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COVID-19 Resource Centre



The following provides a compendium of measures implemented in response to COVID 19 and the impact on international vessels operating in Canadian waters.  


COVID 19  is a public health crisis that requires close cooperation among all entities to maintain the fluidity and integrity of the transportation supply chain which is key to supporting federal and provincial responses to the crisis and enabling economic recovery.



Border closed to foreign nationals

(Other than US nationals)

  • Rule: Prohibition on foreign nationals (other than US nationals) from entering Canada, until June 30- click here

  • Exemption: 

Canada -US border closed

  • Rule: Closure of the Canada-US Border until May 20 - NEW 

  • Exemption:

Quarantine Order


  • Marine workers who are exempted must still maintain a distance of two-metres from others to the best of their ability, closely self-monitor, and self-isolate if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (PHAC directives). These requirements apply at federal and provincial levels

  • IMPORTANT: Provincial Quarantine Orders may also be applicable (see below)

PROVINCIAL Emergency orders

Most provinces have adopted Provincial Emergency Orders which contains measures such as closing of non-essential businesses (Qc and On), restrictions on movement and 14-day self-isolation requirements. In most cases, the provinces recognise marine transportation as an essential service and provide exemptions for marine workers. The provincial emergency orders will apply in addition to the federal rules.  


At the federal level, Canada has issued guidance on Services and Functions Deemed Essential. Under the federal approach, essential marine workers include marine related businesses such crew, port workers, equipment operators, longshoremen, marine pilots, marine agents, representatives of foreign ship owners, maintenance workers, tug captains, etc. These guidelines are only advisory in nature (and therefore do not replace Provincial Emergency Orders).


NEW - IMPORTANT: Marine transportation workers travelling within and across provinces and territories for businesses purposes should carry with them a copy of TC SSB 09-2020, along with any relevant provincial bulletins (see below) and an employment confirmation letter to facilitate identification (as essential workers). The Federation has developed a proposed employment identification template letter (as a guidance only). 




  • Rules: NEW  Emergency Order extended to May 16; NEW  Special Measures Order introduced May 4 prohibiting non residents from entering Newfoundland (subject to exemptions below); Closure of several businesses and 14-day self-isolation if entering Newfoundland 
  • Exemptions: Marine-related business and several other sectors;  Asymptomatic transportation workers not required to self isolate (when working). For details click HERE

Nova Scotia

  • Rules: NEW Emergency Order extended to May 17; Businesses (essential and non essential) remain open; 14-day self isolation if entering Nova Scotia
  • Exemptions:  Asymptomatic transportation workers not required to self isolate. For details click HERE

New Brunswick

  • Rules: NEW Emergency Order extended to May 14; Restrictions on operations of several businesses; 14-days self isolation if entering New Brunswick;
  • Exemptions:  Clarifies that asymptomatic transportation workers not required to self isolate (issued on April 9). For details click HERE

St. Lawrence-Great Lakes


  • Rules: Emergency orders extended until May 13; 14-day self isolation if entering Quebec; NEW Reopening of some non-essential business as of May 4 (outside Montreal) and May 25 (Montreal);  NEW Lifting of regional travel restrictions, including Laurentides (May 4), Saguenay (May 11), Bas Saint-Laurent, Gaspesie, Cote Nord (May 18)
  • Exemptions: Transportation and Logistics businesses are essential services and also exempted from 14-day self isolation and restriction on movement - for details click HERE 


  • Rules: NEW Emergency orders extended until May 12; Closure of all non-essential businesses, 14-day self isolation if entering province
  • Exemptions:  Transportation and Logistics businesses are essential businesses and also exempted from 14-day self-isolation. For more details click HERE

