BC takes unprecedented steps to support COVID-19 response
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is using extraordinary powers under a state of provincial emergency to keep British Columbians safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support the Province's ongoing response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).“B.C. is in a strong position to effectively respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Farnworth. “Informed by the direction of the provincial health officer, we're taking these critical steps to keep our communities safe, goods moving and essential service workers supported.”
Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act, the minister is issuing a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency. These include:
- Supply chain: Establishing a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to co-ordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in co-ordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.
- Protecting consumers: Banning the secondary resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, cleaning and other essential supplies; and restricting quantities of items purchased at point of sale.
- Enforcement: Enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer's orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.
- Travel: Ensuring all passenger and car-ferry services provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.
- Protecting B.C.'s most vulnerable: Making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.
- Co-ordination: Suspending local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the City of Vancouver; giving municipal councils the ability to hold more flexible meetings to expedite decisions; and co-ordinating potential use of local publicly owned facilities, like community centres, for self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing and distribution.