2011 April 15 The Canadian government increased the requirements for getting a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to improve boating safety. The test was standardized, with 50 questions set by the government. Students using an online exam must spend at least 3 hours studying the course material before writing the exam.
2009 September 15: Deadline for all boater operators to carry proof of competency after ten years of phasing in the program.
2007: Transport Canada announced plans to tighten testing standards. Only two million Canadian boaters have cards.
2006: In Ontario impaired boating will result in the suspension of the operator's vehicle driving license, just as if the offence had taken place on the roads.
2004: Transport Canada takes over management of the Office of Boat Safety.
1999-2004: The Coast Guard and Office of Boat Safety (pleasure boat policy) were managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
1999: If you passed a boating safety course before April 1, 1999, the course certificate may be recognized, and a "Card" obtained from the training organization.
1999: The Northwest and Nunavut Territories exempted from PCOC requirements.
1998: Federal proposed changes to pleasure craft regulations including operator licensing, mandatory safety equipment, age/horsepower restrictions, inflatable PFD's, marine forecasts, reduction of navigation aids.
1997 October: The Canadian Coast Guard has formulated a proposal for minimum mandatory education standards. Canadian boating organizations have been asked for their review and comment. It is not known if these standards will be legislated or how they will be implemented. Take a boating course now!
1996 December: The 1996 federal budget outlined plans for boat license fees. Proposed boat licences would also have to be renewed annually -- with a fee paid. [Boats with motors over 10 HP must have a licence only at the time of purchase.] Plans to impose the fees seem to be on hold according to Tony Rogers of the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation. The theory is that it is due to the impending federal election.
1996 July: In the wake of yet another coroner's jury recommending regulation of the waterways, Ontario boaters could face new licenses, mandatory education, and traffic tickets on the water (from Boating News 1998). The Federal and Ontario governments have put their heads together and want to force all boaters to take boating safety courses in order to "operate" a boat. Contact your federal Member of Parliament and provincial MPP to comment about the proposals. Read about the new federal Contravention Act.