Consultation on regulations amending the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (2019 submission)

Current status: Closed

Open on November 20, 2020 and will be closed on December 21, 2020.

The Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR) outline restrictions on the navigation and activities of vessels in Canadian waters.

Each year, Transport Canada receives applications from local authorities to set or update restrictions on navigation in order to make navigation safer, to protect the environment and/or to protect public safety.

We use this yearly process to update the regulations and make other minor changes.

We’re holding this consultation to get feedback from key stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, about:

  • changing subsections 10.1(1) and 12(1) to change the permit process for accessing a body of water with navigation restrictions
  • introducing new restrictions in the VORR schedules on three bodies of water at:
    • the new mouth of the Don River in Toronto, ON (Schedule 2)
    • Lac du Portage in Sainte-Paule, QC (Schedule 6)
    • Rivière Richelieu near Saint-Antoine, Saint-Denis, Saint-Marc and Saint-Charles (sur-Richelieu), QC (Schedule 6 and Schedule 7)
  • creating a new enforcement designation under section 16 for peace officers from the City of Edmonton

With respect to permits, we plan to add two new reasons for issuing a permit under subsection 10.1(1):

  • accessing a historical, cultural, ecological or geological site
  • supporting the construction and maintenance of infrastructure

To help us evaluate permit applications, we plan to add the following factors under subsection 10.1(1) and 12(1):

  • the protection of the public interest and the environment
  • the safe and efficient navigation of vessels
  • the type and size of vessel
  • the intended use of the vessel
  • the characteristics of the body of water

These changes would affect anyone who uses any Canadian body of water where a navigation restriction exists.

These proposed regulations amending the VORR are targeted to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in winter 2021, with a targeted publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II, for fall 2021, at which time it would come into force.

Join in: how to participate

If you would like to engage on the proposed regulations or have any questions, please contact Heidi Craswell at

Who is the focus of this consultation?

We’re interested in hearing from the public, and will also be inviting input from stakeholders who attend the Canadian Marine Advisory Council’s Standing Committee on Recreational Boating and the National Recreational Boating Advisory Council. These stakeholders include boating safety associations, police marine units, accredited course providers, Canadian and United States Coast Guards, businesses, and academics. We’ll also be consulting with Indigenous groups to make sure these changes don’t impact treaty rights.

Key questions for discussion

  1. What are your views on changing the permit process under subsections 10.1(1) and 12(1), particularly as it relates to the new purposes and factors being suggested?
  2. Are there issues you’d like to raise about the new restrictions being proposed on Lac du Portage, Rivière Richelieu or the Don River? If yes, please explain.
  3. Are there any other issues that we’ve missed, or general concerns that need to be addressed?

Contact us

Transport Canada
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks St.
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5

Telephone: 1-800-305-2059
Teletypewriter / TDD: 1-888-675-6863
Fax: 613-991-4818