Research Summary - Regulatory Analysis

  • As part of the Pilotage Act Review

Transform Management Consulting

December 2017

Transform Management Consulting was retained by the Canadian Pilotage Authorities working with Transport Canada to complete an analysis of the General Regulations and Tariff Regulations of each Authority to identify similarities and differences. The following is a summary of the major findings of this analysis.

Structure and Content of Regulations

The structures for each of the Authorities’ General Regulations and Tariff Regulations are different, but their content and definitions of terms are generally consistent. Each Authority has defined its compulsory pilotage areas in a comparable format, but different requirements apply to each of these compulsory pilotage areas or districts.


  • Some of the more significant similarities among the Regulations include:
  • Ships that are not subject to compulsory pilotage include Canadian government ships, fishing vessels, ferries on a regular schedule and small tugs.
  • Compulsory pilotage waivers are provided by all Authorities for ships engaged in a rescue or seeking refuge; ships in distress; certificate holder on board; and no pilot available but the master / deck watch is familiar with the route and traffic control systems.
  • Notices to provide a pilot are generally 12 hours for all Authorities, but with some variances depending on specific situations or locations.
  • More than one pilot can be required by each Authority to pilot a ship due to specified conditions.
  • Pilotage certificates for specific areas/districts are issued by all Authorities using similar criteria, but some have conditions for ship size.
  • All Authorities issue pilot licences, but their Class criteria differ either by pilotage area or size of ship, and endorsements based on the areas/districts for which a pilot is qualified, as well as other conditions that can be stipulated.
  • Most of the Authorities have similar or identical pilot qualification requirements including meeting the federal General Pilotage Regulation requirements, being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and speaking and writing English.
  • All Authorities require pilotage examinations and the examination questions include similar subject matter.
  • The size and composition of the Board of Examiners varies somewhat by Authority.
  • All Authorities provide for on board apprentice training under the supervision of a licensed pilot.
  • Most Authorities require existing licence or certificate holders to take further training to meet qualifications where appropriate.
  • Most Authorities require a specified minimum number of trips and/or dockings for a holder to maintain their qualifications, but the specific requirements differ by Authority.
  • All Authorities have similar or identical definitions for an incident or marine occurrence and they all have specific reporting requirements.
  • Charges for pilot boats or other means of transporting pilots vary, but most are based on reimbursements for fuel costs.
  • Most Tariff Regulations stipulate charges for multiple pilots, movage, docking, undocking, detention, delays and cancellations.


Some of the most important differences among the Regulations include:

  • The criteria used to define ships subject to compulsory pilotage vary widely among the Authorities based on tonnage and/or length.
  • Notice periods for departures and movages vary among Authorities.
  • A few of the Authorities require pilots in some districts to speak and write both French and English.
  • All Authorities charge fees for licences and certificates, but they differ significantly ranging from $50 to $500.
  • The fees for examinations vary by Authority ranging from $250 to $2,000 with a typical fee of about $500.
  • All Authorities require the specified experience listed in the federal General Pilotage Regulations and each then provides additional experience criteria based on either local knowledge, number of trips, or completion of training courses.
  • Pilotage Units are defined by each Authority, but they vary significantly as follows:

    The Atlantic Pilotage Authority and the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority use identical calculations, but Great Lakes Pilotage Authority applies a Weighting Factor to the Pilotage Unit result. The Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Pacific Pilotage Authority each use very different calculations from the others.

  • The calculation of charges varies materially between the Authorities; a generalized summary of the method used by each Authority is listed below and charges vary by area/district:
    • Atlantic Pilotage Authority: (Pilotage Unit x Unit Charge) + Basic Charge
    • Laurentian Pilotage Authority: subject to the minimum charge; (Pilotage Unit x Charge per unit) + (Draught x Number of Hours x Charge per Time Factor)
    • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority: (Basic Charge x Ship Weighting Factor) + Specified Charge
    • Pacific Pilotage Authority: (Pilotage Unit x Unit Charge) + Time Charge
  • Charges for pilot travel and other expenses vary significantly between Authorities; the range of options is from fixed charges, actual costs and only charging for specific situations or locations.
  • The Authorities’ Tariff Regulations contain different surcharges, and all are time limited as follows:
    • Atlantic Pilotage Authority: 1.5% for 3 years (ends March 2020)
    • Laurentian Pilotage Authority: none
    • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority: 5% until end of 2018
    • Pacific Pilotage Authority: $100 on each pilotage charge until end of 2018