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Updated: 14th November 2019 04:49 Calgary

Canoe, kayak registration rule dropped

The federal government is taking immediate steps to change the law requiring people to register their canoes and kayaks.

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Canoes and kayaks won't have to be registered after all, Transport Minister Chuck Strahl said in Calgary on Thursday. A registration exemption for human-powered watercraft expired last fall. (Ted Grant)

The federal government is taking immediate steps to change the law requiring people to register their canoes and kayaks.

An exemption from registration for human-powered vessels expired last fall, causing some confusion about whether or not small watercraft had to be signed up.

Transport Minister Chuck Strahl said in Calgary on Thursday the government heard complaints from camping and scouting organizations that didn't support registration for the canoes and kayaks.

Strahl said the strength of that lobby convinced him to drop the requirement.

"They made a very strong case for removing the current requirement for mandatory registration for canoes and kayaks. They told us the registration process… was burdensome, it was complicated, it was open to misinterpretation and we don't believe frankly that Canadian boaters should have to face onerous regulations to go canoeing and kayaking," Stahl said.

"This clarifies it so that people can just go out and enjoy the water, and you can do your business without having to look over your shoulder."

Strahl said camps or canoe clubs can choose to register all of their vessels for $50 for five years, and in so doing help trace the boats in case of theft.

Any small craft with an engine output of more than 10 horsepower will still have to be registered, he said.

"We're relieved to hear it," said Tony Palmer, a representative of Paddle Canada on hand at the announcement. "There were five different forms that needed to be completed, one of which was a tonnage calculation.

"Really all the legislation is aimed at big freighters and commercial vehicles like that and they were trying to shoehorn canoes and kayaks into that, and it just doesn't fit."

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