Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cruise ships could bypass Victoria indefinitely if proposed US legislation passes


The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) is continuing in their fight to restore and maintain the cruise ship industry in Canada.

A coalition of Canadian cruise industry businesses are demanding the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Transport Canada engage with the US federal government to develop a plan and approach to handle the cruise ships in Canadian waters and ports. 

In early February 2021, 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.

In May 2021, two months after the closure of Canadian ports due to the pandemic, the United States Congress passed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act. 

The Act allowed cruise ships to bypass Canada on their way to Alaska for the 2021 cruise season. 

Now, many are worried this temporary legislation will become permanent. 

US Senator Murkowski has proposed legislation which would provide a permanent exemption to the PVSA and allow Alaska-bound cruise ships to bypass destinations such as Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Prince Rupert.

Representative Young is also preparing similar legislation on the House side of the US Congress. 

If either of the legislation pass, British Columbia’s cruise industry would be destroyed. 

The cruise industry generates $4.3 billion each year, with $2.7 contributed to the BC economy alone.

The industry supports 30,000 jobs across Canada with 17,000 of those in British Columbia.

“The Canadian cruise industry supplies many family-supporting jobs for longshore workers and others in the cruise and tourism sectors,” said Rob Ashton, President of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, 

“The Government of Canada needs to ensure that future cruise seasons are not disrupted like what has happened in these last couple of years. Canadian jobs need to be protected now and into the future. We need a clear path forward.”

The following organizations are backing the request: 

  • Ingrid Jarrett, CEO, BC Hotel Association
  • Stephanie Jones, President, BC Marine Terminal Operators Association
  • Mike Leonard, President & CEO, British Columbia Maritime Employers Association
  • Greg D’Avignon, President & CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
  • Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
  • Robert-Lewis Manning, President, Chamber of Shipping
  • Paul Nursey, CEO, Destination Greater Victoria
  • Royce Chwin, President & CEO, Destination Vancouver
  • Jeff Bray, Executive Director, Downtown Victoria Business Association
  • Bridgitte Anderson, CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
  • Bruce Williams, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
  • Ian Robertson    CEO, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
  • Rob Ashton, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada
  • Vince Accardi, President, Motor Coach Canada
  • David Roberts, General Manager, Pacific Northwest Transportation Services
  • Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President, Western Canada, Restaurants Canada
  • Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC
  • Beth Potter, President, Tourism Industry Association of Canada
  • Steve Hnatko, Vice President & General Manager, Tymac Launch Service
  • Anna Poustie, Chair, Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance
  • Dave Lucas, President, Terminals & Stevedoring, Western Stevedoring

Read more

Latest Stories