What we heard: Public consultation on modernizing fees for Transport Canada’s vessel registry services

From August 13, 2021 to January 25, 2022, Transport Canada held a public consultation on changes we’ve proposed for our vessel registry services. This report summarizes what we heard during this public consultation.

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Our consultation approach

On August 13, 2021, Transport Canada published a document that describes the changes we’ve proposed for our vessel registry services.

To seek comments and feedback, we:

  • emailed a link to the online consultation to people and organizations on the Canadian Marine Advisory Council's email distribution list
  • presented the proposed changes at the November 2021 National Canadian Marine Advisory Council’s:
    • Standing Committee on Recreational Boating
    • Standing Committee on Domestic Vessel Regulatory Oversight
    • Standing Committee on Fishing Vessel Safety
    • Standing Committee on the Environment
  • presented the proposed changes at a virtual engagement session with Inuit organizations on January 25, 2022

To get feedback from the public, we also promoted the consultation on social media.

During the consultation, we received 17 comments from:

  • Canadians
  • a ferry operator
  • an Inuit regional government, and
  • a Métis group

Transport Canada also held a consultation on a regulatory charge (fee) for a vessel remediation fund at the same time. Read the What We Heard report from this consultation.

Feedback grouped by theme

The themes from this feedback are listed below, in no particular order.

Proposed fees

A participant was concerned that the proposed fees could negatively affect small businesses. Participants made the following suggestions:

  • exempt inland vessels operated by camps, tourism businesses and outfitters from the proposed fees
  • exempt commercial vessels under 8 metres from vessel registration requirements
  • reduce the fee to register a small vessel and extend the registration period
  • phase in proposed fees over time to accommodate small businesses

Pleasure craft owners can choose to register their vessel to get a proof of ownership or license their vessel which doesn’t prove ownership. A participant asked why Transport Canada wants to charge $15 to license a pleasure craft but charge a higher fee if the owner chooses to register the same pleasure craft instead. Another participant noted that while setting the fees, we should consider the high cost of living in some regions.

One participant indicated that the proposed fees align with what other countries charge for similar services.

One participant suggested that part of the fee be used as a deposit to address problem vessels (wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels). This participant suggested that the deposit be returned when a vessel is scrapped or sold in a responsible way or forfeited if the vessel is involved in any ship-source pollution or at-fault incidents. Another participant noted that the changes we’ve proposed to the Vessel Registry would have a limited ability to address problem vessels.

Renewal process for the Large Vessel Register

One participant supported the changes we’ve proposed for the renewal process. Another participant supported extending the validity period for large vessel registrations. This participant also suggested that we better communicate these proposed changes. Another participant asked how information about vessel registry will be communicated, like in regions with no Transport Canada offices, and wanted to know how we will make sure that vessel owners register their vessels.

One participant suggested we streamline the renewal process and to allow fleets of vessels to be renewed on a single date via a single application.

Service standards

One participant called for same-day vessel registration services. The participant noted that many countries offer same-day service for registering or deleting vessels and registering mortgages. This participant also mentioned that longer service standards can increase a commercial operators’ costs, which could make registering in the Canadian Large Vessel Register “uncompetitive” when compared with other countries.

Next steps

Comments received through this consultation have been recorded and will be considered as we develop the regulations.

The next consultation will occur when the proposed changes are pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part I.

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