State of Emergency Extended to Continue B.C.’s COVID-19 Response: March 30, 2021

State of Emergency Extended to Continue B.C.’s COVID-19 Response: March 30, 2021

Posted on March 31, 2021 at 8:47 am by Bill Roberts
BC, Community, Provincial


The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management 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 April 13, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

“While the finish line remains in sight, rising case counts and the spread of variants of concern mean we all must continue working together to keep each other safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “Thanks to our vaccination plan, we have been able to take positive strides toward protecting more British Columbians. We’re doing the best we can to get vaccinations into arms as soon as possible, but in the meantime, I urge everyone to double down on their efforts to control the spread and continue to follow public safety guidelines.”

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, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.

“We’re still in a time where the virus continues to be a risk to health and public safety, yet some people are just not getting the message,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Last week, we more than doubled fines for those who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering from $230 to $575, and we won’t hesitate to take further action if people continue to put safety at risk. I urge all British Columbians to keep a level head and say no to these kinds of events until we can get COVID-19 under control.”

The Province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.

On July 10, 2020, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.

Learn More:

On Dec. 16, 2020, enforcement measures were expanded.
Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0108-002083

On Nov. 24, 2020, a mask enforcement order was introduced under the EPA, requiring masks for people over the age of 12 in public indoor settings, unless they are exempt.
Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0061-001960

For information on all recent orders and guidance, as well as general COVID-19 information for all British Columbians, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre‘s website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

Facts about B.C.’s state of emergency
  • Between Aug. 21, 2020, and March 26, 2021, 1,570 violation tickets were issued, including:
    • 242 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events;
    • 48 $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order, and
    • 1,280 $230 tickets issued to individuals who failed to comply with PHO orders.
  • The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is continually working to align the Emergency Program Act (EPA) enforcement orders with those of the restrictions enacted by the PHO.
  • Additionally, since the pandemic began, police agencies in British Columbia have issued 128 violation tickets to individuals who were in contravention of the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $217,494.
    • The purpose of the Quarantine Act is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, WorkSafeBC has conducted 25,045 COVID-19 related work site inspections.
  • Due to a Feb. 20, 2021, federal government change to the fine amounts issued for section 58 quarantine violations, there were discrepancies in B.C.’s reporting numbers in the March 2 and March 16, 2021, news releases regarding B.C.’s state of emergency. These news releases have been updated for clarification.
  • On Dec. 16, 2020, the Province announced enhanced enforcement measures to keep British Columbians safe and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This included strengthening COVID-19 fine collection measures and asking provincial enforcement officers to support police and increase enforcement by issuing violation tickets during their normal course of duties or when in public places.
  • Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the EPA.
  • The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible for further periods of up to 14 days at a time.