Issue/Source: PROHIBITIONS FOR PLEASURE CRAFT AND CRUISE SHIPS
Date: FEBRUARY 2021
- The safety and security of the travelling public and the transportation system are Transport Canada’s top priorities.
- Transport Canada is restricting cruise vessels in Canadian waters and pleasure craft in Canadian arctic waters until February 28, 2022.
- These restrictions allow public health authorities to continue focusing on the most pressing issues, including the vaccine rollout and new COVID-19 variants.
- Should the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently improve to allow the resumption of these activities, the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind these measures.
- Cruise ships represent a very high-risk medium for viral transmission of COVID-19 and present in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems.
- Canadian communities remain vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus: already taxed health care infrastructure can be easily overwhelmed by an outbreak on board a ship.
- For any decisions with respect to these orders, Transport Canada will work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, health officials, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous and Inuit peoples, and affected communities
- First announced in March 2020, and then extended in October 2020, Transport Canada prohibited the operation of pleasure craft and cruise.
- The current Interim Order No.2 prohibits pleasure craft from operating in Canadian Arctic waters - waters north of 60 degrees, and the territorial sea surrounding Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast.
- The current Interim Order No.4 prohibits cruise ships with overnight accommodations and certified to carry more than 100 people from operating in Canadian waters, and prohibits passenger vessels certified to carry more than 12 people from operating the Arctic waters.
- Both of these measures will expire on February 28, 2021.
- On February 4, 2021, Transport Canada has announced a new set of measures that will come into effect on March 1, 2021 and will prohibit pleasure craft and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters and smaller passenger vessels in Canadian Arctic waters. These measures were supported by the Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19 (federal/ provincial/territorial health officials), who were in full support of an extended prohibition. They are also further supported by Indigenous and Inuit groups across Canada.
- Interim Order No.3 will prohibit pleasure craft from operating in Canadian Arctic waters - waters north of 60 degrees, and the territorial sea surrounding Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast.
- Interim Order No.5 will prohibit cuise ships with overnight accommodations and certified to carry more than 100 people from operating in Canadian waters. It will also prohibit passenger vessels certified to carry more then 12 people to enter Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
- Both of these Interim Orders will expire on February 28, 2022.
- Under the Interim Orders:
- Adventure-seeking pleasure craft are prohibited from entering Arctic waters.
- Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents are not affected by these measures.
- Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
- Cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
- Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should follow public health guidance and protocols, as well as mitigation measures, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.
- Cruise ships without passengers may apply 60 days in advance for an exemption to come to Canada for fuel, supplies, longer term storage, and planned crew change requests. In reviewing the decision to grant any exemptions, Transport Canada will work extensively with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, health officials, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous and Inuit peoples, and affected communities.
- Technical stops for cruise ships with passengers are not allowed at this time.