Provincial Government Updates
April 19, 2021
This afternoon, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the government’s intentions to impose new regulations that will prohibit non-essential travel outside of one’s regional health authority. The Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, is expected to issue an order on Friday under the Emergency Program Act and specific details on how this will be implemented are expected to come forward prior to then.
At this time, it has been indicated by the Premier that random roadside checks would be in place and that fines could be issued if one is travelling outside of their health region, without a legitimate reason. Additionally, signs will be placed along the Alberta border to remind travellers entering the province should not be there unless it for essential business purposes.
At this time, CHBA BC is seeking clarity from the Ministry of Public Safety on how this measure applies to the work of members within the residential construction industry. Specifically, CHBA BC is seeking clarification on how essential travel and business are defined and how workers travelling to work sites will need to demonstrate proof of essential travel.
Individual circumstances may affect whether a trip is considered essential or non-essential. Essential travel within B.C. includes:
HEALTH AUTHORITY BOUNDARIES
Search by community list or by the map (for may view, scroll to the bottom of link).
Any members with concerns on how this forthcoming public health order will impact their workers’ abilities to travel to a worksite are strongly asked to speak to CHBA BC’s Director of Policy and Government Relations, Carmina Tupe, as soon as possible to help ensure considerations are made for the residential construction industry prior to the order taking effect. Carmina can be contacted by phone at 647-326-6181 or via email at email@example.com.
Until specific rules are defined, it is strongly recommended that members provide their workers with documented proof of the location of their worksite, if they are required to work outside of their Health Authority.
April 9, 2021
As announced yesterday by the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, WorksafeBC has been empowered to shut down businesses, and or work sites for as long as ten (10) days should it be determined that three (3) positive COVID-19 cases are attributed to stemming from any particular place of business, and or work site.
Attention all members: REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN.
It is vital at this time, as vaccines are rolling out, that members continue to be vigilant, and provide and enforce all COVID protocols to stem the potential spread of C19 and the highly contagious variants. It is important for the health and safety of your families, your staff, friends and colleagues, and yourself. Please note that being shut down might seem hard, but by the time WorksafeBC has enough data/evidence to force a closure many others could be exposed, plus the legacy of such an order may have adverse consequences to the rates applied to your business by WorksafeBC moving forward.
We are in a race to vaccinate fast enough to stay ahead of the infection rate and that means maintaining and or enhancing your C19 safety measures already in place.
For more information on the most recent PHO order and how to keep workplaces healthy and safe, please refer to the following:
- The Ministry of Health for more information about the PHO order
- Your regional health authority for information about specific closure orders
- WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 website for resources and information on keeping workplaces safe, including information on the PHO order on our Inspections and consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic page
- REMINDER: Guidance to Construction Sites operating during Covid-19, issued by the PHO on April 27, 2020, remains active and mandatory.
March 30, 2021
New and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include:
- For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
- Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
- The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
- Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
- Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is closed through to April 19, 2021, to address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel.
- All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
- Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.
To learn more, click here.
March 1, 2021
B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Immunization Plan. During this phase approximately 400,000 people will be immunized from March to mid-April, including seniors, Indigenous peoples and people who live and work in independent living. More.
Progress to date
The BCCDC COVID-19 dashboard is updated regularly with B.C.’s progress on vaccine dosage.
How the phases were developed
B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan happens in four phases. The phased approach is based on expert advice and guidance from the NACI, B.C.’s Immunization Committee and the public health leadership committee. NACI recommends certain populations receive prioritization for early COVID-19 vaccination. Eligibility for all phases is based on the age you are turning in 2021.
November 20, 2020
By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all individuals, places of work and businesses in B.C. must significantly reduce their level of social interactions and travel. The order is in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight to December 7, 2020 at midnight. Details.
Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces. People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt.
This DOES apply to construction. A few examples of the types of places where masks would be needed are elevators, hoists, hallways, meeting rooms, enclosed indoor spaces (post lock up) when workers are in the same room, etc). Review worksafe BC Resources.
November 7, 2020
BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a new public order to significantly reduce the level of social interactions and travel in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions for two weeks up to November 23, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Details.
What does this mean for construction?
- Construction work can continue.
- Travel for essential construction work can continue. If work that requires travel is not essential, consider delaying the work until after November 23rd. The travel restriction is a recommendation and not an order.
- The guidance for COVID safety at construction sites is not new, but the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) is asking all worksites to review their protocols to make sure they are effective. WorkSafeBC will be working with the PHO to enforce COVID protocols at worksites
- Make sure that you are conducting active daily in-person health screening. The BCCSA has developed a Health Screening Tool.
