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

A police officer speaks to a driver during last year’s Shift Into Winter event in Quesnel. The annual road check reminds drivers to slow down and be safe during winter. (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
It’s time to Shift into Winter

The annual campaign offers winter driving tips

Jeff Malin nears the finish line Sunday, Oct. 11 in downtown Quesnel. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
No travel, no problem: Jeff Malin completes ninth marathon in Quesnel

The Quesnel firefighter has been running marathons since 2012

The owners of Motherlode Wash on Juniper Road in South Quesnel are hoping to construct a new wash building that would accommodate larger vehicles like RVs and semi-trucks. The new building would be two storeys and would match the existing buildings on the property. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
South Quesnel’s Motherlode Wash applies to add wash building for large vehicles

The new building will include three large-vehicle wash bays and one touchless wash tunnel

Sherry Jasper and Juerg Feldmann show off their third-place trophies from an outdoor Quesnel Pickleball Club tournament earlier this year. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel pickleball going back in the jar

The indoor season will kick off with strict COVID-19 prevention guidelines

Portrait of Dr. William Allen Jones - screen print with gold ink - (c) Bill Horne. (Photo Submitted)
Wells artist prints portrait of B.C.’s first dentist

Bill Horne hand-silk screened the portrait with 11 colours in an edition of just 54 as a fundraiser

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for NDP candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

Six Mile Beach outside Nelson is known for its perfect sand, clear water and unique sand spit. But the drowning death of a man in July has residents asking if the dangerous spot has become too popular. Photo: David Grantham/Kootenay Drone Services
Dangerous oasis: The fatal history of a popular Kootenay Lake beach

Six Mile Beach near Nelson is known for its unique sand spit. But locals have feared it for decades

In this photo illustration, a provincial election mail-in ballot sealed in an Elections B.C. return envelope is seen before being deposited in a Canada Post mailbox, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The final result of British Columbia’s provincial election won’t be known for at least two weeks because more than 700-thousand mail-in ballots have to be counted by hand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s snap election means 700k ballots will be counted manually, delaying results

Elections BC spokesman said employees in 87 electoral districts will count mail-in ballots one by one

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam takes part during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. As parts of Canada face a new round of COVID-19-related restrictions, Canada’s chief public health officer is urging Canadians to continue making a “collective effort” to tackle the pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chief public health officer calls for continued ‘collective effort’ against COVID-19

Canada continues to climb toward the 200,000 mark for COVID-19 cases

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. Facebook photo.
‘Please pray for our son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Searchers continue efforts to find 25-year-old Vancouver man in Manning Park

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Most Read