Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program

Chamber of Shipping > Services > Port Security > Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program

Marine Transportation Security Clearance (MTSC) Program

Each individual interested in applying for a Marine Transportation Security Clearance (MTSC) requires a valid Port Pass ahead of time. According to section 503, MTSC applies to all those that:  

  • require access to a restricted area 
  • are a licensed ship’s pilot; 
    • referred to in subsection 501(2)
  • are a harbour master or wharfinger; 
  • have security responsibilities of authorized screening and security guard functions at the marine facilities and port administrations;
    • applies to the ports referred to in subsection 501(1).
  • take applications for transportation security clearances and includes taking applicants’ fingerprints and facial images; 
    • these functions are performed on behalf of the Minister and for the purposes of this Part
  • have access to a cruise ship that is interfacing with a restricted area to provide services, supplies or equipment to the cruise ship or a member of the complement of the cruise ship;
  • could cause the failure of a preventive measure, delay the response to a security incident or adversely affect the recovery from a security incident as a result of being assigned or performing any of the following duties, responsibilities or functions:
    • access to security information at the marine facility or port
    • the supervision of marine facility operations
    • the creation, alteration, control or maintenance of cargo documentation or crew or passenger lists by a person who:
      • is present at the marine facility or port
      • has advance access to the documentation or lists, or
    • the planning or directing of the movement of cargo or containers at a container terminal, including their loading and unloading into and from vessels; or
  • are a seafarer who has submitted an application for a Seafarer’s Identification Document

How to Apply for a MTSC

A Marine Transportation Security Clearance (MTSC) is required for every person where section 503 of the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Regulations applies. The applicant must have a valid Port Pass before applying for the MTSC.

Since July 1, 2016, Transport Canada requires all applicants to complete the MTSC Application Form online at http://www.tc.gc.ca/tsc

Following the completion and online submission of the application, be sure to print the document and have it signed off by the office issuing the Port Pass, otherwise known as the sponsor. Different offices include the Chamber of Shipping, Cerescorp, BC Maritime Employers Association, BC Trucking Association, or Port of Vancouver.  

For Port Passes issued by the Chamber of Shipping, follow these next steps:

1. Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an appointment online with the Commissionaires Office (Door J) or call 604-665-9661

2. Application Part A Complete

Before your appointment, Part A must be completed by the office who issued your Port Pass

If it has not been completed, call ahead to have an authorized signatory available to do so at the time of your new Port Pass issuance at 604-681-2351

3. Present Documents

Present documents, original identification, and give finger-prints at the MTSC – Commissionaires Office (Door J)

4. Processing

Contact the Chamber of Shipping if you have not received MTSC approval after three months. MTSC approvals can take anywhere from three to twelve months for processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is required to have MTSC?

Section 503 states that MTSC applies for those that:

a) require access to a restricted area two as defined by the terminal operator;
b) are a licensed ship’s pilot referred to in subsection 501(2)
c) are a harbour master or wharfinger appointed under subsection 69(1) of the Canada Marine Act;
d) have security responsibilities, including authorized screening and security guard functions, at the marine facilities and port administrations for the ports referred to in subsection 501(1);
e) take applications for transportation security clearances and the applicants’ fingerprints and facial images, which functions are performed on behalf of the Minister and for the purposes of this part;
f) have access to a cruise ship that is interfacing with a restricted area two to provide services, supplies, or equipment to the cruise ship or a member of the complement of the cruise ship;
g) could cause the failure of a preventive measure, delay the response to a security incident or adversely affect the recovery from a security incident as a result of being assigned or performing any of the following duties, responsibilities or functions:
i. access to security information at the marine facility or port
ii. the supervision of marine facility operations
iii. the creation, alteration, control or maintenance of cargo documentation or crew or passenger lists by a person who;
– is present at the marine facility or port, or
– has advance access to the documentation lists
iv. the planning or directing of the movement of cargo or containers at a container terminal, including their loading and unloading into and from vessels;
h) are a seafarer who has submitted an application for a Seafarer’s Identification Document.

2. How do I apply for a MTSC?

Since July 1, 2016, Transport Canada requires all applicants to complete the online MTSC Application Form. Once the application form is completed and submitted electronically, applicants are still required to print the document and have the application signed off by the sponsor, i.e. the office issuing the Port Pass – the Chamber of Shipping, Cerescorp, BC Maritime Employers Association, BC Trucking Association, or Port of Vancouver.

For applicants whereby the Port Passes are issued by the Chamber of Shipping, please follow these steps:

Complete the MTSC Application Online Form – submit and print a hard copy.

Schedule an appointment with the MTSC – Westguard Office online at: Simply Book or call: 604-665-9661

Prior to going to the Westguard Office Part A (Requesting Authority) must be completed by the office (i.e. Chamber of Shipping) issuing the Port Pass. This can be done at the same time as a new Port Pass issuance, otherwise, we suggest that you call ahead (604-681-2351) to ensure that the authorized signatories are available prior to your arrival.

Proceed to the MTSC – Westguard Office for finger-printing, presentation of documents, and original identification.

3. How long does it take for an MTSC approval?

The MTSC application can take anywhere from three to twelve months. Once the application is in Transport Canada’s hands, the Chamber of Shipping is unable to speed up the process. If you have not been advised after three months that your MTSC has been granted, please contact Transport Canada.

4. How will I know if my MTSC has been approved?

Once Transport Canada has approved the MTSC and has attached it to an active VFPA Port Pass, the Chamber of Shipping will be notified to print a new sticker for the Port Pass that reflects the extended clearance. The Port Pass holder, or the office contact will be sent an email advising that the new sticker is ready to be picked up.

An appointment is not required for an MTSC sticker pick-up. You must have your existing Port Pass with you in order to pick up the sticker.

5. If I have a YVR RAIC, do I need an MTSC?

If Transport Canada has already approved you for a Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC), you can request the RAIC to be transferred and applied to your VFPA Port Pass rather than going through the MTSC process. The Port Pass must be issued first, then the RAIC information can be sent to portpass@cosbc.ca.

We will connect with Transport Canada to then verify. Once the RAIC has successfully transferred, you will be notified to pick up the new sticker that reflects the extended clearance.