The Canadian Marine Pilots' Association is the national association that represents marine pilots on matters of relevance to the piloting profession whether expressed through legislation, regulation, policy reviews or industry consultations.MORE ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION
Marine pilots conduct commercial vessels on designated high-risk waterways to ensure their safe and efficient transits from one point to another. As straightforward as this might sound, this profession is actually one of the most demanding in the world.
Approximately 55,000 pilotage assignments take place every year in Canada, with a success rate consistently at over 99.9%, despite the increasing size of vessels using the waterways.
Pilots live along the waterways where they are deployed. Their commitment to act in the public interest and their knowledge of local waters and other conditions that affect the well-being of their communities, means there are no better champions of local interests.
An important part of Canada’s economy and trade relies on maritime transportation. By ensuring safe and efficient vessel transits on the country’s waterways, and by contributing to implement innovations that contribute to their competitiveness, pilots make a strong contribution to the economic well-being of Canadians.
In August 2021, Nanos Research conducted a survey of 1,000 Canadians in 10 federal ridings with marine waterways in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and BC. 87% of residents believe it is extremely important that marine navigation regulations and procedures be set by the government, at arm’s length from ship owners (mean of 8.8). Respondents also place a high level of importance on expert knowledge of local waters to guide vessels to their destination when it comes to the safe navigation of commercial vessels in Canadian waters (mean of 9.1), as well as on the presence of pilots in the examination process to certify ship’s officers.Read the full report
The Code formally expresses the values that Canadian pilots hold in common and their standards for professional behaviour. The Association’s intention is to reinforce the sense of responsibility that every pilot has to discharge his duties in an exemplary way and to work with others to ensure a safe and efficient marine industry.Learn about our code of conduct
Marine pilotage is an important profession that is somewhat hidden from public view, due to its success. Although much of our international trade arrives by sea, many people are not aware that most vessels, once they enter most Canadian waters, are required to have a marine pilot on board to navigate it to its destination. Marine pilots have maintained a record in the order of 99.9% incident free assignments for all of their assignments over the course of many years.
Pilots hold strongly to their independence as professionals, asserting a need to exercise independent judgement in critical situations. Their positive safety record across thousands of pilotage assignments suggests that public faith in their skill and professionalism is well founded.
Pilots are highly experienced seafarers with extensive local knowledge and using their services to help steer ships through narrow channels and in ports derives from old maritime tradition. Ensuring the safe entry of a ship into port is a difficult task that requires in-depth knowledge of local conditions. This means it becomes necessary to have a licensed pilot to conduct the vessel.
In 2016, the magnitude of pilotage costs amounted to approximately one-tenth of one percent of the value of Canada’s entire maritime trade. This figure essentially matches the finding of the 1967 study by Campbell. Therefore, in the context of the national economy as a whole, pilotage costs do not negatively affect Canada’s trade competitiveness for importers and exporters.
Vessels in Canada are not, in general, frequently affected by delays due to a shortage of marine pilots. Consequently, pilotage delays do not impact demurrage and detention charges in shipping contracts and are thus not a source of supply chain risk or friction that the parties must address in their commercial negotiations. From the perspective of reliability and responsiveness, the market for marine pilotage functions efficiently and does not impede economic competitiveness.
The provision of marine pilotage service in all regions of Canada is subject to very, very low incident rates. The present system does not systemically create situations where poor safety practices give rise to extra costs for ship owners or cargo interests. As a result, the competitiveness of Canada’s marine trade is not adversely impacted.
Canada’s position as a major trading nation depends on its ability to be competitive throughout all elements of the supply chain. Competitiveness not only considers cost but also the performance of each supply chain element in terms of safety, accountability, efficiency and timeliness. High performance marine pilotage contributes to Canada’s maritime transportation system which provides Canada with a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Most jurisdictions, including the European Union, the United States and Canada, have concluded that the public interest and marine safety are best served through pilotage services being provided, on an exclusive basis, by a single group of pilots in any given compulsory area.
The Board finds that the robust marine shipping regulatory framework, safety measures, expert pilotage, and enhanced tug escort all play a significant role in spill prevention.
The Canadian Marine Pilots Association said that Canadian pilots are at the forefront of new navigation technology, and are deeply involved in many related international, national and regional forums, and provided examples of examples of innovative developments recently integrated in Canadian pilotage practices.