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Harbour authorities

Harbour authorities are incorporated, not-for-profit organizations. Their board of directors and members represent local interests. Each harbour authority is a unique and independent legal identity. They are responsible for managing, operating and maintaining one or more public fishing harbours through a lease agreement with the Small Craft Harbours program.


The creation of harbour authorities helps the Small Craft Harbour program:

Harbour authorities establish and enforce rules, and represent the needs of users at the community level.

They are also responsible for charging and collecting fees from users to cover operation costs. Fees collected from users are reinvested in harbour maintenance, operations and repairs.

While harbours are locally-operated and managed, the Small Craft Harbours program provides the following:


The year 2018 will mark the 30th anniversary of the harbour authority initiative. Its continued success is largely the result of volunteer participation, primarily at the board of directors' level. About 5,000 people generously give their time to more than 550 harbour authorities across Canada. The volunteer effort averages 135,000 hours per year, which equates to nearly 70 full-time positions.

Advisory committee

The National Harbour Authority Advisory Committee provides advice to Small Craft Harbours on matters of national interest. Members also exchange information and success stories, resulting in a strong national network.

The committee consists of 3 harbour authority representatives and 1 alternate member from each region. These members are appointed by their Regional Harbour Authority Advisory Council.

Meetings are held twice a year. They are co-chaired by the committee chairperson and the director general of the Small Craft Harbours program.

Records of discussion and committee terms of reference are available by contacting your regional office.

Joining a harbour authority

While the board of directors is made up of volunteers, some harbour authorities have paid staff. If you want to have a say in the management of your local authority's facilities, we encourage you to join.

By joining your local harbour authority, you will be:

You may locate any harbour authority across Canada through the lists of harbour authorities and harbours.

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