Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (presentation and reporting requirements)

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Customs Act to exempt certain persons from the requirement to present themselves to a customs officer if

(a) they enter Canadian waters, including the inland waters, or the airspace over Canada on board a conveyance directly from outside Canada and then leave Canada on board the conveyance, as long as they did not land in Canada and the conveyance did not stop while in Canadian waters, including inland waters, or did not land while in Canada; or

(b) they leave Canadian waters, including the inland waters, or the airspace over Canada on board a conveyance and then re-enter Canada on board the conveyance, as long as they did not land outside Canada and the conveyance did not stop or land while outside Canada,

unless the officer requires them to comply with subsections 11(1) and (3) of that Act.

It also exempts the goods imported on board such a conveyance from the requirement to be reported at a customs office unless an officer otherwise requires. Further, it adds a regulation-making authority for defining the expression “make contact with a conveyance”.

Finally, this enactment amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by adding regulation-making authorities, including one for the exemption of certain persons or categories of persons from the requirement to appear for an examination to determine their right to enter or remain in Canada. It also allows an officer to require these persons or categories of persons to appear for such an examination despite that exemption.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

moved that Bill S-233, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (presentation and reporting requirements), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sarnia—Lambton for seconding this bill. I am here today to support a proposed amendment to the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to request the support of my fellow members in the House of Commons.

Bill S-233 aims to amend cumbersome and overly restrictive regulations to allow small pleasure craft to enter Canadian waters freely, so long as they do not intend to anchor or come ashore. As the regulations currently stand, American boaters who even knowingly drift into Canadian waters without reporting to the Canada Border Services Agency can face hefty penalties, which seem grossly disproportionate to the harm that is done. These include the immediate and permanent seizure of the vessel, humiliating physical restraints, and fines from $1,000 up to $25,000. The payment of such fines is often demanded on the spot with the threat of being towed to Canadian shores, and made to lie face down on the boat's floor for the duration of the trip. This is not how Canada should be treating our closest allies.

The current regulations found in the Customs Act were implemented during prohibition in order to stop the smuggling of alcohol across the Canadian border. An update is clearly long overdue as our rules should reflect the fact that we have made more than 80 years of progress toward the great relationship that we have with the United States today. Amending this legislation would not only strengthen our relationship with America but would also promote tourism to Canadian destinations by presenting Canada as a welcoming and fair destination. The U.S. already offers certain small crafts an exemption from formal reporting because such vessels are classified as low risk.

Canadians, therefore, are extended the trust to drift in and out of American waters, so long as they announce their intention to do so just once during the entire boating season. In contrast, many boaters from the United States feel unable to fish in certain regions out of fear that they might accidentally drift too close to the border and face severe penalties from Canadian authorities. Even in my own riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, long-time fishers and boaters have expressed frustration that they are unable to navigate the Thousand Islands waterway because Canadian laws are severe, unclear, and inconsistently applied.

Checking in currently requires either a trip to a CBSA checkpoint, which is costly in time and fuel, or the use of a cellphone, which is an unreliable service which has already resulted in the wrongful punishment of one family who made multiple attempts to call in, but still faced $3,000 in fines for what should have been a pleasant day on the water. Even when cellphone signals function offshore, which is far from guaranteed, boaters are not always spared from reporting to a checkpoint, an unnecessary inconvenience which often leads Americans to choose locations far from Canada's borders.

We share border waters with 10 states, in which more than 3.2 million small pleasure craft are registered, giving this bill the ability to have a positive impact on many lives, including those of Canadians. Not only do the boaters impacted aim to share our beautiful scenery, but they also contribute to our economy by purchasing Canadian fishing licences and encouraging travel to Canadian destinations. In fact, United States citizens purchased 331,327 Ontario fishing licences in 2015 alone. In this way, less restrictive regulations are of mutual benefit. The provinces receive extra funding and the tourism industry thrives on both sides of the border, all the while strengthening the relationship between Canada and the United States.

Unfortunately, our regulations have already done some damage. Americans who have already been subjected to the unfair treatment outlined in the Customs Act say they are no longer willing to buy Canadian fishing licences nor will they promote visiting our country at all, dealing damage to our tourism industry. In one such case, an American citizen, Roy Anderson, who had been fishing in Canada all of his life, was punished for breaking regulations he did not even know existed. After Anderson was heavily fined and briefly detained, he vowed that he would never again purchase another Canadian licence and stated that his friends would not even dare approach the border for fear of losing their boats or being subjected to massive fines.

