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B.C. Ferries going back to in-person meetings after safety concerns

B.C. Ferries put the brakes on drop-in meetings after a woman at a meeting on the Sunshine Coast threatened to “take a gun” to everyone.
Virtual ferry advisory committee meetings will take place in May, with in-person community meetings resuming in June, B.C. Ferries announced Friday. VIA B.C. FERRIES

B.C. Ferries is resuming in-person community meetings in June after safety concerns shut them down in September, when a woman at a meeting on the mainland threatened to “take a gun” to everyone.

Virtual ferry advisory committee meetings will take place in May, and in-person community meetings will be held in June and July, the corporation announced Friday.

B.C. Ferries put the brakes on drop-in meetings following the shooting threat at a Sept. 20 meeting on the Sunshine Coast attended by more than 40 people.

A company manager said at the time that over several months, staff had seen an increase in “aggressive, threatening and abusive behaviour while out in the community, including the keying of vehicles, shouting, foul language and a disrespect for personal space.”

An internal B.C. Ferries security report characterized the Sunshine Coast meeting as “rowdy” and “threatening.”

Report recommendations include adopting a sign-in procedure for meetings, not permitting any signs with abusive language in a meeting, and carrying out an assessment to determine if a security staffer or RCMP should be present.

Diana Mumford, chair of the Southern Sunshine Coast ferry advisory committee, said the report contains errors and misrepresentations and does not accurately reflect what happened at the September meeting. She said she was not consulted when the report was written. “I am really upset.”

She does, however, welcome the fact that in-person meetings will resume. Virtual meetings with ferry advisory committees had been put on hold along with the larger community meetings.

“It’s been a very long wait for all of us.”

Lindsay Mathews, B.C. Ferries vice-president of public affairs and marketing, said in a statement that while it was important to take time to review safety and security protocols following a “serious incident” last fall, the company is eager to get back to face-to-face engagement.

The province is establishing a community prioritization panel to set out ideas from the past few years that were put forward by advisory committees and communities, Mathews said. A report is set to be released publicly on Oct. 31.

All ferry advisory chairs have been asked to participate in the new panel.

The report will help guide how B.C. Ferries reviews and makes decisions on changes to improve service and experience for customers, it says.

Participants will be expected to abide by a new code of conduct.

B.C. Ferries is setting up safety and security policies for public events that dovetail with WorkSafe B.C. requirements.

All B.C. Ferries officials who take part in community events will take training in prevention of violence in the workplace.

The company is also developing a process to carry out safety and security assessments prior to ferries advisory committee and community meetings.

Once community meeting dates are confirmed, they will be available on B.C. Ferries’ community pages at

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