Senator Bob Runciman - Ontario - Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes

News Updates


OTTAWA, June 13, 2017 – Senator Bob Runciman’s bill to ease Customs reporting requirements for boaters is throughParliament and is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law next week.

The House of Commons adopted the bill Monday, with a minor amendment to correct a printing error. The Senate voted Tuesday to accept the amendment, meaning the only step left is Royal Assent.

The bill amends the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to exempt boaters who cross into Canadian waters from reporting to Canada Customs, provided they don’t land, anchor, moor or come into contact with another vessel.

“This is great news for boaters and for the tourism industry of border communities across Canada,” Runciman said. “It will help Americans and Canadians alike and I could not be happier that it will become law in time for the boating season.”

Runciman credited Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Gord Brown with moving the bill quickly through the House of Commons.

“Gord’s long experience as MP and his position of Chief Opposition Whip were critical in ensuring this much-needed common-sense legislation was passed before MPs rose for the summer break,” Runciman said.

Boaters proceeding directly from one place outside Canada to another place outside Canada don’t need to report to Customs, but boaters who are just out pleasure cruising or fishing are required to check in as soon as they enter Canadian waters – an impractical requirement in areas such as the Thousand Islands, where it sometimes isn’t even clear which side of the border you are on.

Under Bill S-233, reporting will not be required for Americans who enter Canadian waters or for Canadians who leave and then re-enter Canadian waters, provided they remain onboard and their boat didn’t land, anchor, moor or make contact with another vessel while outside Canada. This exemption from reporting will be useful for whale-watching expeditions that venture into international waters.

The bill provides Canada Border Services Agency officers with the discretionary power to compel boaters to report in order to protect border security.

“The practical effect is that you aren’t required to report when you enter or re-enter Canadian waters, unless an officer asks you to,” Runciman said. “This is a much more sensible approach to border enforcement.”

This is the third bill of Runciman’s to become law, while a fourth passed the Senate, but remains before the House of Commons.

For more information, please contact: Barry Raison

Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Bob Runciman’s Office

(613) 943-4020 or

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