Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville- Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes says he is pleased that Transport Canada is working to reduce and eventually eliminate the requirement for pyrotechnic devices (flares) on board pleasure craft in Canada.
“The Minister indicates that Transport Canada is currently working on acquiring standards for electronic flares with a plan to reduce or eliminate the need for flares on board,” he notes.
In June he introduced a Motion in the House to have the Transportation Committee review the requirement for carrying flares. He noted at the time that they are costly, dangerous, and difficult to dispose of when they have expired at the end of four years.
He wrote to the Minister recommending that the department review the need for flares in Canada. This week he received a letter from the Honourable Marc Garneau acknowledging that Transport Canada is currently in the process of preparing amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations to provide options to vessel operators who wish to reduce the quantity of pyrotechnics they are required to carry on board.
As well, the minister notes that while some new visual signals have been put on the market: “There is no up-to- date performance standard for electronic devices (electronic flares) to ensure consistent and equivalent performance of pyrotechnics in all conditions for distress alerting and search and rescue activities.”
He also explained that the industry is currently developing standards for electronic flares based on ongoing performance testing and research being conducted by the US Coast Guard, to address concerns with the existing standards.
Finally the Minister notes that Transport Canada is monitoring developments and following consultations with Canadian search and rescue authorities the department will consider the standard and acceptance of electronic visual distress signal devices.
“While there is no time-line available, this means if the electronic devices prove their worth, Transport Canada will permit them as emergency signaling devices at some point in the future,” explains Brown.