Thank you very much.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk to you about the proposed amendments to the Pilotage Act included in Bill C-97.
Marine pilotage is essential to ensuring safe navigation and preventing marine incidents and thus to protecting coastal environments. Much of the Pilotage Act has remained largely unchanged since it was created in 1972. An independent review of the act completed in spring 2018 under the oceans protection plan identified the need to modernize the legislation.
Building on the review's recommendations, the amendments in Bill C-97 would strengthen the safety, efficiency and transparency of Canada's pilotage system.
Let me begin with the amendments that would improve the safety regime. The act currently creates a system in which each pilotage authority is responsible for both delivering the services, on the one hand, and regulating pilotage requirements and enforcement, on the other.
Amendments transferring responsibility for developing regulations from the pilotage authorities to the minister of transport would separate the regulatory and service delivery roles and establish a nationally coherent pilotage system aligned with the Canadian marine safety and security regime.
The minister would also be responsible for issuing licences and certificates and for the oversight and enforcement of the pilotage system. The enforcement regime would be enhanced, bringing it into line with other marine safety legislation.
The reinforced compliance system would include administrative monetary penalties, which would allow Transport Canada officials to conduct regular oversight and to work with stakeholders to ensure compliance, and maximum fines would be increased for summary convictions for more serious contraventions, along with possible prison terms.
Furthermore, the minister would obtain the authority to issue interim and exemption orders and direction to pilots to deal with exceptional circumstances and promote innovation.
Where efficiency is concerned, the act currently requires pilotage authorities' fees to be set in regulations, resulting in unnecessary administrative burden and delays. The amendments would allow the pilotage authorities to directly set tariffs without regulations, subject to requirements for consultation and a process for stakeholders to submit objections to the Canadian Transportation Agency.
To augment transparency, the act would prohibit pilots, users or suppliers of pilotage services from being on pilotage authorities' boards of directors.
Furthermore, service contracts between pilotage authorities and pilots' corporations would be made publicly available, as these have implications for other stakeholders.
Amendments would prevent regulatory matters from being addressed in those service contracts, to ensure that regulations are established based on a thorough assessment of risks and consultation.
A new purpose and principles section in the act would increase national consistency and clarify the pilotage mandate. Moreover, arbitrators would be required to consider these principles in final offer selection processes between pilotage authorities and pilot corporations.
In conclusion, the proposed amendments address the most significant issues identified in the Pilotage Act review. The amendments provide for a stronger, modernized pilotage system with increased national consistency and greater efficiency and accountability.
I would like to thank you for your time, and I welcome any questions on these proposed legislative amendments.