The Government of Canada Announces New Measures for Pleasure Craft in Northern Communities

OTTAWA - Keeping Canadians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Government of Canada's top priority. Transport Canada is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to ensure Canada's transportation system remains safe and secure for all Canadians during this time.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, introduced new measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in remote and vulnerable Arctic communities.

As of June 1, 2020, pleasure craft will be prohibited from operating within Canada's Arctic coastal waters (north of the 60th parallel), as well as in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador.

These measures will remain in place until at least October 31, 2020.

These restrictions do not apply to pleasure craft used by local communities or used for purposes such as essential transportation or subsistence fishing, harvesting and hunting. These measures are being implemented to better protect Arctic communities:

• to limit any potential interaction with remote and vulnerable coastal communities in consideration of minimal health care infrastructure; and

• to allow the Canadian Coast Guard to focus efforts on essential operations including community resupply, ice-breaking, environmental response, and search and rescue efforts. Canadians who want to operate their pleasure craft in non-Arctic coastal waters (south of the 60th parallel), as well as on inland lakes and rivers anywhere in Canada, should follow the guidance of their local health authority.

• Where boating is allowed, people must continue to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, including practising good hygiene and frequent hand washing; and respecting physical distancing advice.

Recreational boaters can also wear a non-medical mask or face covering as an additional measure when physical distancing is not possible in public settings.

Transport Canada is calling on Canadian recreational boaters to stay home to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and to follow provincial or territorial guidelines, as well as direction provided by local or regional health authorities.

The Government of Canada is also reminding Canadian recreational boaters about the travel restriction between Canada and the United States for non-essential travel (e.g., for tourism, recreation or entertainment) that remain in place until at least May 21, 2020.

"Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of our Arctic communities, particularly during these challenging times. These new measures add to our efforts to fight COVID-19 and will help limit its transmission. I thank boaters for refraining from operating within Canada's Arctic coastal waters and doing their part to help protect our remote and vulnerable communities. We are all in this together."

Minister of Transport
The Honourable Marc Garneau