B.C. premier calls for restriction on non-essential travel between provinces

·2 min read
B.C. premier calls for restriction on non-essential travel between provinces
B.C. premier calls for restriction on non-essential travel between provinces

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he is calling on the federal government to implement a "pan-Canadian approach" to non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there is currently no official restriction on travel between B.C. and the rest of the country, Horgan said people should not be travelling in and out of the province unless on essential business and this will be the province's guidance for the next two weeks "at least."

"I'm asking the federal government to work with us and other provinces to get the message out that if you do not need to travel between jurisdictions, you shouldn't do that," he said.

"I'm encouraging the prime minister to take this opportunity with all of us."

More details on the province's plans to manage the second wave are expected to come Thursday.

WATCH | B.C. Premier calls for travel restrictions between provinces:

Horgan said the travel restrictions brought in a week-and-a-half ago in B.C., which advise against non-essential travel in and out of the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, will also be extended for "the next two weeks at least."

Horgan said B.C. has a significant two weeks ahead as the province looks at a second component of those regional orders.

"This is not the time to go storm watching on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This is not the time to plan for a large gathering of friends over the Christmas holiday. We need to focus on getting through the winter, getting through the second wave, which has proven to be significantly challenging," he said.

Horgan said the province is looking into whether a mandatory 14-day quarantine rule would be brought in for travellers arriving on Vancouver Island.

But he said B.C. would not be implementing rules that would attempt to create a provincial "bubble."

"We want to make sure we have an approach to travel not inconsistent with citizenship," he said.

A spokesperson for Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc told CBC News in an email the federal government encourages Canadians to adhere to health advice, including advice against non-essential travel, to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

"The safety and security of Canadians continues to be our top priority," the spokesperson said. "We continue to work closely with all premiers in coordinating our response to the public health crisis."

Horgan said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will have more updates on the current orders in her Thursday news conference.

"We want to amend our operating plans based on new evidence," he said.

Horgan also said the B.C. Legislature will return Dec. 7 with the province's new NDP majority government laying out its plans in a throne speech.

Cabinet will be sworn in on Nov. 26 and members of the legislature will take part in a virtual swearing-in next Tuesday.