British Columbia

B.C. Ferries says its passengers are not subject to federal vaccination rules

B.C. Ferries passengers will not be subject to federal rules mandating that all travellers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30, a spokesperson says.

Ferry company seeking clarification on whether federal rules will apply to its staff

Recently-announced federal vaccination mandates will not apply to B.C. Ferries passengers and employees, according to a company spokesperson. (Christer Waara/CBC)

B.C. Ferries passengers will not be subject to federal rules mandating that all travellers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30, a spokesperson says.

The prime minister announced the rules on Wednesday morning, which apply to air, rail and marine passengers as well as public servants and federal contractors.

While that includes cruise-ship passengers, it does not extend to the nearly 60,000 daily customers of B.C. Ferries, the company says.

B.C. Ferries has been a private company since 2003.

However, the ferry corporation, which is regulated by Transport Canada, says it is seeking clarification on how the vaccine rules will apply to its 5,100 employees.

The federal rules announced on Wednesday state that any employees in the public sector or in federally regulated industries who remain unvaccinated after Oct. 30 would be forced into an unpaid leave of absence.

Employees must apply for a medical or religious exemption by the end of the month. The same is true for any prospective passengers aged 12 and above.

B.C. Ferries said the recent provincial announcement mandating vaccinations for public service employees would not apply to the company.

"While the recent provincial directive for public sector employees does not apply to B.C. Ferries staff, the federal requirement will apply to B.C. Ferries. We are seeking more details from Transport Canada on how this will all work," a spokesperson said.

B.C. Ferries said it would also be having discussions with the B.C. Ferry & Marine Workers' Union in the coming days. The union represents 80 per cent of the corporation's employees.

"We are still reviewing the announcement made by the PM," said Eric McNeely, provincial president of the union, in an email to CBC News.

McNeely said that employees and the company would likely have a better understanding of the rules later in the week.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that both B.C. Ferries passengers and staff would not be subject to the new federal vaccination rules. In fact, B.C. Ferries says the company is seeking clarification from Transport Canada on how the requirements will affect workers.
    Oct 07, 2021 10:31 AM PT

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