Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announces that as of November 1, 2021, the ban on cruise ship traffic in Canadian waters would no longer be in effect if operators are able to fully comply with public health requirements. Initially, this ban was to end on February 28, 2022.
At his press briefing at the Ogden Point DeepWater Terminal in Victoria, British Columbia, the Minister agreed that the announcement comes too late for most of the 2021 cruise season. But the government's intention is to send a clear signal for the resumption of the cruise season in Canada in 2022, he said.
"We know that the tourism and shipping sectors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we reopen safely, we are already preparing for the upcoming cruise season that will contribute to the growth of our economy," the Government of Canada said in the news release released for the occasion.
The government adds that it is looking forward to a cruise season in 2022, as the COVID-19 pandemic is mitigated.
"The cruise industry, which contributes $4 billion a year to the Canadian economy and creates approximately 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, is an important part of Canada's domestic tourism sector," he said.
It was noted that Transport Canada will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, the Government of the United States, transportation stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and Arctic communities "to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and that Canada's transportation system remains safe and secure."
"As Canadians have played their part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, our Government continues to work hard to revive our economy and rebuild better. We will welcome cruise ships, which are an important part of our tourism sector, to Canadian waters in the 2022 season," said Minister Alghabra.
B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming thanked the federal government for working collaboratively and constructively with his government and for taking action on this important issue for B.C. economy.
"We know that cruise ship passengers want a Canadian experience in British Columbia, and we know that British Columbians want to welcome them to our cities when it is safe to do so," he said.
Lisa Helps, Mayor of Victoria, also thanked Ottawa.
“Our local economy has definitely taken a hit, but thanks to residents shopping local and supporting their friends and neighbours businesses, many businesses are still making it work. My thanks to the Federal government for doing the necessary work to keep Canadians safe during the pandemic, but also for understanding how much the cruise industry means to the entire south island and for making this announcement today to give predictability and certainty to the industry going forward.”
In the meantime, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside the country until further notice...
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