The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Jan. 19, 2021, to allow staff to take the government to take actions to keep British Columbians safe.
“There’s hope on the horizon for the new year with vaccines beginning, but I want to caution everyone to keep following public health orders,” said Premier John Horgan. “British Columbians have been working hard to flatten the curve, and to do that, we can’t let up too soon. We need everyone to hang in there and continue to do what they need to do to keep case numbers low.”
The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.
B.C. is currently in the longest state of emergency in provincial history.
COVID-19 enforcement measures
On Dec. 16, 2020, the Province announced enhanced enforcement measures to keep British Columbians safe and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This includes asking provincial enforcement officers to actively support police and increase COVID-19 enforcement by issuing violation tickets as appropriate during their normal course of duties or when in public places. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has also strengthened fine collection measures. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has asked WorkSafeBC to enhance in-person inspections in targeted areas. The Province continues to urge all British Columbians to follow the orders and guidance of public health officials.
“Most British Columbians are following public health orders, and that’s what will help us get case numbers back down,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Having said that, we’re continuing to use enforcement and fines for those who insist on putting lives at risk by ignoring orders. We continue to strengthen the tools officials need to keep people safe, and we won’t hesitate to use them.”
As well, Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has asked WorkSafeBC to enhance in-person inspections in targeted areas. The Province continues to urge all British Columbians to follow the orders and guidance of public health officials. These are in addition to previous measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19.