Absolutely. Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee.
On behalf of the entire recreational boating industry and community, thank you for the opportunity to be here before you today on Bill C-64.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association, known as NMMA, is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry at the national level across Canada and the United States. Our member companies produce more than 80% of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories, and gear used by North American boaters.
NMMA, through regional efforts, also represents marina operators, dealers, and finance and insurance companies. In Canada, the recreational boating industry generates $10 billion in revenues, contributes $5.6 billion to the national GDP, and employs more than 75,000 people across the country. More than 4,000 businesses serve approximately 12.4 million adult Canadians who enjoy boating each year on our waters.
We place great importance on ensuring marine safety, preserving marine ecosystems, and promoting improvements to environmental stewardship. Therefore, NMMA is largely supportive of the proposed legislation and of the oceans protection plan.
As an indication of our commitments to these causes over the last 20 years, marine manufacturers across North America have invested billions of dollars to develop cleaner, quieter, more efficient engines that reduce emissions by 75% to 90% and increase fuel efficiency by more than 40%. In 2010, NMMA stepped up in a big way and worked on a voluntary basis with Environment Canada to develop new regulations requiring that engines sold in Canada meet U.S. EPA standards.
Each year, we publish statistics on the total number of boats sold, and for the committee's interest, in 2017 there were 39,000 new boats and 61,000 pre-owned boats sold across Canada. We estimate there are approximately 8.6 million recreational boats in use today, with over 50% of those being human powered with no engines.
NMMA is committed to a strong and enforceable licensing program and welcomes the opportunity to see an expanded and enhanced registration process. Having accurate data will help address the abandoned vessels issue and safety, while also providing valuable data for the boating industry.
Should Transport Canada enlist provincial assistance to deliver a new licensing program, we recommend that every effort be made to ensure a seamless delivery framework that includes consistent pricing regardless of province or territory. As a side note, I believe there are representatives from the insurance industry who may have good insight into this topic, and I would be pleased to facilitate an opportunity to enlist their expertise.
While NMMA is supportive overall of the provisions of the bill, we do have one fundamental concern. We appreciate that the legislation was written to encompass all vessels, and we appreciate that many of the boats needing cleanup are recreational. I do stress the importance of ensuring that, as regulations are developed, commercial vessels are treated differently from recreational boats. Disposing of a commercial vessel is a more complicated and expensive task than it is for a recreational boat.
Our industry wants to ensure the burden of cost is not disproportionately placed on recreational boats. Should any levies or taxes be imposed on recreational boats through licensing, these funds should be used to support disposal of recreational boats specifically.
Our association will continue helping identify solutions on this topic. We have applied for funding under Transport Canada's abandoned boats program, and our goal would be to reach across the nation to identify the size of the problem and then consider recycling options. Part of this solution may exist outside of Canada.
NMMA has taken a leadership role on the international stage on this and many other boating issues, much of this facilitated through the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, on whose executive committee I serve as Canada's representative. This global organization brings together recreational marine industry associations under one international umbrella, engaging proactively on the topic of end-of-life of boats and how best to expand recycling options by sharing best practices.
There are some sound recycling solutions in places like France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Japan, just to name a few. I'd be pleased to share these learnings with Transport Canada and the committee, so that we don't work in a silo in Canada on this global topic.
We applaud the government for introducing Bill C-64, and we will continue to provide assistance and support as the bill moves forward.
Thank you for the time today and for the invitation to be here.