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COVID-19 Resource Centre



The Canadian border is being gradually re-opened to non-essential travellers: 

  • As of August 9, 2021, American citizens (and permanent residents currently residing in the US) who have been fully vaccinated by a government-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival will be permitted to enter Canada for non-essential travel. 
  • As of September 7, 2021, above will be extended to travellers from all other countries.

A number of additional changes are also coming into effect as of August 9, 2021:

  • Fully vaccinated travellers will NOT need a post-arrival COVID-19 test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a test upon arrival. However, all travellers will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result regardless of vacination status, There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.
  • The three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air.
  • Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from quarantine requirements.  However, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
  • The current measures limiting international passenger flights to four Canadian airports (Montreal, toronto, Calgary and Vancouver) will be expanded to include the following five additional Canadian airports as of August 9, 2021:
    -     Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
    -     Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
    -     Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
    -     Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport;
    -     Edmonton International Airport
  • Note:  Direct flights to Canada from India continue to be suspended - current prohibition has been extended until August 21, 2021

How do these changes impact incoming crew members and marine workers?

  • Crew members and marine workers travelling to Canada to work on board ships continue to be viewed as essential workers who are important for the movement of goods or people.  As such, they continue to be exempt from all current prohibitions, including entry bans, quarantine requirements and pre/post-arrival Covid testing.
  • Nevertheless, it is important that they carry the appropriate travel documents and supporting paperwork, including a letter from the Canadian agent or shipowner confirming their employment on board the ship and outlinin the essential nature of the work they will be doin in relation to the ship or its cargo.  Click HERE for Transport Canada's most recent Ship Safety Bulletin for additional information.
  • For additional information on crew and marine worker exemptions,click HERE  (scroll down to "Group Exemptions under 6e of the federal emergency order). For a list of essential workers compiled by the federal government, click HERE.

2. documentation  for crew and MARINE TRANSPORTATION WORKERS 


  • Asymptomatic individuals travelling to Canada to join a ship, either as crew members or other essential workers, are generally exempt from prohibition of entry into Canada for foreign nationals.  Click HERE for Transport Canada's most recent Ship Safety Bulletin issued March 4, 2021 for additional information.  

  • Documentation at airport for crew members joining a ship:
  • Seafarer identity document issued in accordance with ILO
  • Certificate of competency
  • Proof of employment (contract or letter from shipping company)
  • Passport
  • Visa (if from a visa-required country)
  • Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 03/2021
  • Canadian guidance to air operators managing travellers coming to Canada from transborder and international airports (updated April 1, 2021)
  • NOTE:  All individuals travelling to Canada by air - including crew members and other marine workers - must provide their health and contact information to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) using the ArriveCAN app or website prior to boarding their flight. Click HERE to access the ArriveCAN platform.

  • Documentation at airport for other essential marine workers joining a ship:
  • Proof of employment on board the ship (letter from ship owner and / or Canadian agent)
  • Passport
  • Visa (if from a visa-required country)
  • Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 03/2021
  • Canadian guidance to air operators managing travellers coming to Canada from transborder and international airports (updated April 1, 2021)
  • Proof of negative COVID test - Click HERE for additional information.
  • NOTE:  All individuals travelling to Canada by air - including crew members and other marine workers - must provide their health and contact information to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) using the ArriveCAN app or website prior to boarding their flight. Click HERE to access the ArriveCAN platform.     

  • NEW  30-day suspension of flights to Canada from India  extended until July 21, 2021.  Passengers who depart these countries to travel to Canada via an indirect flight must obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country (not India or Pakistan) before continuing their journey to Canada.  Requirement does not apply to crew members travelling to Canada to join a ship, but does apply to other rmarine workers travelling to Canada from India - Click HERE for more information.

  • Additional note:
  • All air passengers to have a non medical mask covering their mouth and nose during travel (including at airport) or will be refused boarding - click HERE.

3. crew changes 


  • All joining crew members from visa-required countries must apply on-line for a temporary resident visa.