Anderson even made the statement that, in his eyes, Canada clearly does not want Americans entering our country. Anderson's story appeared in the press dozens of times as Canadians and Americans alike criticized the actions of Canada Border Services Agency and repeatedly called on these regulations—which they viewed as antiquated, outrageous, and unfair to the American people who so kindly grant us access to their water—to be changed.

This is not the image of Canada that should be portrayed in the media. Canadians are kind, welcoming, and fair. We are not aggressors who feel the need to harass harmless fishermen on a day out with their families. We have a great country with many things of which to be proud. The media should have no shortage of happy and positive stories to write, but these stories are being overshadowed by policies that do not reflect the image of the Canada we know today. If we want the media to write kindly about us, we must always strive to give them reason to do so. With each story that portrays Canada in a negative light, fewer American citizens feel welcome in our country. We cannot stop the press from writing about us, but we can give it reasons to write kindly.

The first step is making things right in our own regulations and understanding that, if we do not change the way we treat our visitors, they are unlikely to continue coming back. As it is, businesses and fishing associations in Canada and the United States have already begun to complain about our treatment of U.S. citizens. The St. Lawrence River Walleye Association in New York State has expressed concern that our policies could put a serious damper on relations between our countries, as its members feel unwelcome and threatened by our current regulations. After hearing stories in the media, many fear drifting too close to the Canadian border and incurring fines that they cannot afford to pay. Many simply choose to stay home.

Similarly, Scott MacCrimmon of Ed Huck Marine in Rockport, Ontario, has called the regulations one more barrier to visiting the Thousand Islands and feels that our unwelcoming attitude toward American citizens is creating a division between the countries and preventing Americans from doing business in Canada at all. MacCrimmon stated that the frustration and confusion that stems from these regulations is harming relations between Canada and the United States. From his perspective, as Americans come to feel unwelcome in Canadian waters they are less likely to visit at all, a great source of concern for those working in the tourism industry who rely on seasonal visits from American citizens to stay afloat.

A number of Canadian chambers of commerce have also echoed these concerns, even pointing out the devastating impact that these regulations are having on their marketing efforts. The Gananoque chamber of commerce even stated that the proposed amendments would aid in the promotion of not only the Thousand Islands but every Canadian market town bordering the United States. It further stated that, given our 150th anniversary, Canada should be doing everything possible to promote our natural beauty, rich history, and cultural diversity.

We should therefore aim to be ever more accommodating and inviting to the southern neighbours who treat us so kindly. The days of prohibition are over, and it is also time that we do away with old regulations intended to solve an issue that is long gone. There is no longer any need to check every boat that happens to cross into our territory, and it is therefore excessive and unnecessary to make these requirements of American boaters. Small pleasure craft pose little to no threat to Canadian safety, so long as they steer clear of our shoreline. It is therefore imperative that we begin treating our American neighbours as friends and not criminals.

This bill has already passed the Senate of Canada. Senator Bob Runciman worked with the government on some of the technical amendments that it wanted to see in this bill. It did pass the Senate unanimously. I am looking forward to seeing this bill move through the House of Commons and on to committee in the hopes that we could see this bill through before our boating season gets into full swing. We know that we are coming up on the long weekend here, across Canada, and traditionally it is the start of the boating season, but it really gets into full swing as we move toward Canada Day. This would be a great way to celebrate Canada Day, to see this burdensome issue go away.

It really is an issue. We have Patty Ritchie, who is a New York State senator, who has come to also testify as a witness in front of the committee in the Senate, as I did myself. I really think it is overdue that this bill pass this House and that we get this fixed. Let us bring our legislation into 2017 and do away with regulations that do us no service.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the member across the way. I think we have hit on a really important issue, if we expand on it to bring in the idea of the importance of tourism to our country. We get a lot of Americans who fly in. There are all sorts of wonderful resources in Canada they enjoy tapping into. If there are things we can do to further enhance that, I think that would be positive. We have before us, as the member has accurately portrayed, a piece of legislation that will move us forward, I believe, on the issue.

