Victoria Advocates for Canada to Announce Plans for 2022 Season

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) CEO Ian Robertson said he is advocating for Transport Canada (government department responsible for transportation policies and programs) to announce plans to rescind the order suspending cruising in Canada that is currently in effect until Feb. 28, 2022.

The temporary exemption to the US Passenger Vessel Services Act signed into law in May 2021 allows cruise ships to bypass Canada for the 2021 season, but the threat of any temporary legislation becoming permanent exists and could decimate the $2.7 billion cruise industry in British Columbia, according to Robertson.

He is asking for Transport Canada to announce that the current suspension of cruise ships calling to Canadian waters will end by this fall, confirming that the industry is welcome to return in 2022 by adhering to measures determined by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“Cruise lines need time to prepare for the full resumption of cruise and the government of Canada, through Transport Canada, needs to signal that they are prepared to welcome the industry back in a safe and measured way,” said Robertson. “We continue to work with the provincial government and industry partners to ask Transport Canada to confirm that cruise is welcomed back.”

For several months, he said, GVHA has been working to educate, engage, and advocate to all levels of government the importance of developing and sharing plans for the resumption of cruise in Canadian waters. While the organization is in full agreement that the health and safety of the community remains the top priority, decisions for what happens in 2022 need to be made now and based on vaccination rates and the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

“The decision needs to be made in line with the reopening plans for the Canada-USA land and marine borders. We cannot afford to play roulette with something that is such a vital economic lifeline for our province,” said Robertson.

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