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Confusion after B.C. resident follows travel order, gets charged cancellation fee

BC Parks has an option to receive a refund on the home page of its website and Parks Canada says people will be reimbursed in full.

Anyone trying to book a camping spot in British Columbia through Parks Canada will be denied access and those who have had to cancel reservations due to the new COVID-19 travel order will be reimbursed.

But that's not the case, according to one B.C. resident. 

Under the new order announced on April 23, non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones within the province: the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; Vancouver Island; and the Northern and Interior regions.

"I'm taking further action to carry us through the current spike of COVID-19 cases until more of the population can be vaccinated,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, at a press briefing last Friday.

People are not allowed to leave their region for camping as it's not one of the listed essential reasons for travelling. 

Glacier Media was contacted by an individual, who asked to remain anonymous. They made a booking to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island in May but had to cancel it on April 23 because it would break the new travel restrictions.

The individual, who lives in Kamloops, claims they were charged a cancellation fee ($11.50) and a reservation fee ($11.50). Their total booking was $110.53 but they were not reimbursed in full and were left with a $23 charge. 

On Wednesday, they called Parks Canada asking for a refund for the cancellation fee but were denied. 

After Glacier Media reached out to Parks Canada, its website was adjusted with a new policy on April 28. 

“Travel into and out of British Columbia’s three regional zones for non-essential reasons is prohibited. This applies to travellers from within and outside of British Columbia,” reads the website. 

The statement goes on to say, “residents of British Columbia are being asked to cancel their camping reservations if in conflict with the new travel restrictions and Parks Canada will be cancelling all out-of-province reservations for national parks and national historic sites … until May 25.” 

In an emailed statement, Parks Canada confirms individuals will be refunded. 

“All reservations cancelled due to the new travel restrictions in British Columbia will be reimbursed in full,” says a spokesperson with Parks Canada.

Information on how to receive a refund was not readily available on the website.  

Parks Canada’s website says if you are planning to travel to a Parks Canada-administered location that is in B.C., it is your responsibility to be aware of and respect all travel restrictions when planning your trip or making a reservation. 

BC Parks says the travel order may require you to cancel your reservation and has an option to receive a refund for both the reservation and the cancellation fee on the home page of its website.