I wonder if the member has any statistics he might be able to provide on the number of individuals or regions it would actually impact. I know that Manitoba has many waterways. Some say there are tens of thousands of rivers and lakes. Does he have any statistics he would like to share with the House?

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. First, what this bill does is harmonize the regulations we have with the United States. We have been doing a lot of work over the last number of years, as a country, to harmonize regulations with the United States.

This bill would not only affect people in my area of the country, along the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence, and the Thousand Islands, but would affect the Lake of the Woods area and the western border area between British Columbia and Washington state. It would also affect the St. Clair River and other boundary waters.

I think the key is, first, to harmonize those regulations with the United States, and second, to make sure Canada is seen in a positive light. As I said before, the current regulations have been inconsistently brought about, so they are not being implemented in a consistent fashion. It is really putting us in a bad light. I know there is negative press. I have seen it first-hand from our friends in upper New York state. This would put us in a much better light and should in fact drive more tourism into Canada.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, for sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

In my riding of Essex, I am surrounded by water, as our boundaries border with the U.S. on Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, as well as on Lake St. Clair. Boating, recreational fishing, commercial fishing, all of these things are incredibly important to the vitality of my region.

I think I just heard that the government will support this. That is a positive thing to be hearing from the other side of the House, because it impacts so many people, in particular in the summer months.

The member spoke a bit about the economic relationship we have at this moment in time with the U.S. This is an ideal opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship with the U.S. and have a win, really. I wonder if the member would speak to the way it could strengthen the economic and tourism relationship we share with our neighbours to the south.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, representing an area in southwestern Ontario, we have similar issues. Being welcoming and open to our American friends and showing that we want them to visit keeps us from getting into those negative stories. I know first-hand that friends on the U.S. side really saw us in a negative light. The media was quite horrible. It was really unnecessary, because it was something most Americans and Canadians thought they did not need to do. They did not think they needed to report as long as they did not land or anchor. By moving ahead with this change in our regulations, it will put us in a positive light. It would be great if we could see this finished up, in terms of the committee and through the House, before the House rises in June so that we no longer have to endure that negative press. Also, as I said before, this will be a great way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, just a short five or six weeks from now.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

TJ Harvey Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to speak to a subject matter important to many constituents in my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, New Brunswick, and highlight our Government's support for Senator Runciman's bill, Bill S-233. I would also like to congratulate my colleague, Senator Runciman, the office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and CBSA on their close collaboration and hard work to get the bill to this point.

Last, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes for sponsoring the bill in the House. I believe that the final result following amendments demonstrates a clear and cohesive bill.

I will provide a bit of background on this.

In December 2016, Senator Runciman introduced Bill S-233, the conveyance presentation and reporting requirements modernization act, to relieve persons on board conveyances, such as private boats, tour boats, cruise ships and private aircraft from having to report to the Canada Border Services Agency when they passed incidentally into or out of Canadian waters or airspace.

In several parts of Canada there are lakes and waterways that cross the Canada-U.S. border, not unlike my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac.

Currently, Canadian law requires that all boaters who exit Canadian waters, do not land on the American side, and make no contact with other vessels are required to report to CBSA upon returning to Canada. Many of these travellers live in New Brunswick and are my constituents. I have several hundred kilometres of border and it is dotted with small lakes and some large lakes. They are very low risk, from a CBSA perspective, and the reporting requirement creates frustration and confusion among boaters who often cannot tell where the international boundary line falls while on the water. It also creates increased workload for CBSA officers who could better use their time to examine higher risk travellers.

In the United States, boaters are only required to report their arrival to customs and border protection if they have docked at a foreign port, or have had contact with another vessel in foreign waters. Simple activities like fishing, water skiing or touring do not trigger reporting requirements so American rules do not require recreational boaters to report to U.S. CPB for similar activities.

The differences in American and Canadian reporting requirements have been a source of frustration, as my colleague had mentioned, for individuals and businesses in my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac. They either enjoy parts of their lives or make a living on our shared waterways along the border between New Brunswick and Maine. I have received many calls over the past year from constituents in my riding, declaring their concerns, especially concerning East Grand Lake and North Lake in the Forest City area, a place where, despite our international divider, individuals have formed friendships, family ties and share much more than the waterways in which their homes and cottages are built.