British Columbia

  • Rules: Most businesses (essential and non essential) remain open; 14-day self isolation if from out of province; AND requirement to submit a self-isolation plan if returning to BC after international travels, including from United States - click HERE (NEW) 
  • Exemptions: Transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing are essential businesses; Asymptomatic transportation workers exempted from 14-day self-isolation (for those workers needed to maintain continuous operations);   
  • IMPORTANT- NEW : Essential workers must ALSO develop a self-isolation plan, if returning from international travel (including from United States), but are only required to implement, if develop symptoms. 
  • For more details click HERE






Reporting requirements


If individual onboard ship exhibits COVID 19 symptoms  



Prior to vessel arriving at port– Report to TC Marine Safety and Security (TC MSS)
  • At any time while bound for Canada, vessel must report under Quarantine Act (through TC MSS)
  • 96 hours and 24 Pre-Arrival Inspection Reports (PAIR): Pay particular attention to crew's health 
  • Report if crew’s health situation changes at any time after submissions of 96 and 24 hours PAIR reports to TC Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS) as per coordinates below
  • Upon receiving a report: PHAC will issue directives to vessel and notify other entities as needed 

Once vessel has arrived (at anchor or berth): 
  • Must inform local health authorities (click HERE for provincial details), ship’s agent and TC MSS; Local health authority will issue directives 

Reporting requirement when ordering a pilot: 
  • Ship agent to inform pilotage authority of crew’s health 

Reporting by others (ship agent, terminal operators, etc.):

  • Should contact the responsible provincial or local health authorities

TCMSS details: B.C. (marsecw@tc.gc.ca) & Atlantic, St. Lawrence, G-L, Arctic (marsece@tc.gc.ca)

NEW: COVID 19 phone numbers by province: click HERE



Operational measures

Crew change AND other essential marine workers joining ships


(marine surveyors, naval architect, etc)

  • Asymptomatic individuals travelling to Canada to join a ship are exempted from prohibition of entry into Canada for foreign nationalsTC SSB 09-2020 - NEW

  • Documentation at airport:
  • Seafarer Identity Document issued in accordance with ILO, A Certificate of Competency, along with passport, proof of employment; and a visa, if required
  • For other essential marine workers joining ships: A proof of employment 
  • The above TC SSB 09-2020 should be provided to individuals travelling to Canada to join a ship along with copy of guidance to airlines, and any relevant provincial documents (see below) 

Shore leave - restrictions 


NEWTC SSB 09-2020

  • Shore leave to asymptomatic seafarers for a period of no more than 4 hours and only for essential purposes (eg: medical emergencies) - Until June 30

  • No shore leave in the Arctic - until December 31, 2020

General information

  • NEWExtension of the validity of Marine Transportation Security Clearances (MTSC) and Restricted Area Passes (R1 and R2 - for a period of 9- days and under certain conditions click HERE 

  • Transport Canada's webpage on transportation's related measure for COVID-19 (air, marine, etc)- click here 

  • Keeping you Safe at Work: Canada’s Ports are Open to International Trade (General guidelines & reporting procedures) - click here

  • Keeping you safe at Work: Marine Sector Health and COVID-19 - click here

  • New working procedures at TC Marine Safety and Security Offices - TC SSB 08-2020 click here 

Ship INspections

Inspectors to maintain a 2-meter distance from others at all times; Inspectors (TC, CFIA, etc) can travel in the same vehicle/launch only if 2-metre separation can be maintained throughout the transit.


Transport Canada

NEW:  Port State Control (PSC) inspections under the COVID 19 situation:

  • Although Canada will continue to use a risk-based approach in selecting vessels for PSC inspections (as per TC information): 
  • On-site inspection will be maintained mostly for foreign vessels identified as High Priority (P1) under regional PSC MOUs; Time onboard and interactions with crew will be minimized as much as possible during these on-site inspections
  • For other selected vessels (including foreign tankers identified as Medium Priority (P2)), verification done through document review - with the possibility of on-site inspection, if document review not satisfactory
  • In the event that a ship cannot fulfill convention/statutory requirement despite best efforts (e.g.: challenges to revalidate seafarer or ship certificates or delays in completing required audit, surveys, repairs, etc),  TC will take a pragmatic approach to compliance - in accordance with the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU guidance on PSC inspections under COVID-19 situation - assessing situation on a case by case basis.

