Demystifying Maritime Governance

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Executive Summary

An analysis of the frameworks and emerging issues for the governance of shipping in Canada


Co-led by Dr. Aldo Chircop, Dalhousie University, and Dr. Desai Shan, Memorial University, Demystifying Maritime Governance: Analysis of the frameworks and emerging issues for the governance of shipping in Canada is an inclusive, multi-part project commissioned by Clear Seas. 

Researching the governance of marine shipping in Canada, this project aims to: 

  • Explain its global and domestic structures, frameworks, actors, interconnections, and processes in the simplest terms possible, and
  • Analyze contemporary major drivers of change in the system. 

In delivering the second aim, the project addresses four transformative issue areas:

  1. The interface between marine shipping and Indigenous rights, 
  2. The significance of marine spatial planning for shipping, 
  3. The growing role of risk governance and self-regulation, and 
  4. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the occupational health and safety of seafarers. 

Drawing on the continuity between international and domestic regulation and administration of shipping, this project highlights differences in approaches in the Atlantic, Arctic, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, and Pacific regions, as well as roles for federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments. The results are intended to add clarity around the complexities of governance of shipping and aim to inform decision-makers, rights holders, and stakeholders tasked with shipping issues, while also better contextualizing public debates on such issues for a variety of audiences.