Deferring Canadian Cruise Ships Season
Branch/Agency: Transport Canada
- On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada deferred Deferring the start of the cruise ship season in Canada for ships capable of carrying more than 500 people until at least July 1, 2020, and deferring the entire 2020 cruise ship season in the Arctic for all cruise ships sizes would help to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on Canada.
- A COVID-19 outbreak aboard visiting cruise ships could place a significant demand on local health services and a risk of transmission to Canadians. This measure will protect Canada’s healthcare services and Canadians.
- The Government of Canada recognizes the economic impact COVID-19 will have on Canadian communities and tourism businesses that rely on cruise ship visitors. We will engage with the tourism sector and our regional partners to identify potential impacts to Canadians and our economy.
Additional measures coming for smaller cruise ships and ferries:
The Government of Canada is actively developing additional measures to reduce COVID risk for smaller cruise ships with less than 500 passengers and for passenger ferries. These measures will be announced shortly – before the start of the season for smaller cruise ships.
Cruise ships represent a very high-risk medium for viral transmission of infectious respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Close proximity and frequent interactions among passengers and crew make successful quarantines on board vessels virtually impossible. Incoming cruise ships in these circumstances could pose a significant safety risk to persons in a port of call.
In a regular cruise ship season, Canada sees over 140 cruise ships arriving from more than 10 different countries. The cruise ship industry brings at least 2 million travellers to our coasts annually.
In 2018, there were over 900 thousand visitors that entered Canada from cruise ships, with an additional 114 thousand Canadian returning to Canada from a cruise.
- Overnight U.S. residents visitors entering Canada by Sea (commercial): 678,549
- Residents from other countries, direct from overseas: 28,824
- Residents from other countries, via the USL 206,052
(Source: Statistics Canada)
There are currently more than 140 cruise ships scheduled to arrive at a number of Canadian ports on the west and east coast (e.g. Vancouver, Victoria, Prince Rupert, Halifax, St. John and Îles de la Madeleine) this season.
To address all of these risks, an integrated international and domestic strategy has been developed. As part of this strategy, two measures will be implemented pertaining to cruise ships in Canadian waters:
- The start of the cruise ship season in Canada will be deferred from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest, this will impact vessels with capacity of more than 500 people, including passengers and crew members.
- In addition, the Government of Canada is considering options to defer the entire 2020 cruise ship season for vessels with Canadian Arctic stops, given the limited public health capacity in the North. This would apply to cruise ships of all sizes.
Prepared by: Adriana Simedrea, Chief, Parliamentary Affairs, Transport Canada, 613-993-9177
Approved by: Jimmy Brackenridge, Director, Strategic Services, Transport Canada, 613-852-5763
- Date modified: