New boating regulations mulled

New boating regulations mulled

by Jeff Helsdon | January 14, 2021

a sailboat on the water

Transport Canada is considering new boating regulations.

The amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations are expected to be published in winter 2022 and come into force the following fall. One proposed change is all pleasure craft above six meters, including wind-powered vessels, would need to be licensed. Human-propelled boats, such as canoe and kayaks remain exempt.

Further potential changes

Other potential changes are: reducing the licence renewal period from 10 years to five, licences without an expiry date will also be part of the five-year regime, reducing the timeline to report changes to licence information – such as a sale or address change – from 90 days to 30, and implementing a new service fee for pleasure craft licences.

The proposed changes are intended to ensure up-to-date information is associated with a pleasure craft.

Assisting essential services

“The goal is to assist law enforcement and first responders in carrying out search and rescue activities and to support accountability and compliance with safety and environmental regulations,” said Sau Sau Liu, a communications advisor with Transport Canada.

“The proposed fee will help to recover most of the costs associated with providing pleasure craft licensing services and reduce the cost borne by Canadian taxpayers for proving the licensing services.”

Conversations encouraged

Matt DeMille, manager of Fish and Wildlife services with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, commented, “These are significant changes that have the potential to directly impact many of our members. This proposal deserves direct and meaningful discussions with the fishing, hunting, trapping, and boating communities, so we will be pushing the federal government to do this.”

Rick Layzell, CEO of Boating Ontario, provided some background on the proposed fees. “Transport Canada has been discussing possible fees on vessel licences since 2013,” he said. “The conversations have come back up with open dialogue on using the fees to assist in the costs of removing abandoned and derelict boats as well as collecting meaningful data to assist the industry. Conversations are ongoing and Boating Ontario and our peers are at the table on behalf of the industry.”