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

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits Nanoose Bay property

Experts say interesting look may simply be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

The section of Highway 19A between Laburnum Road and Goodyear Road was closed to traffic due to a single vehicular accident. (DriveBC illustration)
Section of highway closed after vehicle hits telephone pole near Qualicum Beach

Traffic disrupted for hours; two people taken to hospital

Joan LeMoine. (Peter McCully photo)
OPINION: Joan LeMoine represented the very best in all of us

Beloved Parksville area volunteer left an indelible mark on the community

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read