Canadian Government streamlines waterway access process

In October, the Canadian federal government announced a streamlined process to enact restrictions on the use of recreational boats on its waterways. Under this new process, the Minister of Transport has the authority to issue interim restriction orders upon receiving a request from other levels of government, including municipalities. The federal government is temporarily availing themselves of this power while they engage in longer-term consultations on Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR).

Previously, any municipality or local government that wished to pursue regulatory restrictions had to navigate a lengthy process involving multiple consultation phases through the Canada Gazette process. With these interim measures, local authorities can submit their request—in accordance with a guide that outlines the consultation process that must be followed—and receive an interim order for a length of two years.

As part of these measures, municipalities and local governments could work to implement restrictions on recreational boating much faster than before, including constraints on speed, operating hours or access.

NMMA Canada has met with government officials and received assurance that the federal government will not be transferring power to local authorities on these matters. NMMA Canada was also advised there is no coordinated push for outright bans on recreational boating on any waterways, but that the concerns are more related to issues such as noise at certain hours of the day, wake-zones and safety matters.

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