Measures for Persons (other than passengers) on Canadian Vessels and Foreign Passenger Vessels Operating in Canadian Waters to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 - SSB No.: 17/2021 (modified April 26, 2022)

RDIMS No .: 17963509
Date (Y-M-D) : 2022-04-26

 
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Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to outline requirements for Authorized Representatives and crew, and other persons, aside from passengers, on board vessels subject to Interim Order No. 3 Respecting Vessel Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Scope

This bulletin applies to the Authorized Representative of any Canadian vessels that meet one of the following criteria, or belongs to a fleet of vessels where at least one vessel meets the following criteria:

This bulletin also applies to:

  • the Authorized Representative of a foreign cruise ship, operating in Canadian waters
  • persons, other than passengers, on board.

Requirements in Interim Order No. 3 Respecting Vessel Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) do not apply to:

  • pleasure craft;
  • foreign vessels exercising right of innocent passage; and
  • vessels providing emergency rescue to vessels in distress are all excluded from these requirements.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canada’s transportation sector, and while public health measures, including social distancing and masking, have been critical to combatting the spread of the virus, COVID-19 and its variants continue to pose a significant public health risk to Canadians.

Requirements

Key Vaccination Dates

In order to meet the requirements of Interim Order No. 3 Respecting Vessel Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Authorized Representative of vessels subject to the order will need to ensure that, prior to boarding the vessel, crew and other non-passengers such as Marine Pilots, are fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to boarding.

Passenger Vessels that Provide Essential Services and Ferry Vessels

Passenger vessels that provide essential services or ferry vessels, in addition, are reminded to continue to comply with the measures put forth by local authorities in the vessels area of operation, including those related to services offered onboard (i.e., entertainment, restaurants, bar).

Testing Requirements – Canadian vessels that operate with 12 or more persons, other than passengers, onboard, including ferries and Passenger Vessels that Provide Essential Services

Testing for COVID-19 will not be required for fully vaccinated persons, other than passengers or a pilot, onboard vessels that operate with 12 or more persons on board, unless they are onboard a cruise ship. 

Pre-embarkation testing

Persons, other than passengers or a pilot, onboard a Canadian vessel that operates with 12 or more persons on board, other than a cruise ship, who are unable to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or for sincere religious reasons, are required to provide the vessels authorized representative with:

  • evidence of a negative result for a COVID-19 test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 72 hours before the person boards the vessel; or
  • evidence of a positive result for a COVID-19 test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before the person boards the vessel.

Persons, other than passengers or a pilot, seeking to board the vessel, who receive a positive result for a COVID-19 test must not board the vessel for a period of 10 days after the day on which the specimen on which the test was performed was collected unless they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 72 hours before the person boards the vessel.

Continued Testing

In accordance with the Authorized Representative’s vaccination policy, any person who provides evidence of a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to boarding will be required to be tested for COVID-19 every three days for the duration of the voyage if it is scheduled to last six days or more.

Testing Requirements – Canadian Cruise Ships and Foreign Cruise Ships operating in Canadian waters (Excluding Ferries and Passenger Vessels that Provide Essential Services)

Pre-embarkation Testing

Persons, other than passengers or a pilot, are required to provide the following to the vessel’s Authorized Representative, regardless of their vaccination status:

  • Evidence of a negative COVID-19 molecular test (e.g. PCR test) performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 72 hours prior to being on board the vessel in Canadian waters;
  • Evidence of a negative COVID-19 antigen test (e.g. RAT) performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 2 days before being on board the vessel in Canadian waters; or
  • Evidence of a positive COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before the person is on board the vessel in Canadian waters.

Those persons seeking to board the vessel, other than passengers, who receive a positive result for a COVID-19 test must not board the vessel for a period of 10 days after the day on which the specimen on which the test was performed was collected unless they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 72 hours before the person boards the vessel.

Persons, other than a passenger or a pilot, who are scheduled to be onboard the vessel for 24 hours or less while the vessel is in a port, anchorage or lock, are not subject to pre-embarkation testing requirements.

Persons, other than a passenger or a pilot, who are not fully vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or sincere religious reasons, and who are scheduled to be onboard the vessel for 24 hours or less while the vessel is in a port, anchorage or lock, will be required to meet the embarkation day testing requirements.

Pre-embarkation testing requirements for passengers onboard cruise ships are outlined in Ship Safety Bulletin No. 18/2021.

