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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020
Home » Cruise » It’s official. Canada cancels cruise season for 2020.

It’s official. Canada cancels cruise season for 2020.

FILE PHOTO: Halifax Cruise Port.

PortandTerminal.com, May 29, 2020

OTTAWA – Canada’s federal government in Ottawa has announced that any cruise ship that carries more than 100 people will be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until at least Oct. 31, pushing off the possibility of a summer cruise ship season.

Back in March, the federal government announced it was temporarily barring all large cruise ships and ferries that carry more than 500 people, including crew, from docking in Canada until July 1, citing the need to limit the possible avenues for further COVID-19 spread. Now, Transport Minister Marc Garneau is extending that ban for four months.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020.
  • As of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations.

Any passenger vessel capable of carrying more than 12 people will continue to be banned from entering Arctic coastal waters until Oct. 31, though passenger vessels can begin to operate on inland rivers and lakes in the territories as of July 1.

Those who do not comply with the prohibitions could be subject to a penalty of $5,000 per day for an individual and $25,000 per day for a corporation.

Transport Canada

Smaller vessels like water taxis, passenger ferries and other essential vessels in other waters can continue to operate under the current mitigation measures, such as reduced passenger capacity, Garneau announced on Friday. 

Financial Impact

Tourists. Red buildings. Bus. Boardwalk.
FILE PHOTO: Cruise ships bring at least 2 million travellers to Canada each year. PHOTO: Evan Bower

Garneau acknowledged that this decision will have a major impact on the Canadian tourism industry, but couldn’t say whether further financial assistance is on the horizon for the businesses and provinces that will be hardest hit by this move. Annually the industry brings at least two million travellers into the country.

In Vancouver alone, the cruise ship season made $840 million in 2019 with more than 280 ships arriving at the city’s port according to Tourism Vancouver. Canada’s Atlantic provinces, where cruise ship tourism is a vital part of the local economy, will be hit equally hard.

In Halifax, a record 208 ships were scheduled to visit during the 2020 season before the pandemic caused mass cruise cancellations.

Port of Halifax spokesperson Lane Farguson said those 208 ships would have brought more than 350,000 tourists to the city.

“Our Government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe and secure during this time,” he said in a statement.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the decision to extend the cruise ship ban has been taken to keep Canadians safe, as the novel coronavirus remains “a very serious threat.”

Earlier this month, the US and Canadian government announced that the two country’s shared border would remain closed to all but essential traffic until at least June 21st.

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