According to Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, these new provisions ‘will ensure that medical-assured loading is protected for people travelling by ferry for medical treatment’.
“BC Ferries will also continue to give priority to vehicles carrying essential goods and supplies and will need to consult the Province before changing or varying minimum ferry service levels,”
Farnworth added that for passengers to access priority loading for medical treatment, they ‘must provide a doctor’s letter indicating the individual requires medical-assured loading for treatment at check-in, as well as a completed Travel Assistance Program form’.
The doctor’s letter does not require a specific date or time, or number of occasions the person travelling requires medical-assured loading to receive medical treatment, ‘but may specify a period of time of up to one year from the date of the letter within which the individual requires medical-assured loading’, the province said.
Transportation Minister Claire Trevana explained: “We introduced these measures, with the public interest in mind, at the beginning of the pandemic when ferry routes were significantly reduced. We wanted to ensure people could get home and to help ensure essential services for remote communities were maintained.”
This is certainly a novel idea when it comes to medical assistance, and considering British Columbia’s coastal position and numerous islands, it makes a lot of sense. What’s more, it probably costs the province less to make use of its already well-instated transport system – BC Ferries serves up to 47 ports of call on 25 routes throughout British Columbia.