The Star Princess arrived at the Ogden Point terminal today, kicking off the 2017 cruise ship season in Victoria. (ItkasanImages / Victoria Buzz)

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) is advocating Transport Canada to rescind their order on the suspension of cruise ships until next February.

GVHA CEO Ian Robertson is asking Transport Canada to end the current suspensions of cruise ships by the end of this fall with determining measures by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The move would help the industry welcome their return by 2022.

“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 the cruise ship industry is welcome back to Canada.”

The temporary exemption to the US Passenger Vessel Services Act signed into law in May 2021 allowed cruise ships to bypass Canada for the 2021 season.

The GVHA said the industry is threatened that temporary legislation could become permanent and thus decimate the $2.7 billion cruise industry in BC.

“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,” said Robertson.

“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.

In early February, when COVID numbers were skyrocketing, the federal government announced that cruise ships with more than 100 people will be prohibited from entering Canadian waters until February 28th, 2022.

The measures were meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 and allow public health authorities to focus on immediate issues related to the pandemic.

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