The bill's objective is to address this situation by exempting private boaters, or people on other water-borne craft, from having to report to the CBSA when crossing into or out of Canadian waters for fishing, sightseeing and other low-risk activities, pastimes that owners of pleasure crafts on the shared waterways enjoy doing on a daily basis on summer days in New Brunswick.

For private boaters, the passage of the bill will reduce confusion across the boating community and bring the benefit of a reduced reporting requirement, while also more closely aligning our marine reporting requirements with those of our US counterparts.

Eliminating the need to report to the CBSA would reduce the red tape and more closely align Canada's reporting process with those of our U.S. counterparts. This would streamline the movement of low-risk travellers and goods, without compromising our commitment to ensuring the safety and integrity of Canada's borders and protecting the health and safety of Canadians. This goes hand in hand with what my constituents have been asking for: continuity and consistency of enforcement along our border, with the focus being shifted away from friendly, everyday boaters and those who call the lake their home and onto more high-risk activities along our borders.

Let me walk my fellow parliamentarians through some of the bill's key aspects.

What is really key to the bill is that it proposes to both reduce burdens on, and thereby benefit, water sports enthusiasts and businesses in communities on both sides of the border.

People aboard boats, whether they are private, tour or cruise ships, will no longer be required to report to the CBSA in the following circumstances: when they do not land on Canadian soil, and when they do not let off existing passengers or take on board new passengers when in our waters.

The legislation's primary purpose is to ensure that private boats, or leisure boaters, who depart Canadian water but have not touched foreign soil or made contact with other vessels, do not have to report to CBSA customs upon their return to the Canadian shore.

Similarly, it will exempt American boaters who have no intention of touching Canadian soil or rendezvousing with another vessel in Canadian waters from having to report to the CBSA before they return to the United States. This bill also applies to aircraft that may cross unintentionally into Canadian airspace without landing.

To sum up, these changes make for streamlined reporting requirements to reduce the administrative burden on people crossing into and out of Canadian waters or airspace incidentally.

By more closely aligning our reporting processes with those of the United States, we are accommodating low-risk activities in a manner that respects our steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety and integrity of Canada's borders. On this point, let me emphasize that care has been taken to ensure that this bill's changes do not come at the expense of security.

While this is a positive step forward, I would be remiss if I did not mention the concerns that some people in my riding have voiced. They wonder if specific local examples such as the ones I will describe might be considered in the future.

The marina where individuals go to fill up their boats with gas on the shared waterways in my riding is on the Maine side of the water. This is where everyone gets fuel for boats and lawn mowers, other pleasure craft, and vehicles. This is the nearest fuel outlet. The alternative is travelling 45 minutes to transport large quantities of fuel, which is very unsafe for small vehicles.

It used to be that individuals would report in via phone upon pulling up to the marina to fuel up and then phone in again to report they were coming back to Canada. The phone is still available to report fuelling up, but when people finish fuelling, it is no longer possible to use it, because to return to Canada, they have to physically come back to the border to report.

This requires navigating a particular area or passage, which may be fine for jet skis and some boats at some points in the year when the water is fairly high, but it is extremely risky and dangerous for larger boats to navigate this narrow passageway, and there are lots of those around. Navigating this passage was not necessary when people could just phone in to report their return from the marina.

While it is recognized that border security is of the utmost importance, individuals are craving a solution. They want to revisit another means of reporting without navigating narrow, dangerous waterways.

I thank the House for the opportunity to share that local concern.

During the course of this bill's development, the upper chamber agreed to strengthen reporting exceptions and to make certain that the CBSA and its law enforcement partners would have everything they need to do their jobs effectively. As a result, amendments were made to apply the same set of newly proposed conditions under Bill S-233 to both loop movements—which are cross-border movements in and out of Canadian, foreign, or international waters that return to the same place of origin—and direct transits, which are cross-border movements from one location outside Canada to another location outside Canada, or from one location within Canada to another location within Canada.

These amendments specify that the vessel or aircraft must not take on or disembark people or goods and that the vessel or aircraft must not anchor, moor, land, or make contact with another conveyance.

In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has also confirmed that the reporting exceptions being brought forward would have no impact on their ability to fulfill their mandate.

