New COVID-19 Enforcement Measures in B.C.

New COVID-19 Enforcement Measures in B.C. | Dr. Ali Ghahary

COVID-19 is something that has affected all of us in different ways. We’ve essentially had to learn new ways of living – from how we socialize with one another (such as keeping our social circles small, or only communicating virtually via things like Facetime, text message and e-mail) to our employment (moving from in-office to remote work – which is crucial for individuals with underlying health conditions, as these can put you at greater risk of developing COVID-19) – and it hasn’t been easy.

Fortunately, many British Columbians have heeded the guidelines recommended by our health officials and stricter orders did not need to be put in place. Unfortunately, however, we’ve recently seen a spike in new COVID-19 case numbers over the last few weeks – many of which have been linked to large, indoor gatherings. Which is why today, the Province announced new enforcement measure against those who do not follow the rules.

Effective immediately, the following measures are enacted under the Provincial State of Emergency and the EPA (Emergency Program Act):

• $2,000 fines to any owners, operators and organizers who contravene the orders of the Provincial Health Officer on gatherings and events; including hosting private parties or public events that are in excess of 50 people, failing to provide adequate hygiene facilities for hand washing/sanitization, failing to provide sufficient space for physical distancing, as well as failing to obtain a list of contacts of those in attendance at events of greater than 5 guests in a vacation accommodation.

• $200 violation tickets issued by police and Provincial enforcement officers for individuals who actively encourage others to attend large gatherings or events that do not comply with the public health requirements, as well as anyone who refuses to disperse from these events when ordered to do so by enforcement officers.

• $200 violation tickets issued for individuals who refuse to comply with requests to follow orders of the Public Health Officer, as well as failure of safe operation procedures as licensed establishments such as restaurants and bars.

• $200 violation tickets issued to employers who respond to their employees with abusive or bullying behaviour.

Furthermore, if these violation tickets do not act as enough of a deterrent for the aforementioned behaviour to cease, or in the event of repeat offenders, penalties of up to $10,000 can be levied. In addition, police will also be able to recommend charges in relation to any offence.

While this has been a difficult time for everyone, and while COVID-19 is something we are all growing weary of, we all need to continue to do our part – not just to protect ourselves, but to protect our friends, family members, employees, and others within our communities.

  • If you witness or attend a large event that goes against the orders of British Columbia’s PHO, or witness unsafe operating procedures at a restaurant, bar or other licensed establishment, you are encouraged to contact your local bylaws office: bit.ly/34pwFbi.
  • If you are unable to reach your local bylaw office, you can also contact the non-emergency line of your local police to report large events that go against the orders of B.C.’s PHO. You can find a full list of non-emergency numbers at: bit.ly/2QdnItj.
  • If you are an employee experiencing bullying from your employer/coworkers, or there are inadequate safety measures in the workplace, you are encouraged to contact WorkSafe BC.
  • If you are facing COVID-19 related discrimination from your employer (such as failing to abide by a doctor’s note or after requesting specific accommodation from your employer), this is prohibited under Section 13 of the B.C. Human Rights Code and you are encouraged to contact the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal: bchrt.bc.ca.

For more information on these newly announced enforcement  measures, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0046-001568