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

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

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

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

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

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Most Read