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Cruise ships will be allowed in Canadian waters starting Nov. 1, 2021

VICTORIA — Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says that Canada’s cruise ship ban, previously scheduled to end Feb. 28, 2022, will be lifted effective Nov. 1, 2021.

Minister Alghabra credited the early end to the ban to Canada’s successful vaccination drive.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in Victoria, B.C., July 15, 2021

Making the announcement July 15, 2021 at a briefing in Victoria, B.C., Minister Alghabra said: “I know many of you have been wondering, when will we be able to see ships here again.

“And as you may remember the last time we made an announcement about cruise ship travel, we said that these vessels, would not be allowed in Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.

“Now, thanks for the extraordinary work Canadians have done getting vaccinated, and following public health advice to get through the global COVID-19 pandemic, the government is now ready to announce that we are accelerating the timeline for resuming cruise ship activity.”

As of Nov. 1, 2021, cruise ships will be allowed in Canadian waters, said Minister Alghabra.

“This means that the cruise ship operators will be able to prepare and ready for full operations by the start of the 2022 season. It also means that our timing will be aligned with our American neighbours,” he said.

“And I want to emphasize that this is possible because of how Canadians have responded to the conditions of the global pandemic. Every person who rolled up the sleeves to get vaccinated, has helped us get to this point today,” he added.

The cruise ship industry normally represents more than $4 billion annually for the Canadian economy.

“It is vital to central communities and port cities that welcome cruise ship visitors, and I’m happy to deliver this good news today, right here in Victoria,” he said.

Lifting the ban effective Nov. 1 will be contingent on the public health situation at the time, especially in communities where cruise ships have ports of call.

“We must remain vigilant,” said Minister Alghabra.

“It is important to acknowledge that the global pandemic is not over yet. The government continues to advise Canadians to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside the country. But we are confident about the future.”

The ban has been in place since the early days of the pandemic, and in February 2021 it was extended through February 2022. The ban currently means that …

  • Adventure-seeking pleasure craft are prohibited from entering Arctic waters.

  • Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people, prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.

  • Cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.

Large cruise ships sailing Alaska itineraries, a boon for cities including Vancouver and Victoria as well as countless small businesses with a stake in the Alaska cruise industry, are so far scheduled to bypass Canadian ports for the summer 2021 season, in the wake of the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, passed in May 2021.

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