VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A ban on interprovincial travel in B.C. would not only devastate an already struggling sector, it may very well be unconstitutional, according to the Tourism Industry Association of B.C.
On the heels of Premier John Horgan saying he is seeking legal advice on the feasibility of a ban the association says it has commissioned its own legal opinion which has found this kind of travel restriction would violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“A 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,” reads a release.
“Government will be required to justify any infringement of those rights by showing they are carefully tailored to solve a real problem that other health measures that do not restrict Canadians rights cannot achieve.”
UPDATE: The BC Hotel Association has released a statement, saying, "a ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel not only goes against Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it would also further cripple a sector that is barely hanging on by a thread." #bcpoli #COVID19 https://t.co/ewkembH9sX
— John Ackermann (@jackermann) January 16, 2021
Non-essential travel — both foreign and domestic — is discouraged, but not forbidden. Other provinces and territories, including those in Atlantic Canada, have required travellers to self-isolate upon arrival or get authorization to travel.
Those who work in the hotel and tourism industry say there is no evidence that travel is responsible for the transmission of the virus, adding the industry has implemented all health and safety protocols the province requires.
“A travel ban would further heighten the unnecessary fears, misperceptions and growing resentment by BC residents toward visitors as a result of actions aimed at our industry. The spread of COVID-19 is not tied to where people live, but how people behave,” writes Ingrid Jarrett, President & CEO of the BC Hotel Association.
B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said Thursday that she’s not sure if she has the authority to limit out-of-province travel nor was she considering such an order.
“We do have requirements that people who come in to British Columbia must follow the rules in place here, and that is something that is continuing to be reinforced,” she said.