B.C. Ferries passengers and employees are not subject to federal vaccination rules, corporation says

B.C. Ferries will not be subject to recently-announced federal rules that mandate all travellers and transport employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30, according to a spokesperson.

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

However, it does not extend to B.C. Ferries, which has been a private company since 2003. 

The corporation is regulated by Transport Canada, but its 5,100 employees and nearly 60,000 daily passengers will not fall under the mandate, the company says.

“Mandatory vaccine requirements announced by the provincial government for public servants will not apply to B.C. Ferries’ employees, as B.C. Ferries is a private company,” a B.C. Ferries spokesperson said.

The federal rules announced on Wednesday state that any unvaccinated employees in the public sector or in federally-regulated industries would be forced off the job after Oct. 30.

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 it would be having discussions with the B.C. Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union and regulators 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 this morning,” 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.

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