The Government of Canada releases first results of environmental measures for cruise ships

News release

August 18, 2022                                    Ottawa                                      Transport Canada  

Canadians have been clear that they expect a healthy environment, with clean waters and clean air—and the Government of Canada is committed to achieving these results.

In April 2022, Transport Canada announced strict environmental measures for wastewater on cruise ships that exceed international standards. These measures were put in place this year as part of the restart of cruise ships entering and operating in our waters, and will help keep our oceans and environment clean.  

As part of this new suite of environmental measures, the cruise industry was, and continues to be, required to document and report to Transport Canada on implementation. Compliance with the enhanced measures is also verified during formal inspections of cruise ships. The first set of results from this reporting demonstrates that the cruise ship industry has successfully implemented the new measures thus far this year.

This is significant progress towards reducing the environmental impacts of cruise ships and other vessels on the water. These strict measures, along with additional planned measures for other areas of concern, including scrubber discharges that release acidic wastewater into the ocean, will continue to help keep our waters and our environment clean.

These new measures are consistent with the Government of Canada’s commitment to keep marine ecosystems safe and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


“Cruise ships are an important part of our economy and tourism sector, and we must all work together to reduce their impact on the environment, and keep our waters safe and clean for everyone. These new environmental measures are a first step towards making shipping cleaner and protecting our waters from coast to coast to coast.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“Protecting the oceans and their ecosystems is a top priority. These important measures, which exceed international standards, demonstrate how the Government of Canada is taking strong action to protect the oceans for the future. This charts a more sustainable course for the tourism industry.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • On March 7, 2022, the Government of Canada announced the public health framework to safely restart cruise ship activity in Canadian waters, including requiring passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • On April 4, 2022, the Government of Canada announced new environmental measures related to that restart to mitigate marine pollution with the return of cruise ship and vessel traffic.

  • Out of 47 cruise ships to enter Canadian waters this year, only one vessel was unable to fully implement the new measures as a result of geographical/technical limitations and for safety reasons.

  • The cruise ship industry, which represents more than $4 billion annual input into the Canadian economy and directly and indirectly generates approximately 30,000 jobs, is an important part of Canada’s domestic tourism sector.

  • These measures exceed the current Canadian regulations aligned with international standards set out by the International Maritime Organization.

  • Wastewater in this release refers to both greywater and blackwater. Greywater is drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs, shower-stalls, or dishwashers. Blackwater is the wastewater from bathroom and toilets.

Associated links


Laurel Lennox
Press Secretary   
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
(343) 549-7892  

Media Relations 
Transport Canada, Ottawa 
(613) 993-0055

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