B.C. 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 the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have all seen examples of some who continue to defy orders and instruction. Whether that is hoarding important medical supplies and goods or coming together in large groups, it has become clear that additional extraordinary measures are necessary to secure critical supply chains and safeguard the most vulnerable,” Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth said Thursday.
“I want to be clear Dr. Henry’s orders are not suggestions or good advice. They are the law.”
Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act, Farnworth has issued a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government.
- Establishing a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to coordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in coordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.
- 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.
- Enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offenses under the Public Health Act.
- Ensuring all passenger and car-ferry services provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.
- Making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.
- 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 centers, for self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing, and distribution.