- Make sure that you have an up-to-date COVID Safety Plan in place.
- Review the BCCSA and WorkSafeBC guidance for COVID safety in construction.
- Pay attention to break rooms, small office spaces, and other indoor spaces where people might gather to make sure that occupancy limits are in place and physical distancing is possible.
- Use masks when physical distancing is not possible.
- Consider having staff work from home where possible.
September 24, 2020: Provincial Election – Register to Vote by Mail
Register to receive a mail ballot to vote in the Provincial Election here. Reminder to vote and let your candidates know what matters to you.
June 19, 2020
The Government of British Columbia is extending the temporary rental supplement (TRS) until the end of August 2020 to continue to support renters and landlords.
May 19, 2020: Phase Two
BC’s COVID-19 Four-Stage Plan is now in Stage two, as of May 19th. Businesses re-opening are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. WorkSafeBC has developed a six-step process to help you create your own plan. The tool is provided as a fillable PDF you can download and save with the details of the plan for your workplace.
NOTE: Your safety plan must be posted online and also available in the establishment for staff, customers and WorksafeBC inspections.
WorksafeBC Reopening Protocol for:
May 6, 2020: British Columbians will move forward with safely restarting their province beginning in mid-May, according to a plan announced by Premier John Horgan. Review the highlights of the staged plan, and access best practices and resources for BC’s Restart Plan.
Building and Safety Standards Branch
Last Updated May 1, 2020: A central location for key information to help guide and inform the building construction and operations sectors.
On this page:
- Construction Site Safety
- Regulated Work Under the Safety Standards Act
- Support and Resources for Construction Industry Groups
- Apartment and Condominium Operations
- BC Building Code Questions
- Building and Safety Standards Branch Updates
May 1, 2020: Applications for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers OPEN. Apply now for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, a tax-free, one time $1,000 payment for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Provincial (BC) Support and Information (Live link)
British Columbia Financial Support in Response to COVID-19
Last Updated April 23, 2020
Funding for critical services is increased by $1.7 billion to support:
• Health care pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak
• Social services and vulnerable populations
• Housing and shelter programs
• First Nations Health Authority
Tax Relief for Businesses
Last updated April 8, 2020: The following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:
Delayed PST Budget 2020 Tax Changes The filing and payment due dates for sales taxes are extended to September 30, 2020. This includes carbon tax, motor fuel tax (including the International Fuel Tax Agreement), provincial sales tax (PST) (including the municipal and regional district tax on accommodation), and Tobacco tax.
Employer Health Tax Extension: Employers that declare bankruptcy or cease to have a permanent establishment in B.C. in 2020 on or before September 29, 2020 are not required to file their employer health tax return or pay the tax until September 30, 2020.
Employer Health Tax Installment Payment Extension: Employers required to make instalment payments won’t need to make them until after September 30, 2020. Future instalment payment due dates will be determined at a later date.
Reduced School Tax for Businesses School tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 and 6) will be reduced by 50 per cent for the 2020 tax year.
Climate Action Tax Credit Updated March 31, 2020: A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families:
• An adult will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $43.50)
• A child will receive $64.00 (increased from $12.75)
COVID-19 and Tenancy
Last updated April 7, 2020: Tenants should pay rent wherever possible, however, the state of emergency temporarily suspends a landlord’s ability to end a tenancy if a tenant does not pay the rent in full and on time. Tenants facing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis should consider all assistance that is available to them, including:Temporary Rent Supplement
WorkSafeBC Relief: Q1 payments for 2020 have been postponed. Businesses that report payroll and make payments on a quarterly basis can defer payments without penalty until June 30, 2020 (instead of the usual date of April 20).
• Customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
• Customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund
o Customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
- Covid-19 Customer Recovery Fund offers various deferral plans to residential and small business customers
- Billing Support: Billing and payment late payment fees waived.
- Fortis BC has suspended natural gas disconnections for customers unable to pay their bill.
COVID-19 Economic Development Resources
Last Updated: March 24, 2020
The BC COVID-19 Action Plan: outlines B.C.’s first steps to support people, businesses and services.
• Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to September 30, 2020
• $1.5 billion in provincial funding will support economic stimulus once the pandemic has passed
• The Business Development Bank of Canada is offering new relief measures. Qualified businesses and entrepreneurs can access the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
• Small Business BC resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19
• BC Economic Development Association resources for businesses, economic developers and local leaders impacted by COVID-19
• Greater Vancouver Board of Trade COVID-19 resources
• Surrey Board of Trade COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness resources
• WorkSafeBC resources for workers and employers