Canadian Food and Inspection Agency

Asian gypsy moth (AGM) inspections 

  • As a general rule, CFIA to conduct non-compliant inspections (at anchorage) and import inspections at a particular rate based on risk
  • Other measures may include requesting additional information prior to inspections to reduce the amount of time spent on a vessel and interacting with crew
  • In Thunder Bay:

Canadian Border and Service Agency

Additional requirements from CBSA regional offices:

  • CBSA's Atlantic region: Master/Agent must contact local CBSA office every time a crew member wishes to go ashore AFTER the vessel has been initially cleared


Atlantic Pilotage Authority (APA)

Notice to clients: March 27 & March 11  

  • Advising on preventives measures (including protocols for PPE, pilot boats and offices
  • APA reduced the number of pilot carried by boat to minimize risks
  • Pilots instructed to follow vessel's specified protocols 
  • Pilots and vessel crew to use different set of RADAR, ECDIS consoles, ROT indicators (when available)
  • Over carriage of pilots to ports outside of APA jurisdiction not permitted  NEW
  • When requesting a pilot, report to dispatch center any person with symptoms
  • Sanitize access and wheelhouse prior to pilot boarding
  • Wherever possible, maintain safe distance of at least 2-meter

Laurentian Pilotage Authority (LPA)


Notices to clients: March 20  & March 12

  • When requesting a pilot, report to dispatch center any person with symptoms and advise if crew member's health situation changes thereafter;  

  • Confirm that LPA required hygiene and protection measures have been put in place prior to pilot boarding 

  • Maintain safe distance of at least 2-metre

  • Pilot boats and pilot waiting rooms are sanitized daily; LPA and Pilots Corporation ensure that pilots are in good health and follow all applicable government directives

Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (GLPA)


Notice to clients No. 2 & No. 3 

  • When requesting a pilot (12hrs notice), report to dispatch center any person with symptoms
  • Sanitize access and wheelhouse prior to pilot boarding; 
  • Wherever possible, maintain safe distance of at least 2 meters

Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA)

Notice to clients: March 18 & memos Victoria Dispatch & Prince Rupert:

  • NEW Information on transportation and logistics to move pilots to ships (March 30 -Notice 5/2020
  • Pilotage orders for out of district assignments (BC to Puget Sound or reverse) will no longer be permitted  (Notice 4/2020)
  • Onboard sanitation requirements prior to pilot board 
  • Wherever possible, maintain safe distance of at least 2 metres
  • Additional reporting requirements for vessel/crew arriving from high risk areas 

British Columbia Coat Pilots COVID-19 protocol - click here

CRUISE ships 

Canadian waters (south of 60)

  • Exception:
  • A cruise vessel exercising the "right of innocent passage in accordance with international law" (transiting without stopping)

Arctic waters

  • Arctic waters: Canadian waters north of the 60th parallel of north and Canada's territorial sea in the vicinity of Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and Labrador Coast

  • Cruise ships/passenger vessels with a capacity of more than 12 passengers (as per the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate) are prohibited from navigating, mooring or berthing in Canadian Arctic waters until October 31
  • Exception - Right of innocent passage: A foreign vessel exercising the right of innocent passage (transiting without stopping) in Canadian Arctic waters;  Additonal conditons: Vessel must provides 60 day notice and will be subject to ministerial conditions - Click here for Interim order

United States 

  • The United States CDC has extended the No Sail Order for cruise ships carrying more than 250 passengers for another 100 days (effective as of April 15);

THe St Lawrence seaway management corporation (SLSMC)