Embarkation Day

Persons, other than passengers or a pilot, who are not vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or sincere religious reasons will also be required to provide the following to the Authorized Representative on the initial day of embarkation:

  • Evidence of a negative COVID-19 antigen test performed on a specimen collected from the person on the day of embarkation; or

Persons, other than passengers or a pilot, who are not fully vaccinated and who have provided evidence of a positive COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before the person is on board the vessel in Canadian waters, will not be required to provide an additional test on embarkation day.

Embarkation day testing requirements for passengers onboard cruise ships are outlined in Ship Safety Bulletin 18/2021.

Continued Testing

For voyages of 6 days or more, any persons, other than a passenger or a pilot, on board the vessel who are not fully vaccinated, and who have either a negative test result for a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 72 hours before the person is onboard the vessel in Canadian waters OR a negative COVID-19 antigen test result that was performed on a specimen collected from the person no more than 2 days prior to being on board the vessel in Canadian waters will be required to provide the results of a COVID-19 molecular test or antigen test every 3 days. For additional information on implementing COVID-19 antigen tests in the workplace, you may refer to guidance put forward by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Additional Testing Requirements Onboard Cruise Ships

The following additional testing measures will be required for persons, other than passengers, onboard Cruise Ships subject to the Interim Order:

  • All persons with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must take either a COVID-19 molecular test or a COVID-19 antigen test.
    • A person who is awaiting test results for a COVID-19 molecular test must isolate while awaiting the result.
    • A person who receives a positive antigen test must isolate for 24 hours and retest with a molecular test.
    • If the results of a COVID-19 molecular test are negative, the person can be released from COVID-19 isolation requirements.
    • If the results of a COVID-19 molecular test are positive, the person must isolate for 10 days (including the original 24 hours)

Additional testing requirements for passengers onboard cruise ship are outlined in Ship Safety Bulletin 18/21.

Close Contacts

A person, other than a passenger or a pilot, who is a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case is required to immediately take a COVID-19 molecular or a COVID-19 antigen test.

Isolation Measures

The applicable conditions for the place of isolation on board the vessel are the following:

  1. (a) it allows the person to remain in isolation during the applicable isolation period;
  2. (b) it allows the person to avoid all contact with other persons;
  3. (c) it allows the person to avoid all contact with any other people unless they are required or are directed to go to a place to seek medical care;
  4. (d) it allows the person to have access to a bedroom that is separate from those used by all other persons;
  5. (e) it allows the person to have access to a bathroom that is separate from those used by all other persons
  6. (f) it allows the person to have access to the necessities of life without leaving that place;

The isolation requirements outlined above are required for isolation on board the vessel. Persons who disembark the vessel to isolate should refer to requirements outlined under the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations). Authorized Representatives are responsible for the isolation costs as well as providing a suitable location for isolation, coordinating and providing private transportation to the isolation location for persons who do not have suitable isolation arrangements in place and arranging for daily meals for persons in isolation. This will ensure persons who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 can be safely removed from the vessel and can complete their isolation on shore.

Vaccination Policy

Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels subject to Interim Order No. 3 Respecting Vessel Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will be required to implement vaccination policies for crew and other non-passengers on board all vessels in their fleet. The vaccination policy must include details concerning:

  • Responsibilities of the Authorized Representative to ensure the appropriate vaccination of crew and other persons, aside from a passenger, before boarding a vessel.
  • Measures taken to ensure compliance with local public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Processes for verifying evidence that individuals are unable to receive a vaccine due to medical contraindication or sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Testing measures for crew who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Measures to maintain physical distancing between persons who work on board the vessel and persons employed by the authorized representative who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Measures to ensure the safety of crew should an individual test positive for COVID-19 while a vessel is in transit.
  • Procedures for collecting information on workplace interactions between persons who work on board a vessel or cruise ship and other persons employed by the authorized representative who are unvaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

Following the implementation of the vaccination policy, Authorized Representatives must ensure the following are kept onboard the vessel:

  • a copy of the vaccination policy
  • records demonstrating that all persons, aside from passengers, on board have familiarized themselves and are in compliance with the vaccination policy

While not required to be kept on board the vessel, the Authorized Representative must also maintain additional records collected under their vaccination policy and procedures, such as:

  • Records demonstrating that all persons, aside from passengers, onboard the vessel have evidence of their vaccination status and/or the results of a COVID-19 test.
  • Records of evidence provided by a person who is subject to the policy who has not completed a COVID-19 vaccine dosage regimen due to a medical contraindication or their sincerely held religious belief.
  • Records of information collected with respect to an in-person interaction in the workplace between a person who works on board the vessel or cruise ship and a person employed by the authorized representative who is unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.

