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.”

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  1. Roger MacDonald wrote: This is simply another revenue generating ploy by Transport. It will do nothing to improve boating safely regardless of their claims otherwise. None of the funds generated by new fees will go towards safety initiatives such as education. It will pay for more administration and ineffectual bureaucracy. Give the boatig safety program back to the Coast Guard who will bring it back from the dead where the commercial, big ship attention of Transport put it.
  2. John Sharp wrote: This is just another Do Nothing Tax. Powerboats now are registered with a number displayed, not sure about wind powered boats. They can go after owner of delect boats using this number. What meaningful info can you get from this ? This is a bad idea , more so with a shorter expirey date. Won,t be long it will be like cars $100 + per year . Bad idea, just more bureaucracs justifing thier jobs and more tax dollars to waste.This is not about safety, education or improving the boating experience, it,s a money grab.
  3. Wayne Hansen wrote: Those with Life Time cards should be Grand Fathered I live in remote Northern Ontario and fish from my camp. I’m 65 and should not have to have more burocracy put on me. Is this a money grab ?
  4. Ron Wohlgemuth wrote: This has nothing to do with safety. Boats are already numbered and registered.Im 74 and been fishing since I was 6. Just another tax grab. I do not intend to write a test to go fishing. If anything makes sense , make life jackets mandatory.
  5. Pierre Véronneau wrote: Another money grab !!!
  6. Ivan McNabb wrote: Just a question of concern If I have my boaters permit and I am at the age 67 will I still need to take another test card #125 168mcn Issued in 2003 Please advise Regards Ivan
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Ivan, The new restrictions are being discussed; nothing has been put into place yet. Check back on for more updates.
  7. Ron Eden wrote: I am trying to find out how the new regulations that require a renewal of pleasure craft card will affect the senior citizens of Ontario. I cant seem to find any information on this Can you help? I do have a lifetime boaters card.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Ron, The new restrictions are being discussed; nothing has been put into place yet. Check back on for more updates.
  8. ted Kovacs wrote: Just another way to rip the general population of boaters off . Nothing more than a big money grab and has absolutely nothing to do with the safe operation of a boat . I agree with Roger MacDonald and give the boating Safety program back to the Coast Guard