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Minister of Transport announces amendments to the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations

Press Release

From: Transport Canada

December 21, 2023

The safety and security of Canada’s marine transportation system is one of the Government of Canada’s highest priorities. Taking the views of Canadians into account plays a critical part of a transparent, modern, and streamlined regulatory regime.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, announced amendments to the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations to incorporate requests received in fall 2021. In total, 21 new vessel operation restrictions have been introduced for six waterways in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. These new restrictions apply to Big Tub Harbour, Ontario; Richelieu River, Quebec; St-Maurice River, Quebec; Duhamel Lake, Quebec; and Pinawa Channel and Lee River, Manitoba. Changes affect engine power limits, exemptions, technical requirements on signage, wake surfing, designation authorities, and administrative corrections.

Each year, Transport Canada receives numerous applications from municipalities and other recognized local authorities to impose or amend restrictions on boating activities and navigation on specific bodies of water. In response to requests for a simpler and more direct process for putting restrictions in place to address safety and environmental issues, Transport Canada is modernizing the process to make it faster, easier, and more effective for municipalities to submit these applications. The proposed changes would be presented for pre-publication in Canada Gazette, Part I, targeted for summer 2024. In addition, municipalities and Indigenous communities can now benefit from an accelerated process via a Ministerial order-making power. These measures will ensure that municipalities and Indigenous communities that have conducted all necessary consultations will be able to implement boating restrictions and keep local waterways safe.

Transport Canada is committed to working with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, and municipalities in managing and regulating their waterways, promoting free access for all Canadians while ensuring the safety of boaters and the protection of the environment.


“Local perspectives are critical to understanding how local waterways remain safe for all marine uses. By listening to the concerns of local communities, we ensure that the safety of Canadians is protected, which is one of our top priorities.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • The Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations, under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, provide for the establishment of restrictions on boating activities and navigation in Canadian waters to enhance safety and protect both the public interest and the environment.
  • In June 2023, the Government of Canada amended the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to provide the Minister of Transport with new statutory authorities with the goal of implementing and amending restrictions more rapidly than before. These amendments could also allow the Minister of Transport to implement restrictions to address pressing issues immediately.
  • The Minister of Transport has a mandate to protect the marine environment, while preserving commercial and recreational boating safety.
  • Transport Canada officials work in partnership with local authorities to address water safety concerns and risks to the environment by introducing measures to ad

Associated links


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa


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