Temporary Guidance Regarding the Use of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings for Workers in the Marine Transportation Sector - SSB No.: 15/2020

RDIMS No.: 16551265
Date (Y-M-D) : 2020-06-03

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This Bulletin outlines temporary guidance related to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings for workers in the marine transportation sector during the COVID-19 pandemic period.


This bulletin applies to workers in the marine transportation sector, examples of which are provided in a non-exhaustive list set out in Annex 1.

What you need to know


From the Government of Canada web-site, www.canada.ca/coronavirus, the following general hygiene guidance can be found:

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food.
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • when coughing or sneezing: cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand.
  • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings:

Non-medical masks or face coverings are defined as non-surgical, non-regulated cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose. They are not personal protective equipment (PPE) or medical devices and are not regulated as such. When worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask or face covering may reduce the spread of his or her infectious respiratory droplets.

The Wearing of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings:

To support situations where protection is not already prescribed as a component of required PPE, and maintaining a physical distance of two (2) metres between co-workers or customers/clients in the workplace is not consistently possible, consideration should be given to the use of a non-medical mask or face covering, for which the following guidance is proposed:

  1. All workers referenced under “Scope”, above, should have in their possession, or have access to, a non-medical mask or face covering.
  2. A non-medical mask or face covering should be donned on a risk-based approach specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when local authorities require it (for which, in the case of a vessel or a marine facility, “local authorities” can include the vessel master, a Port Authority, or other local or public health official).
  3. The use of respirators (e.g., N-95 masks) should be conserved for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. N-95 masks should continue to be used outside of the COVID-19 context only where this is the usual prescribed PPE for protection against other identified hazards.
  4. Learn how to properly wear a non-medical mask or face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing is difficult.

Further information regarding public heath guidance can be found at the following link: www.canada.ca/coronavirus

Annex 1

Examples of workers in the marine transportation sector can include:

  • Marine crew operating a vessel (including seafarers conducting a crew change)
  • Persons involved in the provision of ship and port services and supplies (including those providing administration and management support)
  • Equipment operators
  • Workers supporting the loading/offloading
  • Maintenance services
  • Security officers and those providing security support functions
  • Inspectors
  • Marine surveyors
  • Marine pilots
  • Vessel traffic management staff
  • Representatives of seafarers’ welfare and labour organizations
  • Search and rescue workers (also deemed essential workers as emergency responders)
  • Divers
  • Response and clean-up crew for a maritime spill
  • Other emergency response persons
  • Essential workers from other sectors who work on board a vessel


1. COVID-19
2. Non-Medical Masks
3. Face Coverings

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:


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).