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

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

Sean Smyth is expected to be announced the winner of the municipal by-election for city council today. Photo provided
Sean Smyth to replace Babchuk on council

Sean Smyth is expected to be named the winner of the 2021… Continue reading

Options for separated bike lanes throughout the city will be considered during the Master Transportation Plan review, not on a case-by-case basis before that, based on a decision made at the last council meeting in regards to improvements on Hilchey Road. Black Press File Photo
Campbell River City Council refers Hilchey bike lane to transportation plan review

Mayor calls spending $4.75 million on a bike lane ‘out of touch’ with city’s current economic reality

Piano and music.
Rotary Honours Concert goes virtual for 2021

The show must go on. But this year the free “gift to… Continue reading

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read