Photo: Times Colonist
Transport Canada is reviewing more than 1,000 reports of BC Ferries passengers unwilling to leave vehicles on closed car roofs, as required by regulations.
Transport Canada reinstated this requirement for passengers to go upstairs at the end of September, after waiving it in the first months of the pandemic.
The majority of reports of non-compliance were from the first few weeks after the change on September 30, Federal Administration spokeswoman Sao Sao Li said in a statement.
Since then, she said, reports of non-compliance have “significantly decreased” as a result of education, the Canadian Combined Transportation Patrol and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Li said the reports would be evaluated to determine the appropriate level of enforcement action.
Non-compliance information was collected by BC Ferries staff and during joint Transport Canada and RCMP patrols.
For decades, passengers were allowed to remain in their cars while sailing. That changed in 2017, when Transport Canada ruled that passengers could only stay in vehicles on open floors.
Federal rules prohibiting passengers from remaining in vehicles on an enclosed roof have been in place since 2001.
When the pandemic struck in the spring, Transport Canada relaxed this rule temporarily to allow passengers to remain in their cars on closed floors until the end of September.
Transport Canada has a range of enforcement options available, including verbal warnings, written warnings, and fines ranging from $ 600 to $ 12,000.
He told me that passengers on the ferry do not need to choose between personal safety and maritime safety.
“By physical spacing, wearing a mask, and leaving the closed car deck while the ferry is in operation, passengers and crew can stay safe.”
BC Ferries require everyone to wear masks at all terminals, including outdoors and on board. It’s looking to free up more space in buffet areas that are now closed and outside to allow for more physical spacing.
Lee said that people with special conditions, such as medical difficulties, should contact BC Ferries before traveling if they have concerns.
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