Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan meet in Vancouver, Aug. 29, 2019. (B.C. government)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan meet in Vancouver, Aug. 29, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. calls on Trudeau to tighten border crossings for COVID-19

John Horgan asks for ferry passengers to stay in their cars

B.C. Premier John Horgan has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to increase federal restrictions on airports and border crossings, to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Horgan was on conference call with Trudeau and other premiers Friday, replacing a first ministers’ meeting in Ottawa that was moved to phone lines after Trudeau declared he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. B.C. has identified more than 50 cases, but in recent days the concern has been infection risk from the U.S., rather than the original hotspots of China and Iran.

Airports, land border crossings and the Seattle-Victoria ferry service are “where we want the federal government to up their game,” Horgan told reporters.

Horgan said B.C. Ferries has asked for “lenience” on Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to leave vehicles parked on lower decks. That has not been granted, but Trudeau assured him he would take that up with Transport Canada.

On Friday, Via Rail, which offers train routes across the country, announced it would be cancelling overnight trains until further notice.

RELATED: Canada to ban larger cruise ships from docking until July

RELATED: Retired B.C. doctors standing by to help with coronvirus

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that returning travellers do not need to request a coronavirus test if they don’t have symptoms. If they self-isolate for 14 days and do not experience cough, fever or shortness of breath, they should consider themselves well.

“This test is not necessarily valid for people who are not sick,” Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also emphasized the rules for testing, as reports came in of people converging on walk-in clinics seeking COVID-19 tests.

“You can’t get tested unless you’re referred, and you don’t need testing unless you have symptoms,” Dix said.

Henry said this week’s travel advisory to stay in Canada if possible does not apply to people who need to cross the border for their jobs, such as truckers and flight crews, who should have their own systems for hygiene and checking themselves for symptoms.

Horgan used the national meeting to ask for enhanced Employment Insurance sickness benefits to cover a larger portion of a person’s income while they are self-isolating or are in quarantine for COVID-19 exposure.

Horgan also wants EI benefits temporarily extended to workers who currently don’t meet EI qualifications, such as people who are self-employed. He said B.C. is working on its own small business assistance effort for people who have to stop work or lose work due to cancellation of sports and other events.

“We want to make sure that we get a stimulus to protect those small businesses, to protect those employees,” Horgan said. “People think about the Canucks season being suspended, and the consequences to those people who work in concessions, who derive their income from events, from hospitality, from tourism.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

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

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read