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Government of Canada helps municipalities and local communities control navigation on waterways

Press Release

From: Transport Canada

October 12, 2023

The Government of Canada is responding to the requests of local communities by making the regulatory process for navigable waters easier and more efficient, improving water safety and reducing the impacts of navigation on waterways.

Today, the Minister of National Revenue, Marie-Claude Bibeau, accompanied by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Élisabeth Brière, on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the streamlining of the process for all orders of government, including municipalities, for asking the federal government to restrict the use of boats on lakes and rivers.

Minister Bibeau announced that the Minister of Transport now has the authority to issue interim orders, and that municipalities and Indigenous communities can avail themselves of this power. This new ministerial authority stems from a legislative amendment that received royal assent on June 22, 2023. This authority is in place to facilitate the process, pending the longer-term revision of the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR).

The Minister also announced the launch of two consultations, one to modernize the process established in the VORR, and the other to better mark long-term anchored vessels, such as floating accommodations. Transport Canada is seeking input through these consultations, available online on the Let’s Talk Transportation website, from provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, cities, municipalities and the public to find solutions that will enable them to play a greater role in the management and regulation of their waterways.

Quotes

“Canadians deserve a say in how their waterways are regulated. Today, we’re speeding up the process for local communities.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant

“I’m very proud that our government is responding favorably to the call from municipalities who, in collaboration with community organizations, are committed to doing what’s necessary to protect our waterways. Our lakes and rivers are important ecological and economic assets for our regions, and we are committed to safeguarding them.”

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of National Revenue

“With today’s announcement, we are reiterating our commitment to those living along our waterways and municipalities. These consultations will give Canadians a greater say in how we protect our waterways and make boating safer.”

The Honourable Pascale St-Onge
Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Our government is listening to municipalities. By simplifying the process of regulating waterways, we are preserving our lakes, while enhancing boating safety.”

Élisabeth Brière
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • By opening these consultations, Transport Canada intends to develop regulations that cut red tape, reflect the views of Canadians, and ultimately result in a modernized and efficient marine transportation system in Canada.
  • In June 2023, the Government of Canada amended the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to provide the Minister of Transport with new statutory authorities with the goal of implementing and amending restrictions more rapidly than before. These amendments could also allow the Minister of Transport to implement restrictions to address pressing issues immediately.
  • Municipalities wishing to avail themselves of this new legislative authority can Contact the Office of Boating Safety.
  • The department has also been monitoring the impacts of long-term anchoring of vessels, such as floating accommodations, in Canadian waterways. In some areas, these vessels have raised environment, safety, and public access concerns by local communities.

Associated links

Contacts

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Laura.Scaffidi@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
media@tc.gc.ca
613-993-0055

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