February 18, 2022 — Transport Canada has published a Ship Safety Bulletin that updates Canada’s measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from cruise ship operations.
As of November 1, 2021, cruise ships are permitted to operate in Canadian waters and operators must fully comply with public health requirements.
Transport Canada, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, is developing a comprehensive framework (the “Framework”) focusing on the COVID-19 related health requirements that the cruise industry must abide by, supporting safe cruise activities in Canada.
It should be noted that all operations and guidance are subject to changing epidemiological conditions in Canada.
COVID-19 Management Plan
A COVID-19 Management Plan must be implemented by every cruise ship that intends on resuming operations in Canada. The Management Plan is to be vessel-specific and shall contain the following components:
- measures implemented to ensure that vaccination requirements in relation to passengers are complied with;
- measures to ensure passengers are tested and provide the results of a COVID-19 test, in accordance with the testing framework section below;
- measures to prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 on board a cruise ship;
- measures to protect crew members and passengers from the transmission of COVID-19 when the cruise ship stops at a port of call during the voyage;
- measures to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak on board a cruise ship; and
- in the case of a cruise ship that is a foreign vessel, the measures implemented to ensure that it complies with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order and the European Union’s framework in relation to COVID-19 that apply to cruise ships
The authorized representative of a cruise ship, 45 days before the cruise ship first operates in Canadian waters or first enters Canadian waters (whichever occurs first), must notify the Minister that they have implemented their COVID-19 management plan. Notification can be submitted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cruise operators can refer to this Instructional Reference Tool to assist in the development of their COVID-19 Management Plans.
Ship to Shore Checklist Respecting Procedures at Ports
The authorized representative of a cruise ship must develop a checklist respecting procedures to be followed when the cruise ship is at a port of call that is signed by the port authorities where the cruise ship is scheduled to call and the appropriate public health authorities. The checklist must include:
- measures to prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 during the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers at a port of call.
The authorized representative of a cruise ship must, 45 days before the cruise ship first operates or first enters Canadian waters, whichever occurs first must notify the Minister that they have developed a checklist. Notification can be submitted via email@example.com.
For further guidance on the development of checklists please see the Standards for the Development of a Ship-to-Shore Checklist Respecting Procedures at Ports.
Report on Passengers
An authorized representative of a cruise ship that is a Canadian vessel operating in any waters or a cruise ship that is a foreign vessel operating in Canadian waters, must provide to the Minister a report that includes the following information:
- (a) the number of passengers on board the cruise ship;
- (b) total number of passengers who:
- i) are fully vaccinated
- ii) are not fully vaccinated for reasons of medical contraindication
- iii) are not fully vaccinated for sincere religious reasons
- (c) the number of passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 while on board the cruise ship;
- (d) the data that indicates trends of positive COVID-19 test results;
- (e) The total number of passengers referred to in paragraph (c) who were fully vaccinated and who were not fully vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or, in the case of a person who boards a cruise ship in Canadian waters to begin their voyage, a sincerely held religious belief; and
- (f) The number of passengers who were denied boarding the vessel for non compliance with the Interim Order including, having improper documentation as it relates to requirements in this interim order or providing false or misleading information.
Reporting methods will be provided through periodic updates to this document and may be amended by the Framework.
- All cruise vessels will be required to report on a weekly basis of first operating in Canadian waters or first entering Canadian waters (whichever occurs first).
Testing requirements apply only to passengers five years of age and over. Additional details on testing will be provided through periodic updates to this document.
Authorized Representatives have the responsibility to verify that passengers who are unable to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication or sincerely held religious beliefs provide sufficient evidence for this. Template forms for individuals seeking to provide evidence of this were shared with industry via email from the CMAC Secretariat on January 24, 2022 and can be provided to Authorized Representative or their agents through a request via email to the CMAC Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org).