In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada will prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. The temporary measures for pleasure craft and cruise ships were scheduled to end on February 28, 2021.
The new orders mean that adventure-seeking pleasure craft are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters; passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast; and cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by the measures.
Those who do not comply with the pleasure craft prohibition could be subject to penalties: 5,000 CAD per day for individuals and 25,000 CAD per day for groups or corporations. Those who do not comply with the passenger vessel prohibition could be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to 1 million CAD or to imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, or to both.
Should the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently improve to allow the resumption of these activities, the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind the orders.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian government continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
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. These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.