Main Content
Support Important GBA Initiatives.
Support Important GBA Initiatives. Support GBA

Transport Canada Consultations

The safety and security of Canada’s marine transportation system is one of the Government of Canada’s highest priorities and Transport Canada (TC) is responsible for the Canada Shipping Act 2001 and the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (amended 2019).

The Office of Boating Safety oversees regulations, standards and policies, enforcement, and technical services for recreational vessels. They encourage safe boating practices and compliance with regulations. The Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, municipal police forces, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry primarily do the actual enforcement.

As boating evolves year after year, TC will consider creating or changing regulations to reflect the new realities of our waterways. TC greatly values public consultation in this process and taking the views of Canadians into account plays a critical part in a transparent, modern, and streamlined regulatory regime.

How an issue of an idea becomes a regulation

The process starts when an issue is presented at one of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council meetings. Problems are explaining the problem and possible suggestions for mitigation.

  • The next step is a Let’s Talk Transportation consultation.
    • As an issue becomes better defined, TC invites public input on several options for it. The consultation can last 30-90 days.
  • TC also publishes What We Heard after each consultation. After considering the Let’s Talk feedback, TC refines the input and proposes possible regulatory changes that will be published in Canada Gazette 1, with another 30 to 90-day consultation period. This is the last chance for the public to share their views. The feedback is considered, and then, in six to 12 months, Canada Gazette 2 is launched, which describes the finalized regulations that are now law.

Have your say!

Small but vocal interest groups can alter and even prevent legislative changes that seemed to be well supported by the broader boating community. Transport Canada only considers the written input they receive when deciding on regulatory changes, so if you have an opinion – share it!

GBA posts relevant consultations on our website and asks our members to share their opinions. Here are some of the latest issues that GBA took an interest in:

  • Regulations Amending the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORRs)
    • A new VORR subsection 7.1 will apply only to wake surfing
      • this will allow local authorities to mitigate the environmental and safety issues around wake surfing and not will affect other towing sports
    • Canada Gazette 1 closed on August 16, 2023
    • Published in Canada Gazette on December 20, 2023 and is now law
  • Pleasure Craft Licensing Modernization
    • Proposed changes include:
      • licences will last five years and will cost $24
      • all pleasure craft must be licensed if they have a motor ≥10 horsepower or are wind powered and under 6 metres
      • owners must notify TC of address changes within 30 days
      • TC will be able to cancel a licence
    • Let’s Talk Consultations completed July 12, 2023
  • Decibel Limits
    • TC is looking to introduce noise limits for manufacturers and importers of new and existing pleasure craft
      • decibel limits for standing at the dock and pass-by operation will be set in line with international standards
    • Changes are targeted to be published in Canada Gazette 1 in fall 2024, and in Gazette 2 in fall 2025
  • Propellor-rolled surfboards
    • TC will lift the prohibition on these vessels. This will include creating definitions for them and setting manufacturing standards and defining required safety equipment
    • Let’s Talk Consultations completed May 13, 2022
  • Engine Cut Off Switches
    • Cut-off switches are being proposed for new builds that are under 8 metres, over 3 horsepower, and don’t have an enclosed cabin as the primary helm
    • Operators may be required to use cut-off switches in existing boats that have them installed
    • Changes are targeted to be published in Canada Gazette 1 in fall 2024, and in Gazette 2 in fall 2025
  • Long-term Anchoring
    • TC currently recognizes floating homes as vessels in Ontario
    • The consultation asked if long-term anchoring should be regulated or restricted, which would limit the ability of these non-traditional vessels to camp out for extended periods
  • Let’s Talk closed on December 11, 2023
  • VORRs 2022
    • These will provide provinces and municipalities with a more significant role in managing their waterways.
      • for urgent environment or safety restrictions, authorities can use Incorporation by
        Reference and temporary Ministerial Orders
    • Let’s Talk period closed on December 11, 2023
View past eUpdate issues

SIGN UP TO OUR Email newsletter eUpdate

Email address format is incorrect.
Please select your nearest association.

Please provide name of other association.

You can unsubscribe at anytime