Fears over the coronavirus COVID-19 have led to the cancellation of the 2020 cruise ship season in Nunavut and the NWT.
Transport Canada made the announcement on Friday.
“Given the limited public health capacity in Canada’s Northern communities, the cruise ship season for vessels with Canadian Arctic stops will be deferred for the entire season this year. This would apply to cruise ships of all sizes,” reads a statement from the federal department.
This represents a substantial loss of revenue for some Northern communities. In 2018, Pond Inlet reaped $250,000 in service fees from cruise ships. That was based on a rate of $50 per passenger, an amount that increased to $75 per passenger in 2019.
The Transport Canada news release issued on Friday acknowledged the losses that businesses and municipalities are absorbing.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy and communities across Canada. We are continually assessing the risks of the COVID-19 based on science and evidence, and consulting with our government, industry and regional health partners,” the statement reads. “Further decisions on whether the season can resume on July 1, 2020, will be based on science and evidence in the best interests of the health and safety of Canadians.”