R. v. Great Lakes Stevedoring Company Ltd.

In Constitutional Issues in Maritime Law, Offences in a Marine Context on

Facts: The accused stevedoring company was charged with provincial environmental offences after it discharged cement clinker during unloading operations from a ship at the Port Weller Marine Terminal. The terminal is located on land owned by the Crown but leased to the terminal operator. The accused brought this application claiming that the provincial environmental laws do not apply to it since stevedoring activities on federal public property come within the exclusive core of federal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, that the application of the provincial environmental offences to stevedoring activities frustrate the purpose of federal legislation.

Decision: Application dismissed.

Held: The application concerned the doctrines of interjurisdictional immunity and federal paramountcy. While the Court accepted that stevedoring is integral to shipping which is Parliament’s exclusive jurisdiction, the provincial environmental laws do not intrude on any matter that is indispensable for the applicant to load and unload cargo from ships. The provincial law requires the applicant to load and unload cargo in a manner that does not discharge contaminants into the environment. Therefore interjurisdictional immunity did not apply. Federal paramountcy also did not apply as federal authority permitting an activity does not mean that the applicant is excused from compliance with valid provincial legislation.