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

Fort St. James municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
Fort St. James officials challenge Telus on internet speeds

Telus denies inaccurate internet data, residents urged to self-test and report

(Fort St. James fire department photo/Facebook)
Fort St. James fire department celebrating 66 years

The department hopes to have a community-based celebration at 70

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Local Canfor workers among those taking government-sponsored early retirement.  (Black Press file photo)
Local workers take up government retirement offer

Program to buffer forest industry closures

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

(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

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

(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

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read