The Federation appeared before the House Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities earlier today to testify on proposed amendments to the Pilotage Act that are part of Bill C-97, the omnibus Budget Implementation Act.  The proposed amendments represent an important step in the Pilotage Act review process that Transport Canada launched in 2017 under the chairmanship of Marc Gregoire and which culminated in the issuance of a final report containing a series of recommendations for change in May 2018.

The Federation’s primary message to the Committee was that the changes proposed under Bill C-97 will provide a solid basis from which to continue the much-needed task of modernizing Canada’s pilotage service (which is particularly crucial in a context where the Pilotage Act has remained largely frozen in time since being passed in 1972), and that every effort should therefore be made to pass the amendments into law as soon as possible.

Our comments also expressed strong support for the addition of a new “purpose and principles” clause to the Act, which will play an essential role in directly shaping how pilotage services are delivered and enforced.  Given the importance of this clause, we proposed a handful of amendments that would further support the system’s ability to ensure transparency and accountability, and operate in a manner that is efficient, cost-competitive, responsive to user needs and delivers continuous improvement of service.

Given that a key element of the proposed amendments is to consolidate the regulatory framework governing pilotage under Transport Canada, we also took the opportunity to highlight the importance of ensuring that Transport has the necessary tools to deliver in terms of regulatory development, while also ensuring that the Pilotage Authorities are provided with the necessary management tools to remain effective – particularly in their dealings with pilots.

The text of the Federation’s comments to the Committee can be found HERE.