Customs Bill for Boaters Goes to Committee

May 03, 2017

Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today thanked parliamentarians for moving swiftly on Bill S-233 that will ease restrictive regulations on US 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,” Brown says. “I want to thank all my colleagues in the House for recognizing the urgency of passing this Bill before the summer boating season.”

He notes 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 1000 Islands, to do so without reporting to 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 during Second Reading 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 licenses 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.”

He notes 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 will 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.