Transport Canada Looking at Vessel Operation Restrictions Regulatory Changes

Transport Canada is looking at modernizing some regulations to ensure consistency, and to make the regulations more consistent and precise.

1) To make the regulation more consistent, Transport Canada wants to amend subsection 2(4) of the regulation which bans vessels with either power-driven engines, or electric motors with more engine power than the maximum engine power in waters in public parks and controlled access bodies of water as noted in Schedule 4. The recommended change from Transport Canada would amend the regulations so that this ban applies to all types of bodies of water, not just some. This will allow more local authorities to set engine power rules for their bodies of water.

2) Transport Canada is also anticipating removing sections 8 and 9 from the regulations which cover technical guidance on signage. TC will instead incorporate signage in a Transport Canada publication which will make it easier and faster for them to update guidelines as needed.

3) Currently, the regulations only allow local authorities to ban all towing activities (like wake surfing, but also water skiing, tubing etc.) when there is a safety or environmental issue. The existing broad rules have kept some authorities from setting any rules at all. Transport Canada wants to separate the rules for wake surfing in a different Schedule. This will allow local authorities to limit wake surfing to specific days and/or times of day.

4) Transport Canada wants to introduce an exemption to make sure Indigenous peoples can continue to exercise their rights as recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 (for example, an Indigenous person fishing for food, social or ceremonial purposes).

5) Transport Canada also wants to introduce 23 new restrictions to six bodies of water (Big Tub Harbour being the only waterbody in Ontario to be impacted) to address safety and environmental issues, and to protect the public interest. These restrictions include:

  • setting maximum speed limits
  • banning all types of vessels, and
  • limiting sporting or recreational towing, including wake surfing, on all or parts of some bodies of water

To read more about these recommended changes, and to submit comments, please click here.