The Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) has urged the federal government to rescind the existing interim cruise ban until Feb. 22,2022 by December 31, 2021, in light of strong progress in COVID-19 vaccinations and of recent initiatives taken by the United States to bypass the Canadian market.
In a letter addressed to Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, the Association representing the 17 Canadian port authorities stated that “given our clearly demonstrated and extensive experience with safe operations, increasing vaccination rates and the long lead time needed to prepare for resumption, we are requesting that your government now send a clear signal to the cruise industry that it wants to cruise in Canada.
“Specifically, we are requesting that the existing no-sail order be fully rescinded by December 31st, 2021, to allow for vessel fit-up and staff training and preparation in advance of the start of the cruise season.
“We are also requesting that Transport Canada modify the current order to allow for the exploration of a limited number of small-vessel (maximum 500 passengers plus crew) trial runs as of October 31st, 2021, in specific regions.
“Lastly, we recommend that these measures be communicated quickly and clearly to the cruise sector. With the immediate communication of these changes to the Interim Order, your government will be providing a framework for a safe, scalable and predictable phased-in approach to resumption, while also clearly signalling that Canada is planning for safe recovery and open to safe cruise tourism.”
“The urgency for our request is driven by the steps the United States has taken to bypass the Canadian market,” the June 18 letter stressed. “This is especially important with the recent introduction of US legislation to permanently waive the requirements for cruise ships emanating from the US to visit a foreign port, thereby bypassing Canadian ports. This legislation, combined with the COVID impacts on the industry, is putting the Canadian cruise industry in a position it will take years to recover from.”
(The US legislation has notably allowed cruise ships to bypass Victoria and Vancouver on their way to Alaska.)
“There is a lot at stake if the Canadian government doesn’t take immediate steps to show that cruise will happen in Canada in 2022,” the letter continued. “The numbers are significant — cruise ports across Canada welcomed approximately 1,400 cruise calls and 3 million cruise passengers during the 2019 cruise season. This activity generated nearly $4.3 billion in total output, over 30,250 jobs paying a total of $1.4 billion in wages, and $467 million in business and income taxes in Canada.”
The letter is signed by ACPA President Wendy Zatylny and by Andrew Dixon, Chair of the ACPA Cruise Committee. (Photo of Quebec cruise activity by Louis Rhéaume)