All documents and implementation information referred above for the policy must be made available to the Minister on request.

As a basic guideline for administering vaccination policies, Authorized Representatives are encouraged to refer to the Treasury Board Framework for the Implementation of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration.

Exceptions (Employees)

As part of their vaccination policy Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels subject to the Interim Order must include a review process for evidence from employees who are unable to be vaccinated for medical contraindication or sincerely held religious beliefs. Template forms that can be used by individuals seeking to provide evidence of this are available at these links:

Authorized Representatives are encouraged to consult the Duty to accommodate section of the Treasury Board Framework when developing their policies around medical and religious exceptions.

Reporting

Company Attestation

Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels subject to the Interim Order are required to confirm to Transport Canada that a vaccination policy has been implemented on the day on which the vessel or cruise ship begins operating.

Confirmation must be submitted online: Reporting on the Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate which was shared via email from the CMAC Secretariat on October 30, 2021. Please note this link works with the following web applications: Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Reports and Reporting Frequency

Authorized Representatives of vessels subject to the Interim Order will be required to submit periodical reports to Transport Canada by logging into Transport Canada’s Federal Vaccination Mandate portal

Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels subject to the Interim Order are required to submit reports on the following information, as applicable, on a monthly basis:

  1. Report From Date
  2. Report to Date
  3. The total number of employees subject to the company’s vaccination policy.
  4. The number of employees that are fully vaccinated
  5. The number of employees that are partially vaccinated.
  6. The number of employees with a valid medical exemption
  7. The number of employees with a valid religious exemption
  8. Employees on leave as a result of not being fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, or do not have a company approved exemptions
  9. The number of employees that are unable to perform their duties as a result of COVID-19.

Authorized Representatives of Canadian cruise ships operating everywhere and foreign cruise ships operating in Canadian waters, will also be required to submit daily reports on passenger and crew status as outlined in Ship Safety Bulletin 18/2021.

In order to submit your report via Transport Canada’s Federal Vaccination Mandate portal, Authorized Representatives must create an account by contacting Transport Canada at: tcreporting-rapportstc@tc.gc.ca

Frequency of reporting is subject to changing epidemiological conditions in Canada.

Failure to Comply

An Authorized Representative of a vessel subject to the Interim Order who operates their vessel without verifying the vaccination status of their employees, without attesting to having an acceptable vaccination policy in place, or without providing Transport Canada with periodic reports as required, will be in violation of the Interim Order. Any such Authorized Representative could then be subject to Administrative Monetary Penalties up to $250,000 per day under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Guidance for verifying Medical and Religious Exceptions from Vaccination Requirements (Employees)

Due to the complex nature of implementing vaccination policies with respect to the obligations Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels may have under the Canadian Human Rights Act or other applicable legislation, Transport Canada will work closely with Authorized Representatives to promote effective implementation.

Exceptions for Medical Reasons - Employees

When developing a process for verifying exceptions from vaccination requirements in their vaccination policies, Authorized Representatives should stay abreast of guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

At present exceptions from vaccination requirements for medical reasons should be considered in certain conditions, namely if the individual:

  1. Has a medical contraindication to full vaccination against COVID-19 with mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines) based on recommendation of the NACI and whether the condition is permanent or time limited and in effect until a certain date:
    • History of anaphylaxis after previous administration of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
    • Confirmed allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG) which is found in the Pfizer- BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (Note that if the patient is allergic to tromethamine which is found in Moderna, they can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech product)
  2. Has a medical reason for delay of full vaccination against COVID-19 as described by the NACI and how long that reason is in effect:
    • A History of myocarditis/pericarditis following the first dose of an mRNA vaccine
    • Due to an immunocompromising condition or medication, waiting to vaccinate when immune response can be maximized (i.e., waiting to vaccinate when immunocompromised state / medication is lower)
  3. Has a medical reason precluding full vaccination against COVID-19 not covered above, a description of the reason, and whether that reason is permanent or time-limited and in effect until a certain date.

Exceptions for Religious Reasons - Employees

Authorized Representatives of Canadian vessels should be verifying exceptions from vaccination requirements for sincerely held religious beliefs on a case-by-case basis. Authorized Representatives should consider the information provided by the employee to substantiate the exception, and ensure it clearly demonstrates the following three elements:

  1. The belief is religious in nature
    • Religion typically involves a particular and comprehensive system of faith and worship as well as the belief in a divine, superhuman or controlling power (e.g., “I don’t believe in vaccination” would not in itself be a reason).
    • It does not apply to beliefs, convictions or practices that are secular, socially based or only conscientiously held; nor does it protect personal beliefs about the development, the contents, effects, or purpose of the vaccines.

      Note: it is not necessary for the employee to prove that the religious belief is objectively recognized as valid by other members of the same religion or that it is required by official religious dogma or is in conformity with the position of religious officials (e.g., confirmation by a priest, rabbi, imam or other spiritual leader).

  2. The belief prevents full vaccination
    • The information provided by the employee must demonstrate how the religious belief prevents vaccination.
    • It is not sufficient for the employee to say they have a certain religious belief and they cannot be vaccinated. They must explain how vaccination would conflict with their religious belief in a way that is not trivial or insubstantial (i.e., being vaccinated conflicts with the employee’s genuine connection with the divine).
  3. The belief is sincerely held
    • If the employee provides a sworn affidavit, this can be a sign of the sincerity of the belief since this becomes a record with legal standing. The seriousness with which an affidavit is sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths is a safeguard of the accuracy of the information contained within.
    • If the employee does not provide a sworn affidavit, but provides information in another format, this should be considered. 
    • Factors that indicate whether the belief is sincere could include: the overall credibility of the employee’s statement as well as the consistency of the belief with the employee’s other current religious practices (it is, however, inappropriate to rigorously focus on past religious practices since these can evolve over time).

Privacy Considerations – Transport Canada Policies on Vaccination Mandates in the Transportation Sector

Companies/Operators must ensure that personal information is only created, collected, retained, used, disclosed, and disposed of in a manner that respects the provisions set out in applicable Canadian privacy legislation and other applicable legislation. As such, companies/operators should consider privacy issue at the earliest opportunity and implement best privacy practices in order to properly protect the personal information that will be processed.

Please note that the privacy tips below are provided solely as general privacy considerations and do not constitute legal advice. For specific advice on compliance with applicable privacy laws, please contact your legal counsel, privacy professional and/or consult with the applicable Privacy Commissioner.
Privacy considerations:

  • Document a defined purpose and authority for the collection and use of this personal information.
  • Be transparent with employees and persons other than passengers on board the vessel and inform them about the reasons for collection, use, disclosure (including but not limited to the disclosure to Transport Canada), retention and disposal of their personal information and the consequences for not providing the requested personal information, through a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible Privacy Notice Statement (“PNS”), as required under applicable Canadian privacy legislation.
    • Employees and persons other than passengers on board the vessel should also be informed and provided with a contact to request access to, and correction of, any personal information available or to make an inquiry or complaint about the handling of their personal information, including the contact for the Privacy Commissioner of the relevant jurisdiction and accountable individual who can respond to questions and concerns regarding the vaccine requirements.
    • Provide a link to your vaccination policies for employees and persons other than passengers on board the vessel, as applicable
  • The necessity, effectiveness, proportionality and data minimization principles should be applied so that the least amount of personal information is collected, used or disclosed, for example: unnecessary data fields within a form.
  • Data related to vaccination status of employees and persons other than passengers on board the vessel is only used for the purposes it was collected for, retained for a specific period of time and can only be accessed on a need to know basis.
  • All company/operator personnel handling personal information, including managers, are aware of their responsibilities and adhere to applicable Canadian privacy legislation and other applicable legislation.
  • Consider conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment or other meaningful privacy analyses.
  • Privacy breach plans and procedures are up to date.
  • Personal information is appropriately protected against unauthorized access and that technical, physical and administrative safeguards are put in place and are appropriate given the sensitivity of the personal information to be collected, used or disclosed through the requirement.

Relevant Links

Keywords

1. Coronavirus
2. Passenger
3. Vaccination

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:

AMSR

Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

 

Contact us at: Email: marinesafety-securitemaritime@tc.gc.ca or Telephone: 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).