The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)

Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

By Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News

A major hotel association is speaking out against any possible legislative change that would ban Canadians from other provinces to travel to beautiful British Columbia.

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a “legal opinion” on the matter.

The opinion found that an inter-provincial travel ban would be “difficult to implement because the Supreme Court of Canada has held that Canadians’ mobility rights are among the most cherished rights of citizenship that are fundamental to nationhood,” according to the BCHA release.

The legal opinion was sought after B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province was seeking legal advice on whether it has the constitutional power to restrict non-essential travel to the province during a press conference last Thursday.

The whole subject of inter-provincial, non-essential travel—and whether it should be banned—became a bit of a flashpoint recently, after a Whistler emergency room physician reported seeing a worrying amount of patients from Quebec and Ontario during the holiday period and called for a halt to non-essential, inter-provincial travel.

ALSO READ: B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

In its statement the BCHA stated the tourism industry has implemented robust health and safety guidelines to ensure guest safety and that inter-provincial travel hasn’t been shown to be a major factor the spread of COVID-19.

“Industry leaders have repeatedly emphasized that travel is not the culprit for the spread of COVID-19, but rather individual behaviour,” stated the release. “Coalition members say they are not aware of or have seen any hard data to support further travel restrictions or an outright ban on non-essential travel within BC and to/from other provinces.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on B.C.’s tourism industry, with many hotels and restaurants struggling to stay in business, despite financial support, such as commercial rent and wage subsidies.

“We implore the province not to pursue an outright travel ban that would cause undue hardship on businesses, the workforce and our province’s stellar reputation as a welcome and safe place to visit,” stated Ingrid Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of the BCHA.

“While now is not the time to encourage non-essential travel, banning visitors from other parts of Canada sends a strong and false message that visitors are to blame for rising transmission rates.

“Conversely, we need to work together with government to convey the message that people visiting B.C. for whatever purpose must commit to our strict health and safety protocols.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Tourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

South Surrey’s Kirk Arsenault has started a new company, Str8laced, that sells cleat wraps that aim to keep athletes’ shoes from coming untied during games and practices. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey sports equipment entrepreneur tying up loose ends before Alberta move

Str8laced wraps keep laces from coming loose in the middle of play, says Kirk Arsenault

Raj Singh Toor (left) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea after an official apology for the treatment of Komagata Maru passengers in 1914. (Contributed photo)
Request made for City of White Rock to honour Komagata Maru passengers

Raj Singh Toor confident city will rename ‘street, park or city asset’ in honour of 1914 tragedy

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The driver of a pickup truck failed to stop after knocking down a wooden fence on March 3, 2021. (screen grab)
VIDEO: Footage catches pick-up driver smash fence on Abbotsford/Langley border

Driver came forward after video circulated on social media

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read