Transport Canada is floating new boating regulations, including expanding pleasure craft licence requirements and modernizing the pleasure craft operator training program.
Changes include adding a $15 fee to process an application for a new licence, or to renew, transfer, or duplicate one.
The amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations are expected to go to the treasury board, the federal cabinet committee that oversees government financial management, this year.
Another change would require licences for all pleasure craft greater than six meters, including wind-powered vessels. This does not include human-propelled boats, such as canoes and kayaks.
Other changes being considered include reducing the licence renewal period from no expiry or 10 years to five, as well as reducing the timeline to report info changes – such as a sale or address change – from 90 days to 30.
The changes are intended to ensure up-to-date information is associated with a pleasure craft.
“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.”
Transport Canada is also proposing changes to the Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program by introducing an accreditation application fee of $5,000, payable every five years by course providers, and implementing a maintenance and test materials access fee of $8.50 for each operator card that’s issued.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) expects course providers could increase course fees to recuperate these additional expenses.
“These are significant changes that have the potential to directly impact many of our members,” OFAH Fish and Wildlife Manager Matt DeMille stated. “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.”
Transport Canada has been discussing possible fees on vessel licences since 2013, Boating Ontario CEO Rick Layzell 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,” he said. “Conversations are ongoing and Boating Ontario and our peers are at the table on behalf of the industry.”