As a result of these important consultations, along with the collaboration of hon. senators, I am confident that the measures in this bill would reduce burdens on individuals and businesses without sacrificing public safety.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Senator Runciman for bringing this legislation forward. Achieving two quite different objectives—facilitating legitimate low-risk activities and trade while maintaining the safety and security of Canadians—is not always easy to achieve. This is a great example of working across party lines in co-operation and collaboration to adapt this bill, resulting in a positive outcome for the boating community on shared waterways throughout Canada's borders along the U.S.

Bill S-233 does just that. To quote Senator Runciman:

This not only strengthens border security, because direct travel faced no such restrictions before, but it also simplifies reporting requirements.

It was also agreed that this bill, as it now does, must explicitly clarify that Border Services Officers would retain powers similar to those they have under both the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Customs Act. This means that CBSA officers could continue to require people to answer customs or immigration questions regardless of whether or not they are exempted from reporting. Whether it is necessary to verify a person's goods, work permits, or other immigration documents, or to compel an examination, under this bill officers would maintain their ability to enforce the CBSA's mandate and maintain border integrity.

Upon consultation, the CBSA has told us that the legislation would have limited operational impacts on their operations, as passengers aboard aircraft are already exempt from reporting when passing through Canadian airspace. Following an amendment in the Senate, the proposed legislation indicates that Canadian authorities would continue to have the authority to board and examine travellers and conveyances, if needed, to combat illicit activities and maintain border security.

Whether people are taking the shortest route between two destinations or whether they are fishing or pleasure-cruising, they would not need to report unless they anchor, moor, or land, or unless an officer makes a demand.

I am confident that Canadians will benefit from the streamlined and simplified system proposed—

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill S-233, an act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, regarding the presentation and reporting requirements.

I would like to begin by acknowledging the hard work of the member for Beloeil—Chambly, who serves as our critic for public safety. His great work in the House and his dedication to his riding has made me proud to have him as a colleague.

I am very pleased to see Bill S-233 come up for debate, and I am also grateful that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes has sponsored this legislation. I know the member is also the sponsor of his own private member's bill, Bill C-273, which is quite similar to Bill S-233. I have read Bill C-273 and I spoke with people in my riding about it a number of months ago.

My riding of Essex has many kilometres of shoreline along beautiful Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, and the issues that Bill S-233 seeks to address are certainly important to the concerns of the people that I was elected to represent. This legislation seeks to modernize Canadian requirements for boaters who cross from the United States into Canadian waters but who do not land, anchor, or moor.

Currently, people out fishing or pleasure cruising who cross into Canadian waters have an obligation to report to the Canada Border Services Agency, even if they have no intention of stopping or coming ashore. They are allowed to do so by phone or in person at one of the border security checkpoints. Those who do not report to CBSA can face hefty penalties, including the immediate and permanent seizure of their vessel, physical restraints, and fines of $1,000 to $25,000. These penalties seem grossly disproportionate to the harm done.

There have been media reports of American boaters unintentionally entering into Canadian waters, then being fined and forced to pay the fine on the spot to avoid having their boat seized. Every summer we see cases like this of people being fined. These stories spread and they deter both Americans and Canadians from enjoying our shared bodies of water and participating in activities that are important economic drivers for our communities, like in the town of Belle River, close to where I live.

This is why this legislation is so important to me. Essex is home to three significant bodies of water. To the north, we have Lake St. Clair, a freshwater lake that we share with Michigan. There are many boating and sailing clubs and marinas located along these shores, as the lake is very popular with recreational users. In fact, I live only a couple of blocks away from this beautiful lake.

To the west, we have the Detroit River, a heritage river that flows from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. It is an important transportation route and a major element of our international border with the U.S. It also played a significant role in the prohibition era, which contributed to our rum-running history, where liquor was frequently smuggled across the river into Detroit. In fact, we can still find many heritage homes with hidden rooms. Various books have been written about this interesting period in time.

To the south, we have Lake Erie, a beautiful Great Lake where fishing, agriculture, and tourism are all important economic activities for our region.

In the summer months, boaters from both sides of the border are active users of our shared bodies of water.

In Windsor-Essex, many of my constituents use I-68s, which are permits issued under the Canadian border boat landing program that is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The program allows boaters that are citizens or residents of Canada or the U.S. to enter or return to the U.S. by pleasure craft with only one inspection conducted by U.S. customs per year. People in Essex will apply each year at the beginning of the boating season. I-68s allow them to travel by pleasure craft within 25 miles of the shoreline along the U.S. border with Canada for up to 72 hours without being inspected. Without an I-68, boaters must present themselves for inspection.

