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Medical Assured Loading for patients requiring urgent care


Medical Assured Loading (MAL) is for those in need of urgent care where an extended wait at a ferry terminal would cause risk to their health. Medical Assured Loading is not available for non-urgent travel.

To receive Medical Assured Loading, patients must be travelling with a completed Ministry of Health Travel Assistance Program (TAP) form that includes a Medical Services Plan confirmation number as well as a letter from their medical practitioner. Patients are required to present both the medical practitioner’s MAL letter and the TAP form to BC Ferries upon check-in at ferry terminals.

Under the provincial state of emergency, on July 30, 2020, the Province of British Columbia implemented Ministerial Order M256 relating to Medical Assured Loading. Under this order patients will now obtain a Medical Assured Loading letter from their medical practitioner rather than BC Ferries.

  • Medical Assured Loading and the Travel Assistance Program are provided free of charge
  • The patient doesn’t pay for either
  • The Priority Loading Fee (displayed on the receipt provided at the ticket booth) is a tracking mechanism and is not charged to the patient and not passed on to the government

Information for medical practitioners

Medical practitioners can issue a MAL letter to patients who are in need of urgent care where an extended wait at the ferry terminal would cause risk to their health.

MAL letters must include the following information:

  • Letterhead, including office address and contact information
  • Date of issue
  • Medical practitioner’s signature 
  • Patient’s name (for minors, please also include the name of the parent or legal guardian)
  • Statement that the individual requires priority loading as they are in need of urgent care where an extended wait at the ferry terminal would cause risk to their health.
  • An expiry date. If no expiry date is given, the letter will be valid for one year from the date of issue
  • The route or departure terminals through which the patient will be travelling
Once complete, medical practitioners will provide the letter directly to the patient.

Information for patients

Patients travelling on Medical Assured Loading are required to:
  • Obtain a MAL letter from a medical practitioner.
  • Arrive at the ticket booth at least 30 minutes in advance of the scheduled sailing’s departure time.
  • Present both the Medical Assured Loading letter from a medical practitioner and a completed TAP form to the ticket agent or vessel staff.

Information about MAL travel on 100% bookable routes

Patients travelling on the following routes are required to contact BC Ferries’ Customer Service Centre 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779). The agent will make a booking on an available sailing:
  • Port Hardy (Bear Cove) Prince Rupert
  • Prince Rupert Skidegate
  • Port Hardy (Bear Cove) Bella Coola, including sailings to Bella Bella, Klemtu, Shearwater and Ocean Falls
  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) Southern Gulf Islands
Medical Assured Loading works in conjunction with the Travel Assistance Program provided by the BC Provincial Government. Medical Assured Loading will only be granted to patients travelling with a completed TAP form (pink form) that includes a Medical Services Plan confirmation number. TAP is a corporate partnership between the Ministry of Health and private transportation carriers. View additional information on the TAP program.