Boating Bill Goes to House of Commons Committee

Posted by St. Lawrence News (Inside Brockville)

Gord Brown is thanking parliamentarians for moving swiftly on a bill that would ease restrictive regulations on American pleasure boaters in Canadian waters.

“The bill has moved through second reading Thursday evening and will now go on to committee where I hope it will receive swift passage back to the House,” the MP for Leeds-Grenville — Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes stated. “I want to thank all my colleagues in the House for recognizing the urgency of passing this bill before the summer boating season.”

Brown noted in a release that after committee the bill will come back to the House for third reading and, if it passes, it will only await royal assent to become law. “The bill has already passed through the Senate,” says Brown.

The bill, among other things, would allow people who are transiting Canadian waters, such as in the Thousand Islands, to do so without reporting to Canada Customs. Currently, such boaters must call in to customs which often delays their trip.

“It discourages people from even coming close to shore and, in fact, many US boaters are afraid to be close to the border in case they cross over and are suddenly subject to Canadian rules,” explains Brown.

In his speech to the House of Commons during second reading on Thursday, May 18, Brown said: “We share border waters with 10 states, on which there are over 3,200,000 small pleasure craft that are registered, giving this bill the ability to have a positive impact on many lives, including those of Canadians. United States citizens purchased 331,327 Ontario fishing licences in 2015 alone.

“In this way, less restrictive regulations are of mutual benefit. The provinces receive extra funding and the tourism industry thrives on both sides of the border, all the while strengthening the relationship between Canada and the United States.”

The Conservative MP notes in the release that if boaters can transit our waters they may be encouraged to come to shore, at which point they will have to report to customs.

The bill would also assist companies such as whale watchers who can now enter international waters without leaving their vessel and return to Canada without having to check in with customs.