May 19th, 2022
NDP wins fight to reinstate border services at most small vessel sites
OTTAWA – With summer fast approaching and international tourism increasing, travellers and cruise operators can breathe a sigh of relief following the decision by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to resume services at most small vessel reporting sites for customs services. Over the past weeks, NDP MPs have fought in parliament and behind the scenes to get results on reinstating CBSA services at most small vessel sites.
“The government's arbitrary decision not to provide services to smaller ports across Canada was extremely problematic for travellers and local tourism businesses,” said NDP critic for public safety, Alistair MacGregor. “Visitors would have had to travel longer distances and pay hundreds of dollars more in fuel to report at the limited remaining CBSA sites. This decision also would have hurt Canada's cruise industry, which has been hit hard after two years of pandemic travel restrictions. That’s why my NDP colleagues and I pushed the government to change this decision and opened more ports across Canada.”
The boating and cruise industries were shocked when CBSA was not providing services at First Port of Arrival (FPOA) clearance to non-Cruise Ship Operations (CSO) ports, given that the boating season was already underway. This meant that international travellers coming to Canada could only receive customs services at 10 CSO ports across the country. Although they opened most of the ports, it remains problematic for the industry that all ports across Canada have yet to resume.
NDP MP Carol Hughes worked with the Executive Director of The Great Lakes Cruise Association and the President of Lakeshore Excursions to address these concerns directly to the Ministers of Public Safety and Tourism.
“This is an issue that we could have avoided if the Government had heeded the recommendation of the NDP to put in place a Safe Border Task Force that would have ensured clear plans for the post-pandemic reopening at border crossings and non-CSO ports,” said Hughes. "I am pleased to see that services will resume beginning this Friday.”