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Canada defers start of cruise season to July 1 earliest

Transport Minister Marc Garneau today announced that Canada will defer the start of the cruise season at Canadian ports from April 2 to July 1 at the earliest in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has issued a formal health advisory, recommending that Canadians avoid going on cruise ships at this time. The health risk is for all the people touched by the cruise ship industry in Canada.

To further complement these measures, Mr. Garneau announced the implementation of new measures pertaining to cruise ships in Canadian waters.

“In 2019, Canada welcomed over 140 cruise ships that came to our shores directly from more than 10 different countries. The cruise industry brings at least 2 million travellers to our coasts annually,” the government announcement said.

As a response to COVID-19, the Government of Canada will defer the start of the cruise ship season in Canada, from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest. This deferral will apply to cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members.

Given the limited public health capacity in Canada’s Northern communities, the cruise ship season for vessels with Canadian Arctic stops will be deferred for the entire season this year. This would apply to cruise ships of all sizes.

While this measure does not apply to ferries or smaller vessels at this time, the Government of Canada is also developing an approach to ensure health measures are strengthened in all passenger vessels across Canada.

Further decisions on whether the season can resume on July 1, 2020, will be based on science and evidence in the best interests of the health and safety of Canadians. (photo of Port of Quebec by Louis Rhéaume)