Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Canada’s chief medical officer of health says British Columbia’s decision to seek legal advice on limiting travel reinforces the message that it isn’t the time to go on vacation across the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam says stopping non-essential travel would be a difficult decision for the province, but it could reduce COVID-19 by cutting the number of contacts.

Premier John Horgan said Thursday his government was seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel.

Other provinces and territories, including those in Atlantic Canada, have required travellers to self-isolate upon arrival or get authorization to travel.

Horgan said he and other premiers have made the case for Canadians to stay home during the pandemic, but people continue to travel.

The issue has been discussed for months and it’s time to determine if the government can act, Horgan added.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

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.

The Canadian Press

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