  • In order for a visa application to be processed on an expedited basis, applicants must do the following when filling out the on-line form: 

    - In the field entitled "reason for travel," select "Other" from the dropdown menu
    - Enter COVID-19 (exactly as written here)

  • Although applicants will receive an automatically-generated "Biometrics Instruction Letter" following submission of their application, IRCC has provided the following additional guidance:

    • If a crew member resides in an area where the Visa Application Centre (VAC) is open, they should schedule an appointment to enrol their biometrics as per the instructions in the letter.
    • If a crew member resides in an area where the VAC is closed as a result of COVID-19, they should wait to hear from IRCC with respect to next steps, as the biometrics requirement will likely be waived in such cases (assuming no "red flags" in the applicant's file). 

  • If an applicant has not received any communication about their application after 5 business days, they should contact IRCC's Travel Exemptions inbox to request an update (IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca - Inquiries must be made by the individual who submitted the initial application

  • Please click HERE for Transport Canada's guidance document on this issue.


  • CBSA officers will grant extensions to the requirement that discharged crew members leave Canada within 72 hours on a case-by-case basis, based on the exit plans presented and in consideration of COVID-related challenges of booking outbound flights, etc.

  • Crew members who expect to remain in Canada well beyond 72 hours after being discharged can apply to extend their stay in Canada by obtaining a visitor record.

4. shore leave for crew members


  • "Controlled shore leave" permitted to asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying  crew members for a period of no more than 4 hours. 

  • Shore leave must occur at: 1) a shore-based welfare facility (such as a seafarer mission) located either on marine facility grounds or in a nearby location; 2) a designated area on marine facility grounds (if such an area has been identified for that purpose); 3) a medical facility, a pharmacy, or a store containing a pharmacy.

  • NEW: For additional information, see updated Ship Safety Bulletin 28/2020.


  • In cases where PPE is not already required and social distancing is not consistently possible, marine transportaiton workers should have in their possesion (or have access to) a non-medical mask or face covering.

  • Use face covering on risk-based approach according to workplace circumstances or when required by local authorities.

  • See TC Ship Safety Bulletin 15/2020 for additional information.



NEW Rule:  Vessels with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons (passengers and crew) prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until November 1, 2021.

  • Exception:  A foreign vessel that is in the territorial seas of Canada exercising the "right of innocent passage" (transiting without stopping) in accordance with international law.
  • Exception: A foreign vessel that is transiting the Great Lakes, Inside Passage, St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence Gulf or St. Lawrence Seaway (and does not moor, anchor or berth beyond what is necessary for ordinary navigation).
  • NEW Additional exceptions (all subject to 60 days notice before expected arrival date in Canadian waters): A vessel navigating in Canadian waters for purpose of repair; a vessel requiring the exemption in order to allow for viable, effective and economical marine transportation or commerce; a vessel for which it is not practical to comply with the prohibition under the circumstances. For additional details, click HERE.


NEW Rule:  Vessels that are certified to carry more than 12 passengers prohibited from entering Canadian Arctic waters (waters north of the 60th parallel and the territorial sea in the vicinity of Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador coast) until February 28, 2022.

  • Exception:  A vessel exercising its right of innocent passage, provided such vessel has submitted written notice to the Minister of Transport 60 days before its expected date of arrival in the above waters.
  • NEW Additional exceptions:  Same as for vessels operating south of 60th parallel, as per above.


Rule: Other vessels (e.g. small cruise ships under 100 person capacity and tour boats) are permitted to operate subject to restrictions from their provincial, territorial, or local health authority. 

  • Above vessels are still subject to border restrictions prohibiting all foreign nationals (including from US) from entering Canada for leisure purposes.  This includes entries into Canadian territorial and inland waters which do not include landing on Canadian soil(touring, sightseeing, whale w atching, etc.).
  • Please see this CBSA Fact-Sheet for additional information

Rule:  Essential passenger vessels and ferry vessels can continue to operate, provided they have mitigation measures in place to reduce to the spread of COVID-19.


Please see the following for additional information:


NEW Rule US Centre for Disease Control's  "No Sail Order" for cruise ships expired on October 31 and has been replaced with a "Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships," which introduces a phased approach for resuming cruise ship activity. Key elements of the framework,which remains in effect until November 1, 2021, are as per below:

  • In the initial phase of the framework, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine, isolation and social distancing requirements to protect crew members before passenger travel will be allowed to resume in later phases.  Cruise ship operators must also build onboard laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers. 
  • Subsequent phases include simulated (mock voyages) with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test cruise ship operators' ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and return to passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passenger, crew members and communities.
  • These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators' ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk. 
  • For additional information, 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.