However, Canada does not have a similar program that allows boaters to spend time on our shared bodies of water without worrying that they may have unintentionally crossed the border and are subject to a heavy fine for failure to notify CBSA. Instead, we have overly bureaucratic requirements that can be very frustrating for people in my riding of Essex as well as for other Canadian and American boaters.

Over the past year, many people have contacted my office with questions about the in-transit exemption and confusion over the reporting rules for Canadian boaters who enter U.S. waters, but do not anchor or touch shore, and then re-enter Canadian waters.

Sometimes people receive conflicting information, and from year to year, how authorities interpret and apply the rules seems to differ greatly. This lack of consistency is understandably frustrating for people who want to enjoy the water without fear of facing fines for inadvertently breaking the rules.

I am currently advising my constituents to get their NEXUS cards, report in with CBSA before re-entering Canadian waters, and ensure that all adults and children in the travelling party carry their proper identification. If the rules are not clear, people should contact CBSA or U.S. customs before they even head out onto the water.

As I have outlined, boating is an important activity for people in my riding, and the legislation we are debating today will have a direct impact on my region. Bill S-233 may not fix all the confusion or inconsistencies surrounding the rules for Canadian boaters, however, it makes important changes to modernize Canadian legislation, and ensure that our laws are effective in promoting the goals they were intended to.

I spoke earlier about the Detroit River and the region's rum-running history. Canadians may be surprised to learn that many of Canada's existing boating rules were put in place over 80 years ago during the prohibition era to stop the smuggling of alcohol through Canadian waters. Clearly, it is time to take a fresh look at the rules and modernize them to reflect today's realities and more closely align our requirements with our friends in the United States.

In fact, the existing rules have damaged our relationship with the U.S., and have negatively impacted Canada's tourism sector. I know this is true in my region of Windsor-Essex, as well as in my colleague's region of the Thousand Islands. People in my region have been working hard to convince our American boater friends to return to our marinas. After 9/11, there was a significant downturn in U.S. visitors. Our region has been working steadily to turn this trend around. More visitors means more economic benefits for our region.

I have discussed boating requirements with the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. It strongly supports legislative action that strengthens our marine industry and encourages American tourists to visit our region, which has so much to offer for other visitors. We have outdoor activities, including fantastic cycling trails and waterfront trails. Point Pelee National Park and Pelee Island are internationally renowned. Wine tours are a popular activity, as we are home to many different wineries that produce quality wines year after year. We have some great museums that chronicle our region's rich history, from the War of 1812 to the prohibition era and the Underground Railroad.

I speak often in this place about the strong trade relationship between Windsor-Essex and Detroit. People cross our border every day for work and play. Our regions and our economies are deeply integrated. However, the relationship is not static and we must always work to strengthen it in ways that benefit the people in our communities.

That is why I am pleased to offer my strong support for Bill S-233. It is time to remove the impractical, unnecessary reporting requirements for U.S. boaters. This is an important courtesy that we can extend to our American neighbours and that will no doubt benefit Canadian boaters and communities like mine in Essex.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActPrivate Members' Business

May 18th, 2017 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Tobique—Mactaquac and the member for Essex for their support for this bill.

The member for Essex rightly pointed out that I had introduced a parallel bill to Bill S-233 in the House, which was Bill C-273. Therefore, I am delighted to see support across party lines for this bill.

We do not need to have any more debate on this. We can move it on to the committee so members of the public safety committee can have a further look at it and then move it back to the House so we can have a debate at third reading.

I also want to thank the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for his work in finding the technical amendments that were required to see the government support this bill.

I do not think we need to do much more talking about this today. I want to thank everyone for their support for the bill.

Conveyance Presentation and Reporting Requirements Modernization ActRoutine Proceedings

May 3rd, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-233, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (presentation and reporting requirements).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill, seconded by the member for Sarnia—Lambton, into the House of Commons.

Bill S-233 proposes to enact amendments to the Customs Act that will exempt certain persons from presenting themselves to a customs officer if they are merely transiting through Canadian waters with no intention to stop. It has been passed by the Senate, and I hope members of the House will agree to pass the bill through this House to remove a major irritant along the border between Canada and the United States.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time)