Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced at a press conference today in Victoria, BC that the timeline for the return of cruise ships to Canadian waters has been accelerated to 1NOV of this year.
However, the advisory for Canadians not to cruise outside Canadian waters remains in place, essentially blocking Canadians from cruising, unless a sudden urge to do so in the frigid month of November overcomes the industry.
Ultimately the announcement had the scent of a photo op rather than solid business news for the industry. Keeping the cruise advisory in place means that Canadians do not have insurance coverage for cruising which severely cripples Canadian sales.
Minister Alghabra stated that this accelerated timeline was due to the work of Canadians getting vaccinated and following public health guidelines, and also pointed out that this timeline would align us with our American neighbours. This timeline is contingent on the cruise industry maintaining health and safety standards, something Alghabra urges vigilance on.
Cruise ships have been barred from docking in Canadian ports since MAR 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would like to thank the federal government for working collaboratively and constructively with us, and for taking action on this issue that is an important part of BC’s 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,” said Rob Fleming, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
In FEB, the federal government said the ban would extend until at least 28FEB 2022. The news was disheartening for those who rely on the industry, which brings in roughly $4.3 billion to the Canadian economy each year and generates approximately 30,000 jobs.
Transport Canada will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, the United States government, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples, and Arctic communities to help ensure Canadians and Canada’s transportation system remain safe and secure, the statement reads.