Senator hoping for quick passage of boating bill
OTTAWA, January 31, 2017 - Senator Bob Runciman is hoping a new bill before the Senate to streamline the rules for reporting to Customs for boaters along the international border can become law before the 2017 boating season.
Runciman spoke at 2nd Reading of Bill S-233 in the Senate chamber this afternoon, where he explained that the bill - which amends the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - will exempt boaters who cross into Canadian waters from reporting to Canada Customs, provided they don't drop anchor or arrive on shore.
The bill will be of particular significance in the Thousand Islands, Runciman said.
"The border zigs and zags around various islands. It is not marked," Runciman explained. "And in many instances, it's virtually impossible for boaters to know which side of the border they are on at any given time."
Runciman said the catalyst for his bill was an incident in 2011 when Canada Border Services Agency officers charged an American fishermen who strayed into Canadian waters near Gananoque for failing to report. His boat was seized until he paid a $1,000 fine, which was later reduced to $1 after a storm of protest on both sides of the border.
Since then, Americans have been wary of crossing into Canadian waters and Runciman said he believes it has hurt the economy of a tourism-dependent region.
"It would be one thing if the reporting requirements as written enhance Canada's border security. But in this case, they do not... If anything, the current reporting requirements are a threat themselves, by taking CBSA officers away from more pressing matters to deal with calls from these boaters," Runciman said.
For more information, please contact: Barry Raison
Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Bob Runciman's Office
(613) 943-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org