Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan meet in Vancouver, Aug. 29, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. calls on Trudeau to tighten border crossings for COVID-19

John Horgan asks for ferry passengers to stay in their cars

B.C. Premier John Horgan has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to increase federal restrictions on airports and border crossings, to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Horgan was on conference call with Trudeau and other premiers Friday, replacing a first ministers’ meeting in Ottawa that was moved to phone lines after Trudeau declared he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. B.C. has identified more than 50 cases, but in recent days the concern has been infection risk from the U.S., rather than the original hotspots of China and Iran.

Airports, land border crossings and the Seattle-Victoria ferry service are “where we want the federal government to up their game,” Horgan told reporters.

Horgan said B.C. Ferries has asked for “lenience” on Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to leave vehicles parked on lower decks. That has not been granted, but Trudeau assured him he would take that up with Transport Canada.

On Friday, Via Rail, which offers train routes across the country, announced it would be cancelling overnight trains until further notice.

RELATED: Canada to ban larger cruise ships from docking until July

RELATED: Retired B.C. doctors standing by to help with coronvirus

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that returning travellers do not need to request a coronavirus test if they don’t have symptoms. If they self-isolate for 14 days and do not experience cough, fever or shortness of breath, they should consider themselves well.

“This test is not necessarily valid for people who are not sick,” Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also emphasized the rules for testing, as reports came in of people converging on walk-in clinics seeking COVID-19 tests.

“You can’t get tested unless you’re referred, and you don’t need testing unless you have symptoms,” Dix said.

Henry said this week’s travel advisory to stay in Canada if possible does not apply to people who need to cross the border for their jobs, such as truckers and flight crews, who should have their own systems for hygiene and checking themselves for symptoms.

Horgan used the national meeting to ask for enhanced Employment Insurance sickness benefits to cover a larger portion of a person’s income while they are self-isolating or are in quarantine for COVID-19 exposure.

Horgan also wants EI benefits temporarily extended to workers who currently don’t meet EI qualifications, such as people who are self-employed. He said B.C. is working on its own small business assistance effort for people who have to stop work or lose work due to cancellation of sports and other events.

“We want to make sure that we get a stimulus to protect those small businesses, to protect those employees,” Horgan said. “People think about the Canucks season being suspended, and the consequences to those people who work in concessions, who derive their income from events, from hospitality, from tourism.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

COVID-19: How Revelstoke schools are tackling the virtual classroom

Although Revelstoke students are not in classrooms, they are still attending school… Continue reading

Coming together to Do Some Good

The Kelowna Capital News and Lake Country Calendar join a local tech company to support community causes

City of Revelstoke denied $9M grant to replace arena roof

City council proposed funding the project through borrowed funds earlier this year

Revelstoke’s snow removal so far this year cost $1.3M

Roughly 440 cm of snow fell this winter

Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, fear it’s a mistake

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Fire on evening of April 7 reported near Pyramid Provincial Park

A small wildfire near Pyramid Provincial Park south of Summerland is under… Continue reading

WATCH: Okanagan country singer serenades Predator Ridge residents

Melissa Livingstone wanted to help spread joy through music

Kettle Valley Steam Railway cancels Easter trains

Decision comes as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

Kelowna author raising money for scholarships

Roxi Harms said all book proceeds go to the scholarship fund

Video: Wildfire near Chase being held by fire crews

BC Wildfire Service reports blaze believed to have been human caused

Coronavirus cancels rural Okanagan communities biggest events

The 65th annual event celebrating the village’s incorporation was set for June 12-14; will go in 2021

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read