Federal cruise ship bans extended in Canadian waters until October 31

The Victory I on its inaugural 2019 stop in Little Current. Expositor file photo

CANADA—The Government of Canada continues to monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts it is having on the marine and tourism sectors. Keeping Canadians and transportation workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is Transport Canada’s top priority.

On March 29, the minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced updated measures pertaining to cruise ships and passenger vessels in Canadian waters.

Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020.

As of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations.

Beginning July 1, 2020, passenger vessels will be allowed to operate in inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to operate using mitigation measures. These could include reducing the number of passengers or using alternative practices such as keeping people in their vehicles, when safe to do so, or enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“I am announcing updated measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada, which includes prohibiting larger cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. Our government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe and secure during this time,” stated Minister Garneau.

The Expositor learned in early May that Transport Canada would be extending the cruise ship restrictions into the fall, based on internal correspondence from the ministry this newspaper obtained. 

A spokesperson for the transport ministry would not confirm that the cruise ship season would be further delayed, as was indicated in the internal communication.