Reporting requirements

  • In addition to TC Canada reporting protocol (see above TC section), vessel must promptly advice the nearest Seaway Traffic Control Center in the event of a crew member presenting COVID 10 symptoms    
  • Montreal-Lake Ontario section: Report as per amended Seaway Notice #17 - click here 
  • Niagara region-Welland Canal: Report as per amended Seaway Notice #9: click here


  • NEW SLSMC has removed requirement to submit  the "IMO Health Declaration Form” (Notice #19)

Operating requirements

  • SLMC restrictions on assisting ships requiring mooring lines for a lockage; Vessel requiring this service to contact nearest Seaway Traffic Control Center - Notice #9 and  Notice #17
  • Limitations to interfaces at Canadian locks AND SLSMC will not provide assistance handling gangways -  Notice 10 
  • NEWRestrictions for Pilots Boarding Ships at Iroquois Lock - Notice #18 

  • SLSMC has implemented screening measures for personnel requesting entry to a lock via access gates and for crew members requesting to disembark a ship at the locks

Modification to ship inspection

  • Inspectors will be boarding vessels with personnel protection equipment (masks, gloves, etc.)
  • Vessels to complete "Self-inspection Report for Foreign Ships" maybe granted an exemption from the SLMC Enhanced Ship Inspection (ESI) - Notice #19 Requirement to submit the "IMO Health Declaration Form" in addition to the "Self-inspection Report for Foreign Ships" has been removed)   
  • Ballast water inspection will still take place



NEW: The following provides a summary of some of the information contained in the US Coast Guard COVID 19 Marine Safety Information Bulletins. For direct access to USCG MISBs, click HERE 


Vessel reporting requirements
  • USCG reviews  “Notice of Arrivals”; USCG Coast Guard coordinates with CDC quarantine stations, who will coordinate with local health authorities

  • Vessels destined for a U.S. port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during 15 days prior to arrival at the U.S. port; See Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for cargo ships - click HERE for more details

  • Vessel to use CDC reporting form to report onboard illness - click HERE

USCG approach to Port State Control inspections  

  • USCG will not issue deficiencies or detain vessels for expired certificates, documents or mariner credentials until October 1, 2020

  • USCG may accept evidence such as vessel status within Qualship 21, previous port state or flag state exams, recent classification surveys, pictures, video, vessel logs, etc. in lieu of Coast Guard attendance onboard to credit a required inspection or exam; or may defer a required inspection or exam for up to 90 day

  • Click HERE for more details

Operational restrictions 

  • Entry restrictions on persons arriving from or through listed high risks countries, including Iran, China, WU states within the Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland - click HERE

  • Cargo vessels that have been to the countries noted above or embarked crewmembers from these countries within the last 14 days, with no sick crewmembers, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, provided crewmembers remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo - click HERE for more details  

  • Authority to restrict shore leave resides with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the USCG , and CDC for medical matters. Ports/terminals must coordinate with local CBP, USCG, or the CDC, State and local health department offices. Nothing in the Seafarer Access requirements prevent ports/terminals from maximizing options to minimize direct interaction that may include use of camera systems, barriers, or other measures Click HERE

Marine transportation workers as essential workers

  • Commercial shipping sector identified as essential for continuous flow of commerce (including crew, port workers,  Vessel owners, operators, shipping agents, marine consultants, naval architects, marine exchanges, surveyors, etc.); US federal guidelines are advisory in nature and quarantine orders are up to State and local officials - Click HERE
General Guidance


  • US CDC Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 - click HERE 


NEW: COVID 19 measures listed by EU member states - click HERE



The Shipping Federation of Canada is working diligently to provide marine stakeholders with information specific to their sector in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.  We are liaising with key authorities to ensure the delivery of streamlined information and timely updates on protocols and practices.


We urge members to take the appropriate steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, preserve the health of their teams and take practical protective measures against the virus. 


DISCLAIMER: Although we will endeavour to update this webpage as often as possible, information issued directly by Canadian authorities and other entities interacting with vessels remains the official source to ensure compliance.