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Feds to make announcement on future of cruise ship industry in Canada

VICTORIA — Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, will be in Victoria on Thursday to make an announcement about the country’s cruise ship industry. CTV News will livestream the announcement on this page at 10:30 a.m. Cruise ships have been barred from docking in Canadian ports since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, the federal government said the ban would extend until at least Feb.

28, 2022. The news was disheartening for those who rely on the industry, which brings in roughly £4.3 billion to the Canadian economy each year. On Vancouver Island, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has long been calling for some sort of reopening timeline from the federal government so that cruise lines have a sense of when they can return to Canadian waters.

“I don’t think the prime minister should be tone deaf to a £4-billion industry,” said harbour authority CEO Ian Robertson on June 22. At the time, he said if a plan wasn’t announced soon, cruise lines may skip Canada altogether in 2022. In May, the U.S. passed the “Alaska Tourism Restoration Act” which allows American cruise lines to temporarily bypass Canadian ports.

Previously, U.S. cruises were required to dock in at least one foreign port between two American ports. In June, a U.S. senator also tabled three bills calling for that temporary legislation to be made permanent. “The temporary measure passed in the U.S. was designed to support Alaska’s economy while Canada’s ports were not welcoming visitors,” said B.C.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming on June 10, in response to the three proposed bills.

“This new proposed legislation is of greater concern to British Columbia and Canadians,” he said, though he added he was confident that U.S. tourists were still keen on visiting Canadian destinations.

Fleming will join Alghabra for remarks in Victoria on Thursday morning.