COVID-19 Update

We know that our operator and supplier members may be facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CFA is acting as a resource centre on all COVID-19 issues, and is circulating information to all ferry operators, regardless of their membership in our association.  CFA is acting as a conduit of information from the sector to the federal government.

Questions?  Please contact CFA’s CEO Serge Buy (

For the latest update on COVID-19, please see the following links:

Over the last few weeks, the federal government has begun to release its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that provides support to businesses and Canadians. 

Information about these measures are below.

Support for Businesses:

  • Access to Credit

A new Business Credit Availability Program will allow the BDC and EDC to provide $10 billion of additional support targeting small businesses. This support will allow private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses.  This program has been expanded to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs.  Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. 

This program includes the Canada Emergency Business Account which will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-profits.  To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.

Click here for more information.

  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

This will provide bridge-financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs are not being met through conventional financing in order to keep their operations going. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis.  Strict parameters have been put in place for businesses who wish to access this program.  More details are available here.

  • Temporary Wage Subsidy

This 3-month subsidy is equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period – to a maximum of $1,375 per employee. 
Click here for more information.

  • 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for Canadian Businesses

In order to help Canadian businesses, the federal government has announced its plans to offer a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses.  This applies to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors.

In order to qualify, a business must be able to prove a loss of at least 15% of revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months.  This measure will be backdated to March 15, as way to incentivize employers to re-hire employees that may have been laid off.

It would apply to 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per employee.  This program would be in place for a 12-week period from March 15 to June 6.

The Government of Canada has announced that the CEWS will be extended by 12 additional weeks to August 29, 2020.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Employers must prove a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March and 30% in April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019.
  • Employers of all sizes and across all sectors are eligible, with the exception of public sector entities.
  • The wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees.
  • All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.

The Application portal can be found here.

Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy can qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy for 10%, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Click here for more information.

  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

This program will provide loans (including forgivable loans) to commercial property owners who in turn lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May and June.  Further details about this program will follow shortly.

  • Regional Support- Tourism Operators, Small Businesses

A new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund earmarks nearly $962 million to help businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and more.  This fund will be administered through the regional development agencies across the country.

To find your regional development agency, and apply, click here.

For tourism operators and small businesses, flexible arrangements may be made with regional development agency (RDA) in your region – support may be available and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Click here to find the RDA in your region.

  • Defer payments

CRA will:

  1. Allow businesses to defer the payment of income tax to September 2020.
  2. Not initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next 4 weeks.
  3. Temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.
  • EDC’s Canada Account

Changes will be made to support exporters deemed to be in the national interest – allowing the government to provide additional support to the companies through loans, guarantee or insurance policies.

Support for Canadians

  • Temporary Income Support

To support Canadian workers and parents, the government will:

  • Waive 1-week waiting period to claim EI sickness benefits.
  • Introduce the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Its also covers Canadians who are still employed but not receiving income due to work disruptions and provide up to $2,000/month for up to 4 months.  Application portal to be open in early April.  Click here for more information.
  • Implementing EI Work Sharing Program – providing EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours.
  • One-time special payment through a GST credit to low- and modest-income families.
  • Increase the Canada Child Benefit.
  • Delayed tax filing date and deferral of payment of income tax amounts.

Mask Guidelines from Transport Canada

On April 17, the Canadian government introduced measures for non-medical masks or face coverings in the Canadian transportation system. 

It will mean that all air passengers will be required to wear non-medical masks or face-coverings to cover their mouth and nose during travel.

For ferries, operators will continue to have the choice:

  • By being able to enforce this measure when physical distancing is not possible (including by denying boarding to these who do not have masks), or
  • By not choosing to not enforce this measure when physical distancing is feasible.

Operators are encouraged to provide public messaging to travellers about the need to have non-medical masks or face coverings before and during their journey – if they can’t maintain physical distancing.  Our Association will put some social media messaging on this that can be used by operators.

To be clear: this measure does not include employees.  Operators are free to decide, on their own, if staff can or need to wear non-medical masks or face coverings.

Additionally, please find below various links from Transport Canada on the new guidelines related to non-medical masks and face coverings for passengers on ferries.

Please note that we will be tweeting, in both official languages, various social media messages related to this and other announcements as they are released.  You can find us on Twitter @canadianferry

1.       News Release (multimodal)

2.       Backgrounder (multimodal)

3.       Guidance document

4.       Poster – “Travel by Ferry or Water Taxi”

5.       Poster – “Face Coverings on Passenger Vessel and Ferries”

If you have any questions regarding the new regulations, please contact CFA CEO Serge Buy at

Interim Order No 3: Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to COVID-19

Transport Canada has issued a new Interim Order, Interim Order No.3 Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which replaces the Interim Order No. 2 that was released on April 20th.

Interim Order No.3 puts in place measures announced by Minister Garneau on May 29th,  prohibiting passenger vessels that are certified to carry more than 100 persons (including passengers and crew) AND are equipped with overnight capacity for passengers (bunks, cabins, etc.) from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020.

Vessels certified to carry more than 12 passengers will be prohibited from entering Canadian Arctic waters (waters north of the 60th parallel, including the territorial sea in the vicinity of Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador coast), also until October 31, 2020.

Essential passenger vessels and ferry vessels will continue to operate with mitigation measures in place to reduce to the spread of COVID-19. All other vessels will be permitted to operate, subject to restrictions from their provincial, territorial, or local health authority.

Interim Order No.3 Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ship Safety Bulletin: Mobility of Asymptomatic Workers in the Marine Sector During COVID-19 - SSB No.: 18/2020

This bulletin outlines measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on board essential passenger vessels and ferries. These practices must be implemented by essential passenger vessels and ferries that continue to operate, under restrictions, during the pandemic.

This bulletin replaces Ship Safety Bulletin No. 09/2020