OTTAWA – In light of the ongoing global pandemic crisis, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra today announced a one-year extension of temporary measures until February 28, 2022 prohibiting pleasure crafts in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters.
As a result, adventure-seeking pleasure crafts are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters; passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast; and cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
There is no national ban for smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people. They must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority protocols for timelines and processes around their operations. Pleasure crafts used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures.
With these prohibitions in place, public health authorities will be able to continue focusing on the most pressing issues, including the vaccine rollout and new COVID-19 variants. Those who do not comply with the passenger vessel prohibition could be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $1 million or to imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, or to both.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to follow local public health guidance and protocols, and follow\ mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks. These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures. (Photo of Québec by Louis Rhéaume)