Proposed Regulatory Changes for Houseboats

NOTO is currently reviewing MNRFs proposal and will be meeting with our Houseboat Operator Task Force and seeking further clarification from MNRF before we submit comment. We are sharing this information with our membership in advance of our submission to keep you informed. We encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to reach out to us as soon as possible so we can include them in our work.

Due to new “floating cottages” causing issues in the Muskoka and Georgian Bay regions, MNRF is seeking to introduce new regulatory changes for floating accommodations which may impact houseboat rentals.

MNRF is looking to amend Ontario Regulation 161/17 to clarify the types of camping units that can be used to camp on water over public land. It is proposed that the definition of ‘camping unit’ will be clarified to allow for camping on liveaboards and houseboats but will exclude floating accommodations, float homes and barges with residential units or camping facilities.

The proposed new definitions would be as follows:

  • Houseboats: watercraft intended primarily for use in navigation equipped with facilities for overnight stays while travelling.
  • Floating accommodations or float homes: house-like structures incorporating a floatation system, intended for use or being used or occupied for residential or longer term purposes and not primarily intended for, or usable in, navigation, or barges with residential units or camping facilities.

MNRF is also proposing to change the conditions that must be met when camping on water over public lands in Ontario by:

  • reducing the number of days that a person can camp on water over public land (per location, per calendar year) from 21 days to 7 days
  • increasing the distance that a person camping on water must move their camping unit to be occupying a different location from 100 metres to 1 kilometre
  • adding a new condition to prohibit camping on water within 300 metres of a developed shoreline, including any waterfront structure, dock, boathouse, erosion control structure, altered shoreline, boat launch and/or fill.

MNRF is also looking to:

  • harmonize the conditions for camping on public land so that residents and non-residents are required to follow the same conditions when camping on water over public lands or on public lands
  • specify conditions for swim rafts, jumps, ramps for water sports, heat loops and water intake pipes
  • clarify that camping on a road, trail, parking lot or boat launch is prohibited

To view the full proposal and submit comments, please click here. If you have any concerns, please reach out to NOTO staff. We will ensure to bring these comments forward to MNRF as well.