Please click HERE for information on how foreign seafarers calling Canadian ports can obtain COVID-19 vaccinations.


The Canadian border has been re-opened to non-essential travellers: 

  • Travellers from other countries who have been fully vaccinated by a government-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival are permitted to enter Canada for non-essential travel (in effect since September 7, 2021).

Testing and vaccination requirements for non-essential travellers entering Canada:

  • As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need a pre-entry molecular test as a condition of entry (although mandatory testing requirements will remain in place for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated non-essential travelers).
  • Fully vaccinated non-essential travellers entering Canada continue to be exempt from the requirement for a post-arrival COVID-19 test unless they are randomly selected to complete a test upon arrival.
  • For more information on requirements for fully vaccinated non-essential travellers entering by land, air or sea, please click HERE.

How do these changes impact incoming crew members?

  • Crew members travelling to Canada to work on board ships continue to be viewed as essential workers who are important for the movement of goods or people.  As such, they continue to be exempt from all current prohibitions, including quarantine requirements, pre/post-arrival Covid testing, and vaccination requirements (although the government’s preference is for all travellers to be fully vaccinated).
  • Nevertheless, it is important that they carry the appropriate travel documents and supporting paperwork, including a letter from the Canadian agent or shipowner confirming their employment on board the ship.
  • For additional information on crew member exemptions, click HERE. For a list of essential workers compiled by the federal government, click HERE.

For information on Canadian border requirements based on traveller type, click HERE.


Travelling to Canada to Join a Ship

Asymptomatic individuals travelling to Canada to join a ship as members of a crew are exempt from quarantine, testing and vaccination requirements (although the governments preference is for all travellers to be fully vaccinated).  Click HERE for Transport Canada’s most recent Ship Safety Bulletin issued March 3, 2022 for additional information. 

Recommended documentation at airport for crew members joining a ship:

  • Seafarer identity document issued in accordance with ILO
  • Certificate of competency
  • Proof of employment (contract or letter from shipping company)
  • Passport and visa (if from visa-required country)
  • NOTE:  All individuals travelling to Canada by air must provide their health and contact information to the Public Health Agency of Canada using the ArriveCAN app or website prior to boarding their flight.  Click HERE to access the ArriveCAN platform


All joining crew members from visa-required countries must apply on-line for a temporary resident visa. In order for  a visa application to be processed on an expedited basis, applicants must do the following when filling out the on-line form:
  • In the field entitled “reason for travel,” select “Other” from the dropdown menu – then enter COVID-19 (exactly as written here)

Although applicants will receive an automatically-generated “Biometrics Instruction Letter” following submission of their application, IRCC has provided the following additional guidance:

  • If a crew member resides in an area where the Visa Application Centre (VAC) is open, they should schedule an appointment to enrol their biometrics as per the instructions in the letter.
  • If a crew member resides in an area where the VAC is closed as a result of COVID-19, they should wait to hear from IRCC with respect to next steps, as the biometrics requirement will likely be waived in such cases (assuming no “red flags” in the applicant’s file).

If an applicant has not received information about their application after 5 business days, they should contact IRCC’s Travel Exemptions inbox to request an update (IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca – Inquiries must be made by the individual who submitted the initial application

Please click HERE for Transport Canada’s guidance document on this issue.



Transport Canada has issued updated guidance allowing asymptomatic, presumed non-COVID-19 carrying crew members:

  • Shore leave can be taken for a maximum of six hours.
  • No restrictions on where shore leave can occur, subject to the advice of the crew members’s employer, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and local health authorities.
  • For additional information, see updated Ship Safety Bulletin 06/2022, issued March 3, 2022.

The Shipping Federation of Canada’s Covid-19 Resource Centre is designed to provide marine stakeholders with information specific to their sector in response to the continually evolving COVID-19 situation.  We are liaising with key authorities to ensure the delivery of streamlined information and timely updates on protocols and practices.


We urge members to take the appropriate steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, preserve the health of their teams and take practical protective measures against the virus. 


DISCLAIMER: Although we will endeavour to update this webpage as often as possible, information issued directly by Canadian authorities and other entities interacting with vessels remains the official source to ensure compliance.