Friday, January 21, 2011
Response from Chuck Strah, Minister of Transport.
This past November we sent an
open letter to the Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport to congratulate
him and Transport Canada for moving ahead with tighter regulations and training
measures to ensure greater boating safety in Canadian waters.
Here is his response:
Re: National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program
Dear Mr. Dupel:
Thank you for your correspondence of November 17, 2010, regarding your support for
the improvements Transport Canada is making to the National Pleasure Craft Operator
It is with great pleasure that Transport Canada acknowledges the feedback, input,
support, and cooperation of many stakeholders, including the five Course Providers
that you represent, in bringing about these significant and timely improvements.
As you know, the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program has experienced
many issues and challenges since its inception in 1999. However, through a strategy
of iterative and transparent consultations, Transport Canada is attempting to address
both stakeholders’ and the public’s concerns with strong measures that put the emphasis
back on high-quality boating safety education for all.
Transport Canada firmly believes that the recent enhancements, including the new
Boating Safety Course and Test Syllabus, the new national database, and the new
Internet standard, together with the implementation of new and improved boating
safety tests and the Internet process slated for implementation in spring 2011,
will go a long way to strengthen the foundations upon which the Program was built.
This includes the fundamental belief that increasing boating safety knowledge across
the recreational boating population would ultimately result in safer waters.
These improvements are particularly important in a time when the popularity of recreational
boating appears to be on the rise. In fact, many of the enhancements to the Boating
Safety Course and Test Syllabus, and the need to ensure online testing is connected
to an actual learning process, is due in part to emerging concerns associated with
increased recreational boating in traditional commercial shipping lanes. Transport
Canada needed to have a higher level of assurance that passing a test to obtain
the Pleasure Craft Operator Card was truly reflective of possessing the necessary
boating knowledge to operate safely on shared waterways.
I would like to thank you for your support and feedback during the consultations
leading to the improvements now being made to the National Pleasure Craft Operator
Competency Program. In particular, the new boating tests Transport Canada will launch
in April 2011 are due, in large part, to the participation of four of your companies
in the National Test Assessment Project earlier this year, in which the new boating
safety tests were piloted: AAA Boating Safety Standards, BOATERexam.com®, the Safe
Boater Training Program, and Forensic & Nautical Consultants of Canada Inc.
Your interest in helping to implement a higher-quality boating safety test resulted
in about 1,700 of your clients across the country taking the pilot test, providing
Transport Canada with statistically significant information to move forward with
a new and improved test that meets education standards for validity and reliability.
This is a significant step forward in ensuring that all boaters who pass a boating
safety test in the future have the required level of knowledge that is implied by
the Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
I am personally appreciative of the tremendous level of commitment you have shown
through reaching over one million recreational boaters through your companies’ activities
since the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program was implemented in
1999, and I am particularly appreciative of the commitment you have made to continue
to work cooperatively with Transport Canada to implement these important program
enhancements, which will no doubt help achieve our common goal of safer waterways
for all Canadians.
Again, thank you for writing.