Gord Brown introduces pleasure craft Bill for transiting foreign vessels

May 18, 2016

Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today introduced a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons that will permit foreign owned pleasure craft to transit Canadian waters without reporting to Canadian customs.

“I am pleased to introduce this Bill that will let US boaters in particular transit Canadian waterways without having to call into customs,” says Brown. “This would allow US boaters the same privileges that Canadian boaters already have in US waters.”

The Bill will allow boaters who do not plan to stop or anchor in Canada, to navigate through Canadian waters without reporting to customs.

This has been an issue in the summer time, explains Brown, and he has heard from marina owners, several local associations, and private citizens about this rule. It was on the agenda of the previous government but was lost at the election. 

“It affects us here along the St. Lawrence River, in the Great Lakes and along the coasts,” he explains.

“The river is there for all to enjoy,” says Thornley Stoker, president of the Thousand Islands Association.  “Notwithstanding that it also holds an international border, users shouldn’t be burdened with cumbersome rules. I think I can speak on behalf of all residents of the area and say this will be good for business.”

For example, it will allow boaters from Alexandria Bay to cruise past Rockport, Ivy Lea and Gananoque before heading back across the border to Clayton and Alexandria Bay.

“Who knows how many of those boaters would stop in and visit while they are on such a cruise?” Brown asks. “Currently they are being discouraged from even attempting such a tour just because of an awkward rule.” 

It will also prevent confusion on the part of those who are drifting or fishing if they accidently cross into Canada from the US while enjoying a leisure activity and eliminate confusion for those using narrow water routes such as the International Rift.