[37] Bill 13 Original (PDF)

Bill 13

Bill 131999

An Act to preserve Ontario's marine heritage and promote tourism by protecting heritage wrecks and artifacts

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:


1. The purpose of this Act is to enhance the protection and preservation of Ontario's marine heritage resources and to promote responsible exploration of marine heritage sites.


2. In this Act, "

heritage wreck" means the abandoned remains of a vessel, aircraft or any other prescribed object that is fully or partially submerged in waters on Crown land in Ontario and has been so submerged for a period of time prescribed by regulation; ("pave valeur patrimoniale") "

marine heritage site" means the site of a heritage wreck and its associated debris area and the parts of the lake or river bed that are under them and includes any other parts of the lake or river bed that have been modified as a result of the sinking of the wreck, or as a result of subsequent sedimentary processes; ("aire marine valeur patrimoniale") "

Minister" means the member of the Executive Council to whom the administration of this Act is assigned by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; ("ministre") "

prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations made under this Act; ("rglements") "

protected artifact" means an object in a marine heritage site that was part of a vessel or aircraft that is a heritage wreck or that was in or on the vessel or aircraft before it sank. ("artefact protg")


3. The Crown in right of Ontario owns every heritage wreck and protected artifact.


4. (1)No person shall engage in any of the following activities unless the person is specifically authorized to do so by the terms of a licence issued under Part VI of the Ontario Heritage Act:

1.Enter a heritage wreck, or cause an object to enter a heritage wreck.

2.Move part of a heritage wreck.

3.Remove silt or other naturally occurring substances in a marine heritage site.

4.Remove a protected artifact from a marine heritage site.

5.Damage a heritage wreck or a protected artifact.

6.Take any other action that alters or adversely affects, or is likely to alter or adversely affect a marine heritage site, a heritage wreck or a protected artifact.

7.Any other activity specified in regulation.


(2)Subsection (1) does not apply at such marine heritage sites as may be prescribed but only with respect to such activities at those sites as may be prescribed.

Seizure of property

(3) A person having the power and authority of a member of the Ontario Provincial Police Force may seize a vessel or equipment which the person believes is being used or has been used to contravene this Act.

Record of wreck sites

5. The Minister shall publish, in a manner prescribed by regulation, a record of marine heritage sites known to the Minister.

Discovery of evidence

6. A person who finds physical evidence that a site is likely a marine heritage site which is not listed in a record published under section 5,

(a)shall not do anything that may alter or adversely affect the site; and

(b)shall notify the Minister of the nature and location of the evidence and the site as soon as possible.


7. (1) Every person who contravenes subsection 4 (1) or does not comply with section 6, and every director or officer of a corporation who knowingly concurs in the contravention or failure to comply, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,

(a)if the person is an individual, to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both; or

(b)if the person is a corporation, to a fine of not more than $250,000.


(2)The court may also order that any vessel or equipment used in the commission of the offence be forfeited to the Crown in right of Ontario.


(3)The court may take into account the following factors in deciding upon a penalty under subsections (1) and (2):

1.The degree of damage to a heritage wreck or protected artifact, if any, caused by the person.

2.Whether the person acted for profit.

3.Whether the person has previously been found guilty of an offence under this Act or the regulations.

4.Such other factors as the court may consider appropriate.


8. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations in respect of such matters as are referred to in this Act as being prescribed.

Crown prerogative

9. This Act shall not be construed to derogate from any Crown prerogative.


10.This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

11.The short title of this Act is the Ontario Marine Heritage Act, 1999.


The Bill creates a new Act, the Ontario Marine Heritage Act, 1999.

Under the new Act, the Crown is the owner of every abandoned wreck sunk in waters on Crown land in Ontario that has been submerged for more than a prescribed period of time. These wrecks are called "heritage wrecks" in the Act.

The new Act defines "marine heritage site" and prohibits anyone who does not have a licence under the Ontario Heritage Act from entering a heritage wreck or damaging or removing a heritage wreck or a protected artifact. The new Act creates an obligation to notify the Minister of evidence of a marine heritage site. The Minister must publish a record of marine heritage sites known to the Minister.