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A Guide to Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS) Canadian Seafarer Certification and Licence Requirements

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Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services and enforcing several Canadian legislations, including Canada Shipping Act 2001 and Marine Transportation Security Act. Transport Canada is responsible for the waterways inside and surrounding Canada.Transport Canada headquarter is located in Ottawa with Marine Safety Services regional offices located around Canada. 

Transport Canada also develops and enforces regulations related to training, testing and certifying marine personnel, including seafarers, ship security officers and pleasure craft operators, to ensure the safe operation of all marine vessels in Canada. The role of Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS) is to maintain and enhance marine safety and work to protect life, health, property and the marine environment. This includes providing services that are mandated by Acts and Regulations.

STCW Update: TCMS is planning to amend the regulations in line with the STCW convention or more so towards STCW 2010 Manila Amendments by 2019. This is to facilitate and move the Canadian seafaring community towards the international regulations proposed by IMO. These regulations have been incorporated by majority of the administrations around the world. Transport Canada has announced a roadmap towards STCW 2010 recently and major changes are proposed in the engineering certification with some changes for deck deparment as well. Following road map (MPR2019) is planned:

  • May - June 2018: Introduction and drafting
  • July - December 2018: Consultation Part 1 (first step)
  • January - May 2019: Consultation Part 2 (final step)
  • Full implementation: Summer 2019

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How to obtain Canadian Maritime Document (CMD) and Licences?

The applicant must schedule an appointment with a Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security Examination Centre and complete the applicable forms.

  • CDN number - A CDN number is a Candidate document number allotted to a candidate by Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS). All your training and qualification records are maintained in our TCMS computer database (ACES) under your CDN number.
  • Seafarers Identity Document (SID) - This document is as per ILO convention and issued in 20 working days after notification of granting of Transportation Security Clearance and receipt of complete application if all the prerequisites are met. The Seafarer’s Identity Document (SID) is being modernized to include new security features in conformity with the ILO Convention C185.  This biometric secure system will provide Canadian seafarers with a document that will have worldwide interoperability.
  • Discharge Books - Issued in 20 working days after receipt of complete application if all the prerequisites are met
  • Statement of Sea Service - Issued in 45 working days after receipt of complete application if all the prerequisites are met
  • Record of Qualifications - Issued in 120 working days after receipt of complete application if all the prerequisites are met
  • Applications (both new and renewal) are to be submitted at TCMS offices.
  • Canada does not issue certificates or certificates of equivalence to holders of certification from other administrations. However, if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and apply at a local office of Marine Safety, an examiner at that site, can determine where you fit in Canada's system. In general, seafarers holding recognized certificates that are valid for use at sea, will see their qualifications and experience recognized toward the applicable Canadian certificate.

Transport Canada Marine Certification Requirements


Deck Officer Requirements

Marine Engineer Requirements

Rating Requirements

Specialized Certificates and Endorsements

You may also read: IMO STCW Requirements

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