BC Ferries passengers in lower vehicle decks will again have to leave their cars as Transport Canada reimposes safety regulations. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Ferries passengers in lower vehicle decks will again have to leave their cars as Transport Canada reimposes safety regulations. (Black Press Media file photo)

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

Vehicle passengers on BC Ferries will no longer be able to stay in the lower decks during sailings.

As of Sept. 30, customers must leave their vehicles on enclosed car decks and come up to outer passenger decks or areas. Passenger in upper or open car decks can still remain in their vehicles.

The ruling comes down from Transport Canada, which temporarily lifted its safety regulations on car decks in March to promote physical distancing on vessels.

But the federal government re-imposed the rule, citing safety concerns.

Representatives for BC Ferries say the company supports the regulation and its intent, stating that enclosed car decks represent “inherent risk to the travelling public.”

But as one section of the boat closes, another opens. The Pacific Buffet area will reopen for seating only on Spirit Class vessels, as a way to provide additional space for physical distancing.

READ ALSO: Horgan protests forcing B.C. Ferries passengers out of cars

Incumbent B.C. NDP leader John Horgan has expressed his frustration with the federal government decision, calling the regulation stricter than necessary for coastal B.C. ferry routes.

He said Tuesday that he spoke with the finance minister and was assured steps would be taken to convince Transport Canada that a global pandemic was not to have people up from the lower decks.

“I would encourage the federal government to send delegates to the ferry terminals in British Columbia so they can give the bad news to the travelling public, rather than the workers at B.C. Ferries,” he said. “This is going to frustrate a lot of British Columbians.”

The lower deck rule was imposed in the wake of 2006 after the Queen of the North sank during a nighttime Inside Passage sailing. Two passengers went missing and have never been found, ultimately being declared deceased.

BC Ferries has kept a number of other pandemic-related safety regulations in place, including additional cleaning, sensitization, physical distancing and mandatory face coverings for anyone at the terminal or on board a vessel. Travel bans or monetary fines may be imposed for non-compliant customers.

– With files from Tom Fletcher.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: BC Ferries passengers can self isolate on upper vehicle decks only


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc ferryBCFerriesCoronavirusJohn Horgan

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

Just Posted

Smithers Local Health Area reported just one new case of COVID-19 from Feb. 14-20. (BC CDC graphic)
Local weekly COVID infections drop to one

The Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) reported a single case between Feb. 14 and20

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Smithers Weekly Police Blotter: Feb 12 – 19

Smithers RCMP open 83 new files including 15 property crime cases

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read