Understanding Transport Canada’s New User Fee for Pleasure Crafts

Transport Canada

Since last year, Transport Canada has announced a proposal to charge a fee on pleasure craft’s users to expand the number of them that require a licence and shorten the renewal period. The new implementation seeks to modernize Canada’s transportation laws, regulations, fees and services.

If you own a pleasure craft operating in Canada, it’s important to know how these new regulations will affect you in the near future and how you should proceed to comply with the government requirements.

Purposes And Objectives Of The New Fee

Transport Canada registers over 2.7 million licences in its database, but many contain outdated information. Lifetime non-renewable licences and 10-year renewal periods prove a problem to identify a craft’s owner in an emergency or when it is necessary to take action on wrecked or abandoned vessels. Shortening the renewal period from 10 to 5 years helps the database to keep updated and have better control of pleasure crafts operating in Canada.

Some Transport Canada services have been provided to individuals and industry free of charge while fees for other services have not been updated in over 20 years and therefore do not reflect the real cost to deliver those services. As a result, Canadian taxpayers are bearing a high proportion of the costs of providing services to transportation stakeholders

Transport Canada

Cost Of The Fee: How Much And Why?

It costs Transport Canada about $15.55 to process one pleasure craft licence transaction. The proposed fee is $15. The cost was set by considering this transaction cost, as well as how licensing services benefit individuals, what other countries charge for similar services and the economic profile of pleasure craft owners in Canada.

Transport Canada applied a series of pricing considerations to determine the proposed fee levels. The factors considered include:

  • Public-Private Benefit Assessment: Determines the level of benefit that accrues to users of pleasure craft licensing services versus the Canadian public generally
  • International comparison: Examines comparable jurisdictions to see what, if any, fees are charged for similar services under other regimes
  • Impact on users of pleasure craft licensing services: Assesses the impact fees would have on current and prospective Pleasure Craft Licensee holders

Helping The Environment

The proposed fee is not only for Transport Canada to transfer the cost of licensing from taxpayers to pleasure craft users. It also supports enforcement of The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (WAHVA), which is a key measure under the Government’s Oceans Protection Plan that aims to protect Canada’s waterways and marine ecosystem.  

The Act establishes compliance and enforcement regime for wrecked, abandoned, and hazardous vessels and strengthens vessel owner responsibility and accountability.

When Will The New Fee Apply?

Although there is no date of confirmation yet, the new fee regime is expected to come into force in fall 2022. Stay up to date with the news regarding the new fee for pleasure craft owners.