Transport Canada proposes commercial river rafting regulations

    OTTAWA, Aug. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced proposed
Special-Purpose Vessels Regulations to establish comprehensive and consistent
standards for commercial river rafting across Canada.
    "These proposed regulations are an important step forward to help ensure
that a set of comprehensive and consistent standards protect participants in
commercial river rafting excursions across the country," said Minister Cannon.
"They also demonstrate Canada's New Government's commitment to ensuring the
safety of all Canadians on our waterways."
    The proposed regulations will establish minimum standards for commercial
river rafting, and apply them to all waters in Canada, instead of limiting the
regulatory regime to the waters specified in the Boating Restriction
Regulations. Therefore, all commercial river rafting requirements will be
contained in one regulation and provide a more effective and consistent
application of safety standards across the country.
    They will address such matters as vessel and safety equipment
requirements; operational requirements, such as the wearing of life jackets by
all participants; and the keeping of records for three years after an
excursion including the name(s) of the guide(s), the date of the excursion,
the number of passengers on the excursion, a geographical description of the
waters on which the excursion took place, the contents of the safety briefing
and a copy of the rescue plan.
    Additionally, they will ensure consistency in the Canada Shipping Act,
2001 (CSA 2001) which came into effect on July 1, 2007. This new Act replaces
the Canada Shipping Act as the principal legislation governing safety in
marine transportation and recreational boating, as well as protection of the
marine environment.
    More than 100 regulations were reviewed and updated in order to reflect
CSA 2001 authorities. Phase one of the regulatory review process will reform
regulations that do not align with CSA 2001, as well as those that have the
greatest impact on safety and the environment. Phase two will update
regulations that do align with CSA 2001, as well as those that are not
critical to the Act's entry into force.
    The proposed Special-Purpose Vessels Regulations are part of the second
phase of CSA 2001 regulatory reform. These regulations will set out the
requirements for the safe operation of commercial river rafting in Canada and
will replace the requirements for river rafting currently found in the Boating
Restriction Regulations.
    The proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on
Saturday, August 11, 2007. A 60-day response period follows, during which
interested parties may provide their comments to the department. After
consideration of all comments received, Transport Canada will finalize the
regulations and publish them in the Canada Gazette, Part II, at which time
they will come into effect.
    If you would like more information about the CSA 2001, please visit the
Canadian Marine Advisory Council website at A
backgrounder about the Act and how its supporting regulations apply to the
marine industry is also attached.


                          CANADA SHIPPING ACT, 2001

    The Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) is an updated and streamlined
version of the Canada Shipping Act, which dates back more than 100 years. The
CSA 2001 came into force on July 1, 2007. It is the principal legislation that
governs the activities of Canadian vessels in all waters, and of all vessels
in Canadian waters.
    The Act applies to a marine transportation industry that is as diverse as
the country it serves - from pleasure craft to fishing vessels, from tugs and
barges to lakers and cruise ships.
    The CSA 2001 is the result of extensive consultations with a wide range of
marine stakeholders. It will help the marine community to operate in a manner
that is safer, more efficient, environmentally sound, and responsive to the
needs of Canadians in a global economy.
    Throughout the reform process, Transport Canada will maintain the highest
possible standards in the important area of marine safety.

    The CSA 2001 regulatory reform has evolved in two phases

    In order to give full effect to the CSA 2001, more than 100 regulations
needed to be reviewed and updated. The regulatory review process has two

    - Phase one includes the reform of those regulations that did not align
      with the CSA 2001 as well as those that have a great impact on safety
      and the environment.
    - Phase two will update regulations that do align with the CSA 2001, as
      well as those that are not critical to the Act's entry into force. Work
      on phase two regulatory reform began once the Act came into effect.

    Changes included in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001

    The Canada Shipping Act reform began in 1997 and evolved on two tracks.
    Track One resulted in Bill C-15, which revised provisions dealing with
ship ownership, registration, and mortgages. It also added a preamble to make
the Act's objectives easy to understand and its content easier to interpret.
Bill C-15 received Royal Assent in June 2001.
    Track Two resulted in Bill C-14, which received Royal Assent on
November 1, 2001 as the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Now in force, its
provisions better protect and support crews, enhance passenger and vessel
safety, and better protect the marine environment.

    The Act itself has been simplified by:

    - including definitions only when the ordinary dictionary meaning has
      been narrowed or expanded;
    - removing technical details from the Act to simplify the legislative
      framework. They are placed in regulations, standards or other
    - using language that is clearer and much easier to understand; and
    - moving all liability provisions to the Marine Liability Act.

    The CSA 2001 authorizes the development of supporting regulations that
clarify and improve existing vessel safety requirements, environmental
protection, and personnel certification and training.

    Key regulations under Phase one Regulatory Reform include:

    Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations

    Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations are being introduced to
provide an alternative to judicial methods of enforcement. While new to the
marine sector, they have been used in the aviation sector for some time.

    Marine Personnel Regulations

    Marine Personnel Regulations ensure that ship owners employ sufficient
crew for the safe operation of vessels. They also ensure that crews are
trained and certified to perform their duties and are able to manage and
operate vessels. Newly added to these regulations are the "Maritime Labour
Standards," which establish the labour working conditions on vessels.

    Environmental Response Regulations

    Environmental Response Regulations deal with the prevention of and
response to marine spills from vessels and oil handling facilities. Response
organizations will need to be certified to enter into agreements with vessels
and oil handling facilities. These facilities will be required to have
prevention and response plans in place.

    Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals

    Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships and for Dangerous
Chemicals are designed to eliminate the deliberate, negligent, or accidental
discharge of ship-source pollutants into the marine environment. They also
promote the safe operation of chemical tankers.

    Small Vessel Regulations

    Small Vessel Regulations, 2007 address the safety needs of pleasure craft
of all sizes as well as all other small non-pleasure craft up to 15 gross
tonnage that are not fishing vessels.

    Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations

    New Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations provide an enhanced level of safety.
They require fishing vessels to be built and outfitted for safety, equipped
for emergencies and manned by competent crews.

    You can learn more about the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 reform at the
Canadian Marine Advisory Council website at

                                                              August 2007

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Nicole McNeely, Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613)
993-0055; Transport Canada is online at Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at and keep up-to-date on the
latest from Transport Canada; This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities

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