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Proposed Transport Canada Changes

Authored by David Spencer
December 4, 2023


Transport Canada has primary regulatory authority over navigation and the operation of vessels on Canadian water.  This is appropriate and in line with the constitutional authority of the federal government over Canadian waters.  Transport Canada is considering providing provinces and municipalities with a greater role in managing waterways.  This could result in waterfront property owners influencing municipalities to restrict or ban anchoring in, or transit through some Canadian waterways enjoyed by GLCC members for many years. After consultation with the Executive Committee and a few others, the GLCC has submitted our comments about the proposed changes to Transport Canada.



From time to time, Transport Canada is approached by provincial or municipal governments seeking specific Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORRs) that would apply to that local area.  Some speed restrictions and a limited number of "no powered vessel" lakes come to mind as examples of VORRs now in place that are reasonable and appropriate. 


Transport Canada posted this intentions paper on their website proposing to provide provinces and municipalities with a greater role in managing their waterways.  They are seeking input from the public through this Transport Canada webpage


We think that the proposed changes are primarily intended to allow municipalities to regulate excessive speed, excessive wake and excessive noise from PWCs, surf wake boats and other towed sport boats that are a problem in some areas.  However, it doesn't take much imagination to foresee a situation where waterfront property owners could band together and have their municipal government introduce restrictions (VORRs) that would ban anchoring in some areas.  It’s also easy to see how a patchwork of locally initiated restrictions could make it difficult for cruising boaters to adhere to different regulations in each individual municipality. 


The GLCC is not primarily an advocacy group but we thought this issue merited our attention.  We submitted the attached letter to Transport Canada on December 4, 2023.  The internet can be a funny place so I redacted some of the personal contact information but anyone is welcome to contact me on this subject… you know how to reach me through the membership directory. 


Members of the GLCC were encouraged study this proposal and submit their own views to Transport Canada by posting comments on their website , by participating in a survey on the same site or by submitting comments to the email listed on the site.  The commenting period was open from October 12 to December 11, 2023 and is now closed.


David Spencer

Rear Commodore – Georgian Bay, The North Channel and Canadian Lake Huron.