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B.C Premier working to allow passengers lower deck access on BC Ferries ships

Premier John Horgan says he’s doing what he can to reverse the decision made by Transport Canada to not allow BC Ferries passengers to stay in their cars. 

Transport Canada announced earlier this week that Starting September 30th, you’ll have to leave your vehicle if you’re parked on a lower deck when taking a BC Ferry.

On larger ships, you’ll still be able to remain in your vehicle on the upper, or open, deck.

Premier Horgan says he is working with officials in Ottawa to try and reverse the decision because he, along with others, feels it doesn’t quite fit British Columbia. 

“I am concerned about it and I did formally request through the minister of intergovernmental relations and the deputy Prime minister that Transport Canada continue to have the exemption in place that we requested at the beginning of the pandemic,” explained Horgan. 

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“(Provincial health officer) Doctor Bonnie Henry supports that initiative. We’ve made a public health argument and we believe that the current circumstances should put aside the safety regulations that govern B.C Ferries.”

The Premier added that not only do government officials feel it’s not the right thing to do, but many British Columbians share that idea as well. 

“I think those regulations of course are being administered from Ottawa, they don’t understand I guess some of the subtleties of the BC Ferries system.”

“The vast majority of the travelling public I think would prefer to stay in thier vehicle then go to common areas so I’ve been making a pretty forceful argument this week to two ministers of the Trudeau government. I haven’t heard a positive response yet from the minister of transportation but I’m going to keep pushing on it,” he added. 

When Transport Canada rescinds the temporary flexibility at the end of the month, it will impact the following routes:

  •  Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay  
  • Tsawwassen – Duke Point  
  • Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay  
  • Powell River – Comox  
  • Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands

Access restrictions to enclosed vehicle decks will not apply when passengers are directed by an announcement to return to their vehicles before the vessel docks. 

To learn more about the changes visit the BC Ferries website

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