North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has sent yet another letter to federal Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau about Transport Canada’s order prohibiting passengers from remaining in their vehicles during sailings if parked on a closed deck. The letter comes after it was reported that Transport Canada is reviewing over 1000 reports of passengers disobeying the order.
In the letter Blaney questions the value and logic of using ministry resources to process and potentially punish “people who are simply doing their best to follow public health orders and keep their contact with others to a minimum”.
During the first wave of the pandemic, Transport Canada provided an exemption to allow passengers to remain in their vehicles throughout the sailing in order to avoid the often busy stairwells, elevators and passenger decks of BC Ferries vessels. However, as Blaney noted, the federal department has refused to extend or reapply the exemption during the second wave, despite BC experiencing much higher case counts and infection rates than there were in the spring.
“How bad does the exposure risk have to get before you reinstate the exemption so that people, goods and services can continue to reach our coastal communities while limiting the spread of COVID-19?”