Passengers and vehicles line up to board at B.C. Ferries Tsawwassen terminal, July 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

COVID-19: Horgan protests forcing B.C. Ferries passengers out of cars

Transport Canada order set to take effect Sept. 30

B.C. Premier John Horgan wasted no time in protesting the federal government’s decision to re-impose its rule that B.C. Ferries passengers have to leave vehicles on the lower decks during sailings.

Horgan said he immediately raised the issue with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland Sept. 9, the day the decision to remove the temporary exemption put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Transport Canada lifted its requirement to vacate lower decks earlier this year after B.C. officials pressed federal officials repeatedly about keeping the ferry system functioning with greatly reduced traffic. Effective Sept. 30, passengers on lower decks must come up to passenger decks, which are subject to mandatory mask rules and have much of their seating blocked off to preserve physical distance.

Horgan said the regulation is stricter than it needs to be for most of the coastal routes B.C. Ferries follows. It was imposed in the wake of the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North during an Inside Passage sailing at night. Two passengers in the lower vehicle decks died.

2013: Queen of the North officer jailed for negligence

2016: B.C. Ferries passengers banned from lower decks

“This is something that’s being imposed, returning to a previous situation that we also felt was a bit heavy-handed for the inland waters that our ferries travel in,” Horgan told reporters in Victoria. “We are in the throes of moving resources into public transit, whether it be B.C. Transit, TransLink and B.C. Ferries so we can stabilize public transportation systems. This is an unwelcome intrusion by the federal government at this time, and we’re going to pursue it aggressively.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc ferryCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SS Bonnington steam whistle comes home to Nakusp

Shawn Pollard has donated the ship’s steam whistle to the Nakusp Rail Society on behalf his father

Trial of RCMP officer begins in Nelson’s Capitol Theatre

Jason Tait is charged with manslaughter after an incident in 2015

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Kaslo councillor admits to ‘baiting’ member of public in email exchange

Kaslo Village Council to consider adopting code of conduct

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks

Dr. Bonnie Henry will soon be releasing guidelines on how to safely trick-or-treat this Halloween

Reincarnation, baby! Music-making B.C. couple celebrate ‘miracle’ pregnancy

‘I (said) to Adam, ‘I really think this is your brother reincarnated,’ Elise Estrada says

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Ahead of likely second wave, 60% of Canadians relaxing COVID-19 measures

Proportion of Canadians following safety measures has dropped by 3 per cent in the past two weeks

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Most Read