BC premier "disappointed" by Transport Canada's decision on BC Ferries

Sep 9 2020, 4:23 pm

After BC Ferries announced earlier today that Transport Canada will once again require vehicle passengers on enclosed decks to leave their cars during crossings as of September 30, BC Premier John Horgan said he is “disappointed” by the decision.

Noting that he had already raised the issue with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland just hours earlier, Horgan said during a press conference that his government believes “our marine highway is an integral part – an essential service – to a huge number of British Columbians, and we believe that we can safely transport people, provided that we have support and cooperation from Ottawa.”

Today’s announcement, he continued, “is not something we sought, this is something that’s being imposed.”

As such, “we’re certainly going to continue to press the federal government on their decision,” said Horgan. “This is an unwelcome intrusion at this time, and we’re going to pursue it aggressively.”

In a release, BC Ferries said it has been advised by federal transportation regulators that the most recent measures developed and implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all transportation modes and businesses no longer necessitate passengers to remain in their vehicles on enclosed car decks.

The ban on enclosed car decks was first implemented in October 2017, abiding with Transport Canada’s policy changes to address their perceived high risk of passengers being trapped in cases of fire or other emergencies.

The enclosed car deck ban will be implemented on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen-Duke Point, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, Powell River-Comox, and Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands routes.

“Safety is our highest value and we provide a safe and healthy travel experience. Customers are legally required to comply with this federal regulation,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries, in a statement.

“We expect our customers to follow the law and we continue to have zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind towards our employees. Failure to follow the direction of our crew or abuse towards an employee may result in denial of service and Transport Canada enforcement measures.”

With files from Kenneth Chan

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