Canada to Enforce Stricter Environmental Measures for Cruise Ships

This week, the government of Canada, in coordination with industry, announced new environmental measures for cruise ships in Canadian waters that exceed international standards. For the 2022 season, cruise operators will implement stricter environmental measures regarding greywater and blackwater (greywater is defined as the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs, shower stalls or dishwashers and blackwater is defined as the wastewater from bathrooms and toilets).

The measures include:

  • Prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated blackwater within three nautical miles from shore where geographically possible
  • Treating greywater together with blackwater before it is discharged between three and 12 nautical miles from shore to the greatest extent possible
  • Strengthening the treatment of blackwater between three and 12 nautical miles from shore using an approved treatment device
  • Reporting to Transport Canada compliance with these measures as they relate to discharges made within Canadian waters.

These measures will better protect Canada’s oceans and the marine environment and will support the work that is underway to conserve 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Although currently only in effect for 2022, the government of Canada plans to make these changes permanent.

In a statement, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said, “Transport Canada’s announcement [Monday] regarding new environmental measures is a result of ongoing dialogue with the cruise industry and reflects the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship and continually advancing environmental sustainability practices.”

It continued: “CLIA cruise line members have instituted industry policies that in many cases are more comprehensive than national and international regulations on wastewater discharges. For example, CLIA members must implement a mandatory CLIA policy to not discharge untreated sewage in the ocean, anywhere, anytime, under normal operations even though international regulations allow such discharges within specific guidelines. Many CLIA members' ships are equipped with Advanced Waste Treatment Systems (AWTS), and all new ship builds will use AWTS, which treat wastewater to a tertiary level, a higher standard than wastewater treatment facilities in some coastal cities in both the United States and Canada.”

Canada Cruising Resumes

As announced in early March, cruising in Canada was OK'd cruising from the start of April. Health measures in place include all crew and passengers being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and passengers being required to take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours before boarding a cruise ship or taking an antigen test within one day of boarding a cruise ship.

"CLIA applauds Canada’s decision to welcome cruise ships back for a 2022 season," the association said this week. "This decision allows the tourism sector to start rebuilding the 30,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in economic activity that were generated by the cruise industry across Canada prior to 2020, while strengthening connections to neighboring regions."

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