A Québec court has confirmed that spills from ships into navigable waters are subject to both federal and provincial spill control rules. In Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales c. Alcan inc., 2009 QCCQ 1638, Alcan defended provincial charges of causing a spill while unloading a ship containing caustic soda. Alcan argued that shipping is governed exclusively by federal regulations, e.g. the Fisheries Act and the Canada Shipping Act, as well as the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Alcan argued unsuccessfully that its shipping should not also be subject to the Québec Dangerous Substances regulation.
Québec courts are usually hostile to claims of exclusive federal jurisdiction, and it was therefore no surprise when Judge Lortie ruled that both federal and provincial laws apply to spills from shipping. There is no direct conflict between the two laws, in the sense that compliance with federal laws requires Alcan to breach provincial laws, or vice versa.