Summary of stakeholder engagement – St. John’s, Newfoundland

Pilotage Act Review Roundtable – St. John’s, Newfoundland

November 2, 2017 – 9:00 am – 4:45 pm

The meeting was conducted under the Chatham House Rule. “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant may be revealed.”

Summary of Discussion

The participants presented their concerns and views on the Pilotage Act and potential areas for reform. The comments have been grouped under the following themes:


  • Local relationships are important. Local committees can provide a venue to work on issues before they become problems. Of note, the Atlantic Pilotage Authority has undertaken a considerable amount of outreach, which was well-received and helped improve relationships between stakeholders.
  • Merging all of the Pilotage Authorities into one entity is a concern. It is important to have a way to respond to local concerns, and Atlantic Canada concerns could be lost in a large organization.
  • The current Board of Directors structure works well, as members represent industry, pilots and the public. It is important to have a balance of perspectives.
  • There is a public interest / component to pilotage services, which helps to reassure the public about the safety of marine shipping.
  • It may be worthwhile to consider developing a new structure for marine navigation or pilotage in the Arctic, as navigating in the Arctic is a specific skill set, and some navigation services could be required for vessels that do not transit the waters frequently. 


  • Safety is important to everyone and risk management is a part of all operations.
  • In the past, there have been challenges with the Pilotage Risk Management Methodology.
  • The pilotage certification process has improved in the Atlantic. It provides a safe way for industry to navigate their vessels and provides a way to reduce costs.
  • Amend the Pilotage Act to reflect the concept of risk assessment.
  • A suggestion was made that simulators could be used more frequently for risk assessment processes.
  • Training exercises using simulators can also be a valuable tool to pinpoint where there are communication problems. This can provide important support to safe operations and navigation. Note: There are costs associated with the use of simulators as technology is constantly changing.


  • Delays are incredibly damaging to the oil industry. One ship delay has ripple effects throughout the chain.
  • While the certification process for masters works well, there’s a need to review the current labour model/structures for licenced pilots under the Pilotage Act. Pilotage is a legal monopoly and it is possible that another labour model may assist in generating cost savings. 

Tariffs and Economic Concerns

  • The pilotage system has not been able to control costs, pilotage is an unchecked monopoly. The tariffs continue to increase.
  • The tariff process should be able to adjust fees quickly to meet traffic fluctuations.
  • Introduce performance indicators to help the Pilotage Authorities achieve specific efficiency targets.


  • Update the current fines in the Pilotage Act. Introduce a judicial process for cases of non-compliance.
  • Enforcement for non-compliance with the Pilotage Act (i.e., entering a compulsory area and not taking a pilot) should be under an Administrative Monetary Penalty scheme.
  • The current disciplinary mechanisms, including suspending or revoking the pilot’s license, are adequate.
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