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Beneficial Ownership Survey

The survey closed on April 30th, 2022. Late submissions were being accepted up until Monday, November 21, 2022.

If you have not yet completed a submission, please email for assistance.

From January 31, 2022 to April 30, 2022, a number of commercial fishing licence holders and vessel owners were required to complete a mandatory online survey. The information gathered through this survey will help the Department make better decisions for fish harvesters and their communities.

Infographic: Required Information (Pacific vessel-based licences)

Infographic: Required Information (Pacific vessel-based licences)

Infographic: Required Information (Atlantic, Quebec, Arctic and Pacific party-based)

Infographic: Required Information (Atlantic, Quebec, Arctic and Pacific party-based)

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About the survey

The Beneficial Ownership Survey will help the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) gather information about who is benefitting from having access to commercial fishing across Canada, including the amount of access allocated to small and medium sized businesses, concentration of access, and foreign ownership.

Beneficial owners are individuals who directly or indirectly own or control (in whole or in part) a corporation or an entity. Beneficial owners are not the corporations or entities.

The survey will request information from individuals – either vessel owners or licence holders – including: full names, citizenship, and the ownership percentage held by the beneficial owner(s). Individuals responsible for enterprises with multiple owners (“multi-tiered corporations”) will need to provide information about all of the direct or indirect beneficial owners for all parent companies that are in the full corporate structure related to the commercial fishing access.

The survey will be quite simple for most recipients to complete because they will only have a few questions to answer. Larger, multi-tiered corporations may need a little more time to collect the information required to complete the section designed for more complex organizations.

The survey will be online from January 31 to April 30, 2022. We encourage you to complete it as soon as possible.

Who must complete the survey?

In Pacific Region, the Beneficial Ownership Survey is mandatory for all:

In the Atlantic, Quebec, and Arctic regions, the Beneficial Ownership Survey is mandatory for all:

The following licence holders are exempt from the survey:

The surveys are mandatory and the Minister has the authority under the Fisheries Act to ask licence holders and vessel owners for this kind of information. Failure to provide the required information through the survey constitutes a prosecutable offence under section 78 of the Fisheries Act.

Number of survey submissions required

Pacific region licence holders may need to complete the Survey more than once if they hold multiple types of fisheries access:

Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Arctic region licence holders are only required to submit one survey, regardless of the number of licences issued to them.

How to complete the survey?

The survey has three formats to capture information from the various types of access in Canada: party-based and vessel-based in Pacific region, as well as midshore, offshore, exempted fleet, and inshore Elver fisheries in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the Arctic Region.

The survey is divided into three sections:


The first section is for identification purposes. We need the name of the licence holder as it is written on the licence or the name of the contact vessel owner as previously provided to DFO. The section also requests basic information, such as fisher identification number (FIN), business number, vessel registration number (VRN) and vessel name.

Fishing enterprises 100% owned by individuals and/or families

The second section is for small- to medium-sized fishing enterprises and vessels that are directly owned by one or more individuals or directly owned by one or more wholly owned corporations.

The Survey will require the names of the licence holder or vessel owner, their citizenship and the percentage of ownership. If the licence holder or vessel owner is a corporation, the country in which the corporation was registered will also be required. There is also a ‘yes/no’ question about whether the individuals listed are family members.

Multi-tiered enterprises with multiple beneficial owners

The third section is for multi-tiered companies with more complex corporate structures and multiple beneficial owners.

There are 10 questions to help identify the beneficial owners. Some questions require the respondent to name persons and organizations with a direct or indirect share of 10% or more in the licence holder or vessel owner organization’s securities, as well as their citizenship and the percentage of ownership. This includes nominees and other beneficial owners. The Survey will include questions about foreign involvement in the licence holder’s organization, such as if any non-Canadians hold a position within the organization, if a member of the organization holds a position within a foreign organization, and if the organization is indebted to a foreign lender. The Survey does not contain requirements to disclose financial records or any dollar amounts. Following the Survey’s conclusion, DFO will conduct quality-checks in which Survey respondents may be required to provide documentation that supports their Survey submissions.

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