RCMP officers will be onboard some BC Ferries vessels to “support Transport Canada and BC Ferries in educating passengers on safety rules and enforcing the Canada Shipping Act,” starting Friday, November 6.
According to the RCMP, the move comes at the request of BC Ferries and Transport Canada to conduct joint onboard ferry walkabouts, and to enforce the regulation that requires ferry passengers to exit their vehicles on enclosed vehicle decks and stay in designated passenger areas while the ferry is operating.
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“The RCMP will assist BC Ferries from an educational and support capacity doing checks of the vehicle decks to ensure that passengers are following the regulations,” police said.
The 2017-enacted policy by Transport Canada of banning passengers from remaining in their vehicles on enclosed decks is meant to ensure safety in the case of an emergency, specifically fire. The rule does not apply to open (including partially enclosed) vehicle decks.
However, an option for passengers to remain in their vehicles was granted on March 17, in an effort to give passengers the ability to better distance themselves during the early days of the pandemic.
That temporary allowance was scrapped by Transport Canada earlier this fall.
The RCMP, BC Ferries, and Transport Canada will be checking that passengers are following the safety regulations.
If necessary, “Transport Canada can issue an administrative monetary penalty to non-compliant passengers.”
In announcing the new protocols, the RCMP said it is “committed to public safety and security and want to support the Provincial and Federal governments’ response to the pandemic in every capacity.”
Enforcement and education “will be conducted in partnership with BC Ferries, to ensure that Transport Canada’s protocols around Covid-19 are met,” said RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Attfield. “We are confident that education and awareness will help boost compliance rates on BC Ferries around marine safety measures.”