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Merchant Seamen Compensation Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. M-6)

Act current to 2019-12-03 and last amended on 2015-02-26. Previous Versions

Merchant Seamen Compensation Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. M-6

An Act respecting compensation for merchant seamen

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Merchant Seamen Compensation Act.

  • R.S., c. M-11, s. 1


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,


    accident includes a wilful and an intentional act, not being the act of a seaman, and a fortuitous event occasioned by a physical or natural cause; (accident)


    Board[Repealed, 2012, c. 31, s. 233]


    compensation includes medical and hospital expenses and any other benefits, expenses or allowances authorized by this Act; (indemnité)


    dependants means members of the family of a seaman who were wholly or partly dependent on his earnings at the time of his death, or who but for the incapacity of a seaman due to an accident would have been so dependent; (personnes à charge)


    employer includes every person having any seaman in his service under a contract of hiring or apprenticeship, written or oral, express or implied; (employeur)

    foreign voyage

    foreign voyage means a voyage extending beyond the area of a home-trade voyage and not being an inland or minor waters voyage; (voyage de long cours)

    home-trade voyage

    home-trade voyage means a voyage, not being an inland or minor waters voyage, between places within the following areas, namely, Canada, the United States other than Hawaii, St. Pierre and Miquelon, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America and the northeast coast of South America, in the course of which a ship does not go south of the sixth parallel of north latitude; (voyage de cabotage)

    inland voyage

      inland voyage means a voyage, not being a minor waters voyage, on the inland waters of Canada together with such part of any lake or river forming part of the inland waters of Canada as lies within the United States or on Lake Michigan; (voyage en eaux internes)


    invalid means physically or mentally incapable of earning; (invalide)

    medical aid

    medical aid means the medical, surgical and dental aid, the hospital and skilled nursing services and the artificial member or members and apparatus and repair mentioned in subsection 46(1); (assistance médicale)


    Minister means the Minister of Labour; (ministre)

    minor waters of Canada

      minor waters of Canada  means all inland waters of Canada other than Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, including Georgian Bay, and Superior and the St. Lawrence River east of a line drawn from Father Point to Point Orient, and includes all bays, inlets and harbours of or on those lakes and Georgian Bay and the sheltered waters on the seacoasts of Canada that the Minister of Transport may specify; (eaux secondaires du Canada)

    minor waters voyage

      minor waters voyage means a voyage within the following limits, namely, the minor waters of Canada together with the part of any lake or river forming part of the minor waters of Canada that lies within the United States; (voyage en eaux secondaires)


     seaman means every person, except pilots, apprenticed pilots and fishers, employed or engaged on

    • (a) a ship registered in Canada under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 , or

    • (b) a ship chartered by demise to a person resident in Canada or having their principal place of business in Canada,

     when the ship is engaged in trading on a foreign voyage or on a home-trade voyage, and, if so ordered by the Governor in Council, includes a seaman engaged in Canada and employed on a ship that is registered outside Canada and operated by a person resident in Canada or having their principal place of business in Canada when that ship is so engaged; (marin)


     ship means a vessel as defined in section 2 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. (navire )


    survivor means a person who, at the time of the death of a seaman, was

    • (a) the seaman’s spouse, if there is no person described in paragraph (b), or

    • (b) a person who was cohabiting with the seaman in a conjugal relationship for a period of at least one year immediately before the seaman’s death. (survivant)

  • Marginal note:Deemed accident

    (2) A seaman who suffers a disability arising out of and in the course of his employment as a seaman, otherwise than as a result of an accident, shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to have suffered the disability as a result of an accident and, except for the purpose of computing compensation, the accident shall be deemed to have taken place on the day the disability first became known to his employer.

  • R.S., 1985, c. M-6, s. 2
  • 2000, c. 12, s. 187
  • 2001, c. 26, s. 307
  • 2012, c. 31, s. 233

 [Repealed, 2012, c. 31, s. 234]

 [Repealed, 2012, c. 31, s. 234]


Marginal note:When compensation not payable

 No compensation is payable under this Act,

  • (a) where a seaman or his dependants are entitled to claim compensation under the Government Employees Compensation Act or under any provincial workers’ compensation law; or

  • (b) where a seaman is or his dependants are entitled to claim compensation under the Order in Council of April 30, 1942 (P.C. 104/3546), or any statute or law that provides similar benefits.

  • R.S., c. M-11, s. 4

Marginal note:Compensation under law of foreign country

  •  (1) Where an accident happens in respect of which a seaman or his dependants are entitled to claim compensation under the law of any foreign country, they are bound to elect whether they will claim compensation under that law or under this Act, and to give notice of that election, and if an election is not made and notice not given it shall be presumed that they have elected not to claim compensation under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Notice of election

    (2) Notice of an election under subsection (1) shall be given to the Minister within three months after the happening of an accident or, if an accident results in death, within three months after the death or within any longer period that, either before or after the expiry of the three months, the Minister may allow.

  • Marginal note:Waiver of all claims

    (3) No compensation is payable in respect of any accident mentioned in subsection (1) unless the seaman or their dependants submit to the Minister, in a form approved by the Minister, a waiver of all claims for compensation under the foreign law referred to in that subsection.

  • R.S., 1985, c. M-6, s. 6
  • 2012, c. 31, s. 235

Marginal note:Application of Act

 This Act applies to accidents happening within or outside Canada.

  • R.S., c. M-11, s. 6


Marginal note:Compensation, how paid

  •  (1) The employer of a seaman injured by reason of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment shall pay compensation in the manner and to the extent provided by this Act, except where the injury

    • (a) does not disable the seaman for a period of at least three days from earning full wages at the work at which he was employed; or

    • (b) is attributable solely to the serious and wilful misconduct of the seaman unless the injury results in death or serious disability.

  • Marginal note:Payable from date of disability

    (2) Where compensation for disability is payable, it shall be computed and be payable from the date of the disability.

  • R.S., c. M-11, s. 7

Marginal note:Deductions

 Except with the Minister’s approval, the amount of compensation payable under this Act is not subject to any deduction or abatement by reason of, on account of or in respect of any matter or thing whatever except in respect of any sums of money that have been paid by the employer to a seaman on account of an injury received by the seaman, which sum or sums shall be deducted from the amount of the compensation.

  • R.S., 1985, c. M-6, s. 9
  • 2012, c. 31, s. 236
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