Strict COVID measures will be enforced after cruise ships return to ports in Canada next month following a nearly 2-year hiatus, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra revealed on Monday, March 7.
Ottawa lifted its prohibition on cruise ships in Canadian waters on November 1, 2021, on the condition that operators fully comply with public health requirements.
Alghabra told reporters in Halifax that the industry would have to follow a robust protocol.
Under the framework developed with federal, local, provincial public health agencies, the U.S. government, and the cruise industry, all cruise passengers and ship employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID in order to be allowed into Canada.
Passengers will need to take a COVID molecular test within 72 hours before boarding or take an antigen test within 1 day of boarding. They'll also need a negative molecular test result within 72 hours prior to their return to Canada or an antigen test result within 1 day of their arrival.
Cruise operators will be required to inspect proof of vaccination as well as monitor and report test results. No passenger will be allowed off a liner unless they meet the testing/vaccine requirements.
The cruise industry is worth ~$4 billion per year to the Canadian economy and is, directly and indirectly, responsible for ~30,000 jobs in the domestic tourism sector.