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. As of April 1, 2024, you are required to contact the terminal that requires you to obtain MTSC for sponsorship. The representative will be sending you a link to register with Transport Canada and complete the MTSC Application form online. 

Following the completion and online submission of the application, you will need to set up an appointment with the Port Pass/MTSC Office where they will sign off on the forms and conduct fingerprints to be submitted to Transport Canada. You will be required to bring all documents included in the online submission, which include Birth certificates, Citizenship Documents, Passports, & Any other federally issued government ID as applicable to your application. 

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

1. Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an appointment online with the Port Pass & MTSC Office (999 Canada Place, Cruise Ship Terminal Level, Door J) or call 604-665-9661

2. Present Documents

Present documents, original identification, and give fingerprints at the Port Pass & MTSC Office (Door J)

3. Processing

Contact the Chamber of Shipping if you have not received MTSC approval after three months. Most 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. 

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

Follow up with the respective terminal representative to obtain link to registering with Transport Canada – Transportation Security Services. Once registered, you will be able to complete the Online MTSC Application.

Upon completiong of your MTSC Application, you may schedule an appointment with the MTSC – Port Pass Office online at: Simply Book or call: 604-665-9661

Proceed to the MTSC – Port Pass 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. You will be able to log in using the Transportation Security Services portal to check the status of your application. 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 along with a link to setting up the appointment with us.

An appointment is required for an MTSC sticker pick-up, and 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.