Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

B.C.’s premier has announced some bad news for those hopeful of officials enforcing a provincial “travel bubble” to combat transmission rates of COVID-19.

The B.C. NDP government announced last week it would be seeking legal advice on restricting interprovincial travel after many British Columbians voiced worry of travel contributing to spread of the coronavirus.

“The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement on Thursday evening (Jan. 21).

“We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians. Much of current interprovincial travel is work related and therefore cannot be restricted.”

Horgan went on to say that health officials have recommended everyone obey the health orders instead of the province impose mobility rules.

The news comes after the premier took part in meetings with other provincial and federal leaders.

“I asked my colleagues to carry a message back to their citizens: now is not the time for non-essential travel,” he said.

“We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely.”

The idea of restricting those entering the province was not supported by the tourism industry, which has faced plenty of hardship in the last year of quarantine and discouragement of non-essential travel.

If B.C. were to follow in the steps of Atlantic provinces, which placed such restrictions in mid-2020, the province would likely be met with similar legal challenges.

Earlier this month, Cara Zwibel, a lawyer with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary.

She said it is not clear that B.C. has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to interprovincial travel.

The association is appealing an earlier court decision upholding travel restrictions imposed by the Newfoundland and Labrador government.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Texting and driving seems like it’s a habit many people are never going to break. (Photo by Boaz Joseph/The Leader)
Distracted driving still a big issue

Campaign in March aimed at getting people to leave their phones alone

Taking over as minister of the Chemainus United Church has been great for Elise Feltrin despite pandemic restrictions. (File photo by Don Bodger)
World Day of Prayer being conducted by Zoom Friday

People invited to watch a video and then participate in a follow-up discussion

Letters to the editor.
Australia a model for solving its freighter anchorage problem

A vessel arrival system just might provide an answer

St. Michael’s Church is the regular venue for the Chemainus Classical Concerts series. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Classical Concerts continually re-evaluating its options

Classical music fans hopeful of a return to series events if it can be done safely

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Missing woman’s remains recovered from Ladysmith harbour

The remains of a 60 year old woman were recovered after a boat fire took her life on Feb. 27

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read