Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued an across-country reminder last week advising the public that border restrictions for fishing and boating in Canadian waters remain in place.
The Government of Canada says the measure shows federal commitment to protecting the health and safety of Canadians by minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants in Canada.
“CBSA reminds foreign national boaters and anglers that travel restrictions are still in place,” the June 10 statement reads. “Unless exempt, foreign nationals, including United States citizens, cannot enter Canadian waters for any discretionary (non-essential) reasons.”
This includes restrictions on: crossing via boat to a cottage or summer home in Canada; pleasure and competitive fishing; fishing tours; and sightseeing.
These restrictions include any movements in Canadian waters for discretionary purposes even if boaters are not coming to port, anchoring or mooring. At this time, these restrictions apply regardless of the vaccination status of boaters.
Boaters may still navigate through international or Canadian waters while in transit directly from one place outside Canada to another place outside Canada if the transit is: direct; continuous/uninterrupted; and by the most reasonable route.
If at any point during transit, boaters come to port, anchor, moor or make contact with another vessel, they must report to the CBSA immediately.
Transiting through a canal or lock system that requires mooring or anchoring does not constitute an uninterrupted route, and is therefore prohibited under the current border measures.
The CBSA and its law enforcement partners are actively monitoring Canadian waterways.
Foreign national boaters found to be in Canadian waters for discretionary purposes may face severe penalties including maximum penalties up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
Boaters who enter Canada without reporting to the CBSA, including for the purpose of refuelling, may face monetary penalties, seizure of their vessels and/or criminal charges.
The minimum fine for failing to report to the CBSA upon entry to Canada is $1,000.
Furthermore, non-compliance by foreign nationals may affect their immigration admissibility and ability to re-enter Canada in the future.
Canadian citizens, including those who hold dual citizenship, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act continue to enter Canada by right and are subject to COVID-19 entry screening measures.
The CBSA has temporarily suspended or reduced service at certain small vessel reporting sites, small airports of entry, ferry terminals and to the Remote Area Border Crossing program. Travellers should review the list of CBSA locations that remain open during this temporary service suspension.
Anyone with information on suspicious cross-border activities is encouraged to call the CBSA Border watch line at 1-888-502-9060.