March 5, 2020


Service fees, including fees for recreational and commercial fishing licences, to increase with cost of inflation, starting March 31, 2020

On March 31, 2020, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is required to implement the Service Fees Act, which requires that all Government of Canada departments and agencies annually adjust service fees by the rate of inflation subject to certain exceptions. This change includes the cost of licensing fees for all federally-regulated commercial and recreational fisheries across Canada. The annual rate of inflation is determined by the All-items year-over-year Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada, published by Statistics Canada.

The annual adjustment must begin in fiscal year 2019-20 (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020). Fisheries and Oceans Canada will implement the first inflationary increase (2.2 per cent) on March 31, 2020 for all fishing seasons that start on or after April 1, 2020. For 2021 onwards, the annual increase will be applied when licences are issued. Fisheries and Oceans Canada last increased licence fees in 1996.

Harvesters whose fees are available on the National Online Licensing System (NOLS) will have the opportunity to pay their fees at the current price, with no inflationary increase, until March 27, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. After this time, all licence fees will be unavailable for payment while the fee amounts are updated in the system. Fees will be available for payment at the increased rate as of March 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. All other functions of NOLS will be operational during this outage.

For 2020 fisheries that open between January 1 and March 31, there will be no inflationary increase until January 1, 2021, even if the licence is obtained after the March 27 deadline.

The following fees charged by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are affected by the Service Fees Act:

  • Fisheries licensing fees;
  • Pacific Salmon Conservation Stamp;
  • Icebreaking services fee;
  • Maintenance dredging services tonnage fee;
  • Marine navigation services fee.

All of the above fees, except for fisheries licensing fees, have already implemented their annual inflationary increases.

Additional Information

  • Two fees charged by Fisheries and Oceans Canada are exempt from the Service Fees Act:
    • Hydrography fees are exempt under the low-materiality fees regulations.
    • Aquaculture licences are only issued in B.C. under the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations, which already include an annual adjustment factor that is applied every year to the licence fees.
  • Vessel and Personal Fisher Registration fees will not be affected by the March 31, 2020 increase, because they were made available as of January 1, 2020. However, they will be subject to the inflationary increase beginning in 2021.
  • The Services Fees Act received royal assent in 2017 and all Government of Canada departments and agencies have until March 31, 2020 to implement the changes prescribed in the Act.
  • The fee increase was initially announced in the Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2017 to 2018 Fees Report, published on March 25, 2019.


Contact :

Samuel Mullen
A/Regional Manager Licencing Services
Fisheries Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(709) 772-3687