A Pleasure Craft Licence is a document issued by Transport Canada that shows the licence holder (boat owner or owners) and a unique licence number. The licence number is the same number located on the side of your boat near the bow. In Ontario, the licence number begins with the letters ON to show that the boat is licenced in Ontario.
Pleasure Craft Licences are obtained online through the Pleasure Craft Electronic Licencing System, or by mail. Until 2010, Pleasure Craft Licences were issued for a lifetime. Since 2010, Pleasure Craft Licences have been issued for 10 year periods at no cost to the boat owner. Any vessel powered by a 10 horsepower engine or higher must be registered.
Why is Transport Canada making changes to the Pleasure Craft Licencing Program?
The proposed changes to the Pleasure Craft Licencing program are part of Transport Canada’s effort to modernize transportation laws, regulations, fees and services.
According to Transport Canada, there are over 2.7 million Pleasure Craft Licences in their database but many contain outdated information making it difficult to identify the current owner of a vessel in an emergency. Also, pleasure craft licensing supports The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which helps protect Canada’s waterways and marine ecosystem. The new proposals will improve the quality and accuracy of vessel owner information in the database making it easier to identify owners of wrecked and abandoned pleasure craft.
Over 100,000 pleasure craft licensing service requests are processed each year at no cost to the boat owner. This means that the program is funded solely by Canadian taxpayers. Transport Canada analysis shows that it costs about $15.55 to process one pleasure craft licence transaction.
What are the proposed changes to Pleasure Craft Licencing Program?
You can read the proposed fees and ruled changes tor the Pleasure Craft Licencing Program at the Transport Canada website.
- Transport Canada is proposing a $15 fee to obtain, renew, transfer or duplicate a Pleasure Craft Licence. Transport Canada will have the authority to suspend or cancel a licence.
- Pleasure Craft Licences will be valid for 5 years instead of the previous 10 year period. Lifetime licences will be eliminated. For existing 10-year Pleasure Craft Licences, the new 5-year period will take effect at the end of the current 10 year period. Existing lifetime Pleasure Craft Licences will be switched to the new 5 year period in phases over 6 years, between 2022 to 2023 and 2027 to 2028. The proposed fee of $15 will work out to $3 per year.
- Transport Canada will begin sending reminder notices to Pleasure Craft Licence holders to let them know their licence is coming up for renewal when they are to be transitioned to the new 5 year period.
- The Small Vessel Regulations will include all pleasure craft with motors of 10 horsepower or more regardless of length. It will also include a pleasure craft above 6 metres in length regardless of motor size with the exception of human-powered boats such as canoes and kayaks.
- Transport Canada will reduce the time frame for owners to notify them of a name or address change from 90 days to 30 days. This includes buyers notifying Transport Canada of a sale or transfer of vessel.
- Transport Canada will allow for the easier cancellation of Pleasure Craft Licences.
- Transport Canada will process applications and send out licences within 5 business days of when a fully completed application is receiving including required documentation.
When will the proposals take effect?
Transport Canada will take into account the views of pleasure craft owners and other interested parties and will publish the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement with the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I in the spring/summer of 2021. It is expected that the new fee will come into force in fall 2022.