British Columbians needing to take a BC Ferry to get to a medical appointment will get priority boarding as part of the ongoing COVID-19 provincial state of emergency.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new emergency order Thursday (July 30).
“These new provisions will ensure that medical-assured loading is protected for people travelling by ferry for medical treatment,” he said.
“BC Ferries will also continue to give priority to vehicles carrying essential goods and supplies, and will need to consult the Province before changing or varying minimum ferry service levels.”
To qualify for priority boarding, a passenger will need to provide a doctor’s letter indicating they require treatment as well as a completed Travel Assistance Program form during check-in.
The doctor’s letter does not require a specific date or time, or number of occasions the person travelling requires medical-assured loading to receive medical treatment, but may specify a period of time of up to one year from the date of the letter.
As Farnworth adds a new order, he has also rescinded one.
Moving forward, passengers sailing to their primary residence will not longer get priority access – a temporary regulation enacted in March as ferry sailings were significantly reduced.
“Now that ferry service levels have increased with more British Columbians travelling within the province, we expect BC Ferries to continue to monitor demand and ensure adequate capacity is in place,” Transportation Minister Clare Trevena said in a statement.
A provincial state of emergency due to the pandemic has been in place for more than four months, declared by Farnworth on March 18.
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