BC Ferries changes prompt concerns from union, passengers, marijuana advocates

BC Ferries changes prompt concerns from union, passengers, marijuana advocates

BC Ferries plans to ban smoking on all its vessels and terminals as well as staying on lower car decks. Calvin To has more on the reaction to the announcement.

Upcoming changes announced by BC Ferries are prompting concern from those affected.

On Jan. 22, 2018, smoking will be banned on all its vessels and at all of the company’s terminals.

The move has been applauded by health officials but has some marijuana advocates concerned.

According to Leaf Compassion, of its 40,000 members on Vancouver Island, 30 per cent of them will be affected by the smoking ban.

Leaf Compassion Yates’ general manager Hanna Kyla says many have medical conditions and require a consistent supply of cannabis.

“There’s been no consideration, there’s been no consultation, no outreach to people who this is affecting directly. So there’s been no open dialogue about that, and that truly needs to change,” Kyla said.

BC Ferries says the move is for health reasons and will benefit the majority of its passengers.

The BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union says BC Ferries has promised support for those who need smoking cessation programs but is concerned that it might not be enough for people with strong addictions.

“We really need to make sure that members who may face addictions have their addictions treated sensitively and that the company does all that they can do to make sure their needs are looked after,” says provincial president Graeme Johnston.

The union is also concerned that the ban on drivers remaining with their cars on lower vehicle decks will result in a backlash from passengers.

As of Oct. 11, drivers on lower decks will not be allowed to stay with their vehicles for the duration of the journey.

BC Ferries says the move brings it in line with other ferry operators in Canada.

The union is now calling for a zero tolerance approach when it comes to abuse of its members by the public as well as better signage and messaging regarding abuse.

Calvin ToCalvin To

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