Transport Canada is implementing new Ballast Water Regulations for Canadian ships travelling internationally as well as those entering Canada.


The Ballast Water Regulations come into effect in Canada on June 23, 2021. Under the Canada Shipping Act 2001, these regulations are one way that Canada is protecting our environment and economy from aquatic invasive species. By 2024, all vessels must comply with these new regulations. Ballast waters make sure and enable vessels to sail safely. The water adds weight to the vessel, allowing it to float at the appropriate depth while maintaining its level and stability. When a vessel has to be stabilized, such as when cargo is unloaded or loaded at ports in adverse weather conditions, ballast water can be taken on board or released.






Why is it necessary to regulate ballast water?


Implementing new Ballast water regulations will directly bring down and diminish the risk of vessels being unintentionally introducing and spreading aquatic invasive species. Species, which live in the water and become harmful when they are not in their natural habitat) and pathogens ( Disease-causing bacteria and viruses) to environments outside of their natural range. These species can quickly multiply in numbers if they do not have natural predators in their new environment. This might have severe economic and environmental consequences.




The Ballast Water Regulations now go one step further by addressing species dispersion within Canada and species transfer from Canada to other countries. This will help in protecting global biodiversity. As per regulations it requires all Canadian Vessels and other vessels entering Canadian waters must:


  • Create and implement a ballast water management plan that has been validated.
  • Adhere to guidelines that limit the number of organisms released.
  • Be surveyed and inspected regularly by an authorized organization.
  • Maintain records and carry a valid certificate that allows inspectors to verify that the vessel is in good working order.


The restrictions benefit all Canadians and apply to anyone in charge of a vessel built to transport ballast water, including Canadian and foreign vessels entering Canadian waters. Unless they do business in Canada and take on or release ballast water, American vessels transiting between U.S. ports in the Great Lakes will not be governed by Canada. For more information, visit Managing ballast water (