From Transport Canada
Transport Canada is protecting, preserving, and restoring Canada’s oceans and sea routes, including our Arctic Ocean, in partnership with Indigenous, coastal and Inuit communities. In May 2018, Transport Canada published the new Guidelines for Passenger Vessels Operating in the Canadian Arctic, representing over a year of joint work between Transport Canada, Northern communities and land claims organizations, multiple government partners, and stakeholders.
"The guidelines identify regulations, best practices, and key partners in Canadian Arctic marine transportation," explains Desmond Raymond, the Regional Director of Marine Safety and Security in Transport Canada’s Prairie and Northern Region. "We’re really proud of generating concrete solutions that will help passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, transit through the Arctic and promote good relationships with Canadian Arctic communities."
The department led a Working Group of representatives from Northern communities and land claims organizations, federal and territorial governments, academia, and industry to develop the guidelines. Community consultation sessions were held in Pond Inlet, Nunavut and Inuvik, Northwest Territories to incorporate community input from both the eastern and western shores of the Arctic coast. Twenty best practices related to land claims agreements, hunting and guiding operations, and the use of monuments on land were added to the guidelines as a result of the community consultations.
The Working Group will meet annually to review and update the guidelines so that they continue to meet the needs of both passenger vessels and Arctic communities. Alana Swain, Senior Marine Safety Inspector in Transport Canada’s Prairie and Northern Region, is part of the team that put together the Guidelines and she emphasizes that they are evergreen, "Transport Canada will continue to work with our partners to keep the guidelines current and strengthen them so that they remain a valuable resource for all who use them."
Protecting the Arctic marine environment and all users of Canada’s oceans and waterways is of paramount importance. The collaboration on the guidelines shows Transport Canada’s ongoing contribution to safe Arctic marine transportation that assists passenger vessels and protects our coasts.