Canadian Hydrographic Service takes back chart printing – cancels Print on Demand dealers

Andy Adams

Jan 18, 2022

For reasons I simply can’t fathom, the Government has again taken aim at boating, this time by taking back the Print on Demand agreements with their nautical chart dealers across Canada.

I was contacted by the owner of World of Maps located in Ottawa. Brad Green told me his company has been a private CHS nautical chart dealer for over 25 years and a partner with the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) since 2015 as a Print on Demand (POD) chart dealer location. At that time, the Government had chosen to privatize chart printing and a small number of locations signed on as POD dealers coast to coast. 

Green assured me that World of Maps has high print standards and has met and passed all yearly testing by the CHS to qualify as a POD chart dealer. On the Friday before last, he was informed that CHS had decided to terminate their ‘so-called’ Pilot project allowing qualified chart dealers to print charts directly. This is very short notice. The dealers will be de-activiated March 31st.

The CHS has said that they will now be printing all nautical charts in Canada themselves and then mailing them to chart dealers to sell to the end users. My understanding is that the Government has been paid each time a chart was printed by the POD dealers and that the Government divested itself of the staff and equipment required for printing back in 2015.

The POD dealers had to make their own investments in equipment, printers, and in hiring and training staff.

So, in this new arrangement, a customer will go to World of Maps (for example) and instead of getting their chart printed right away, the chart dealer will take their order, submit that to the Government (CHS presumably) who will then process the order, print the chart, ship it to World of Maps who then gives it to the customer.

Green says this will result in long delays for boaters to get the charts they need and that can lead to an unsafe safe situation on the water.

Green also noted that during the COVID pandemic, World of Maps experienced a large surge in chart sales because many people were staying in Canada and using charts to go boating (as they should). 

To meet the increased demand, World of Maps hired additional staff and purchased additional printing equipment. Now they have already had to lay off one employee and things may get worse for Greens business. It seems obvious things will get worse for boaters. There was a group of Print on Demand chart dealers, now there will be just one source; CHS.

In addition, I learned from Green that CHS no longer prints Chart 1 – it’s only available as a PDF now. Read it digitally, or pay on your own to print out the approximately 100 pages of essential user explanations and information. Given the significant increase in new boaters, this seems like a very bad idea.

For comparison, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA in the United States wants boaters to have the charts and they make them available to print for free.

This seems like a bad decision for boaters and boating safety on the part of our Government. It will clearly be bad for those Print on Demand dealers who invested back when the Government decided to privatize.

Brad Green asks your support to help reverse this bad move by registering your dismay with Cedric Kinnard, Manager, Hydrographic Services – Canadian Hydrographic Service cedric.kinnard@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

The Director General of the Canadian Hydrographic Service is Gevevieve Bechard and the minister of Fisheries & Oceans responsible is the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Min.XNCR@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

We need to speak out to defend boating safety.

Andy Adams – editor

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