of the Oceans Act. The trial Judge rejected these and other arguments on the basis of simple statutory interpretation. The defendants appealed.

Decision: Appeal dismissed.

Held: The applicable sections of the Oceans Act and Fee Schedule authorized an ice breaking fee on each transit to or from a Canadian port. The Minister was both authorized and required to provide icebreaking services and was entitled to charge a fee for such services.