Canadian Marine Advisory Council meetings November 14 and 15, 2023 – What I heard

Nov 21, 2023

From the left: Bruce Hayne, Boating BC, Josée Côté, Naustime Quebec, Marie-France Mckinnon, NMMA Canada, Rick Layzell, Boating Ontario

To better understand what’s going on with Transport Canada and their oversight of Canada’s marine transportation industry including commercial shipping and recreational boating, I registered to attend the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) meetings that were held in Ottawa on November 14 and 15th. CMAC is a forum for Transport Canada to take in industry and public input on issues that they are managing.

I joined senior staff from NMMA Canada, Nautisme Quebec, Boating Ontario and Boating BC who are regularly attend these meetings representing our industry. While the marine trade associations are right on top of the key issues, I wanted to be there in person because there are many significant issues facing us.    

Transport Canada’s mandate is huge and on the one hand I have to wonder how they are able to manage it all, but on the other hand, it seems relatively easy for well-funded national lobby groups to advance their own agendas. There are those who oppose some aspects of our recreational boating industry and the government is listening.

We learned in the November 14th opening session that new recommendations that will be coming from senior people in Transport Canada this year, means we should expect that regulatory changes are coming. There is a Transport Canada website with all the issues laid out with reasonable clarity. These are called “Let’s Talk…”

Click here for my list of “Let’s Talk…” subjects and the links to the discussions, important points and next steps.

Our biggest and most significant issues seem to be:

  1. The Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations: Providing provinces and municipalities with a greater role in managing their waterways
  2. Long-term anchoring 
  3. Small Vessels Noise Emissions 
  4. Pleasure Craft Safety
  5. Engine cut-off switches 
  6. Fee proposal for Pleasure Craft Licensing Program
  7. Propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels

My personal opinion is that the Federal Liberals are gearing up for an election and they will need to have a long list of accomplishments to fuel their campaign. When we faced the Liberal’s Luxury Tax on new boats, we learned the hard way, that politics trumps common sense. More legislation is surely coming. We need to speak up now to protect our industry from potentially damaging new laws.

To help support your own industry, be an active member of your marine trade association and when they ask you to write a letter or supply business data, please take the time to participate. It’s very important.

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