COVID-19 BC Provincial Government Announcement

Updates, Essential Services, Rental Assistance

March 26, 2020
The Government of British Columbia put in place additional measures yesterday and today, under the state of provincial emergency, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring that essential goods and services in the province continue. All information on COVID-19 from the Government of British Columbia can be found here. The purpose of this update is to assist businesses in determination of whether they are an essential service or not, plus some other general updates.
Essential Services

  • The Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has ordered some types of businesses to close during this period. Specific orders can be found here.
  • According to the PHO, essential services should and are encouraged to stay open. A list of essential services can be found here. These businesses must follow the orders and guidance provided by the PHO to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Any business or service that has not been ordered to close during this period, but is not identified on the essential service list, may stay open at this time, if they can adapt their services and workplace to the orders and guidance of the PHO.
  • WorkSafe BC has also provided steps to take, in the context of COVID-19, to ensure a healthy and safe workplace.

Other Measures

  • The Province will establish a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to coordinate goods and services distribution, and will suspend any current bylaws restricting goods delivery at any time of day.
  • The Province has banned the resale of the following items, and restricted the quantities of these items that can be purchased at point of sale:
    • Food
    • Medical supplies
    • Personal protective equipment
    • Cleaning and other essential supplies
  • Municipal bylaw officers will be enabled to enforce the PHO’s orders for business closures and gatherings.
  • All passenger and car-ferry services are to provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.
  • Increasing accessibility to food banks and shelters for vulnerable people.

Residential Landlords & Tenants

  • The Province will offer up to $500 a month towards rent for tenants, which will be paid directly to the landlords on behalf of the tenants.
  • The Province has halted evictions, and landlords are prevented from issuing a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. In exceptional cases, landlords may apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) for a hearing.
  • There is also a halt on the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the RTB, except in extreme cases where there is a safety concern.
  • Annual rent increases are frozen during the state of emergency.
  • There are other logistical measures put in place which, along with the above, can be found here.

The information contained in this communication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity.  Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.  No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.