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

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

A rendering of a proposed four-unit development on Downie St. (Monashees Drafting & Design)
Row housing proposed on Downie St. in Revelstoke

A zoning amendment and public hearing are required for the project

I hope the pandemic doesn’t kill the bulk section. I like to choose my own candy. (File)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Most Read