A federal ban on cruise ships in Canada that was initially slated to end this month has now been extended until February of next year, it was announced today.
Federal Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra made the announcement, as part of what he called two new Interim Orders, which prohibit pleasure crafts in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.
The extension on the ban means cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
As well, “adventure-seeking” pleasure crafts are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters, and passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast. However, pleasure crafts used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures.
“Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft[s] are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems,” said Alghabra. “This is the right and responsible thing to do.”
The government said 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.
- See also:
The measures for cruise ships and pleasure crafts were initially announced on March 19, 2020, and May 30, 2020. This is the third time the ban on cruise ships has been extended since then.
Those who do not comply with the pleasure craft prohibition could be subject to penalties: $5,000 per day for individuals and $25,000 per day for groups or corporations.
And those not complying 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 both.
There is no national ban for smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people, the government noted. However, these vessels must still follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority protocols for timelines and processes around their operations.