Employers are required to follow WorkSafeBC guidelines to maintain safe workspaces. Employers provide specific guidance for employees on wearing masks in the workplace.
Review these common questions to find current COVID-19 legal information. Access links to government websites to read the most recent COVID news and policy changes. Information is sourced from more than 20 organizations. Topics include: Health, Work, Family, BC Courts, Legal Help and Consumer Law.
Always check the BCCDC for up-to-date health information. Generally, if you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate until you have spoken to a medical professional.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus including a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or sneezing, avoid contact with others and self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor, local public health office, or call 8-1-1. The BCCDC also provides further instructions to follow if you suspect you are ill.
See the BCCDC’s guide to Self-Isolation for information on when and how to self-isolate.
If you have questions related to COVID-19 you can call:
- BC Coronavirus Information Line: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300
- The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Service: 1-833-784-4397
- HealthLink BC for health-related questions: 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 or contact us through Video Relay Services. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
As of October 24, 2021 you must be fully vaccinated to access some events, services and businesses. This requirement is in place until January 31, 2022 and could be extended. Learn more about the vaccination card.
All orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow the order could be fined.
As of July 1, 2021, provincial restrictions have eased significantly. However, if you violate any remaining health orders, police and regulatory officers continue to have the power to issue fines.
To see the list of full BC enforcement measures and violation tickets, see Violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour.
If you fail to quarantine or isolate yourself (The federal government website explains the difference) as required upon returning to Canada from abroad, you can be fined or jailed under the Quarantine Act.
These feelings are completely reasonable reactions to what is happening right now. You are not alone! Learn what to do if you’re anxious or worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) from Anxiety Canada.
The federal government has launched the Wellness Together Canada online portal to help Canadians get connected to FREE mental health and substance use support, resources and counselling with a mental health professional.
For immediate crisis support
- Adults text WELLNESS to 741741
- Frontline workers text FRONTLINE to 741741
- Youth can text WELLNESS to 686868
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical support.
BC is expanding mental health services and creating new programs. Find virtual mental health support during COVID-19.
Here are some more resources to help you cope:
- Here to Help BC: COVID 19 and Anxiety
- Kids Help Phone (call them at 1-800-668-6868)
- Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety & Depression
- Mental Health and Substance Use Supports in BC
- QCHAT (LGBTQ2S youth line): 1-855-956-1777 (6 to 9pm Mon-Wed)
- Here2Talk (free mental health support for all BC post-secondary students)
- Crisis Centre
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
- Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
- Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
For Indigenous Peoples, Hope for Wellness provides emotional support and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. You can call to connect with a counsellor. On request, phone counselling is also available in: Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut. Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca
The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 Coronavirus financial, health, and wellness resources.
Call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.
On July 5, 2021, BC entered phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan. Over the coming weeks, workers may see an increased return to the workplace. You can find industry-specific information.
In Step 3 of the Restart plan, employers are no longer required to maintain a COVID-19 Safety Plan, and can instead transition to com municable disease prevention. Communicable disease prevention: A guide for employers describes a four-step process to help employers reduce the risk of communicable disease in their workplace. We've revised the guide to include a template that may be useful for employers in documenting and communicating their communicable disease prevention measures, practices, and policies.
If your employer is not following safety guidelines, talk to them first. You have the right to refuse unsafe work, but your refusal may be seen as quitting, which may impact your ability to receive unemployment benefits. You can also make a complaint or raise an issue directly to WorkSafeBC
he rent increase freeze has been extended to December 31, 2021. Annual rent increase notices with an effective date after March 30, 2020 and before January 1, 2022 are canceled. Do not pay the increased amount.
If your landlord does collect an increased amount between December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021, you can deduct the additional amount from future rent payments.
For 2022, the annual allowable rent increase will be 1.5%. Landlords must provide notice of rent increases no less than three full months before the notice takes effect. You can read more about the requirements of rent increases on the Government of BC website.
See COVID-19 and tenancies and the Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Housing announcement for more information.
Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24-hour notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. See information on landlord’s access and entry. They are expected to follow health guidelines.
Some people may not be comfortable with accessing common areas or rental units without some modifications. Landlords and tenants should work together to find solutions, where possible.
The COVID-19 provincial state of emergency declared under the Emergency Program Act ended at 11:59 pm on June 30, 2021. This means that tenants can now be evicted for any acceptable reason under the Residential Tenancy Act. To read more about the acceptable reasons for eviction, see the Tenant Resource and Advisory Center.
Effective July 10, 2021, all unpaid rents and utilities should be repaid by July 10, 2021, unless the parties agreed to an alternative arrangement to extend payments beyond July 10, 2021. If there are unpaid rent or utilities and there is no repayment plan in place to extend payments, a landlord may issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities.
See the Residential Tenancy Branch’s website for up to date information. You can also call the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre’s Info line at 604-255-0546 or 1-800-665-1185 to speak to one of their staff members.
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch has provided answers to common questions about the changes in housing policies during the crisis. Information is available for landlords and tenants. See COVID-19 and Tenancies for up to date information. You can also call the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre’s Tenant Infoline at 604-255-0546 or 1-800-665-1185.
The BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program ended as of August 31, 2020. Renters who are still experiencing a loss of income may also be eligible for either the Rental Assistance Program or the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) programs, which provide ongoing rental assistance for lower income families and seniors.
Details and full eligibility requirements can be found on the BC Housing Rental Assistance page, or call BC Housing at 604-433-2218 or toll-free from anywhere in B.C. at 1-800-257-7756.
The BC Government’s ban on issuing evictions for non-payment of rent officially ended on September 1, 2020. Effective July 10, 2021, the requirement for landlords to give their tenants a repayment plan for unpaid rent or utilities due between March 18, 2020 to August 17, 2020, is repealed. All unpaid rents and utilities should be repaid by July 10, 2021, unless the parties agreed to an alternative arrangement to extend payments beyond July 10, 2021. If there are unpaid rent or utilities and there is no repayment plan in place to extend payments, a landlord may issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities.
Go to the Residential Tenancy Branch for more information on housing and COVID-19.
If you have lost your job as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the provincial and federal governments. See a list of BC programs designed to provide financial support. See the list of federal programs.
Families who receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) with children under the age of six are eligible for the CCB Young Child Supplement, which provides up to four tax-free payments in 2021 up to $1,200 per child. There is no need to reapply if you are already receiving the benefit. This will be delivered at the same time you would normally receive the CCB. For a full list of Federal benefits go to the Federal Economic Response Plan.
Until March 31, 2022, families who receive Direct Funding/At Home Program basic respite can continue to use their respite funding in a flexible manner. Families do not need to provide a record of respite expense forms for agreements expiring before March 31, 2022.
This is a challenging issue. BC Family Law states that if you and your child are required to self-isolate, the courts are likely to agree that the child should stay with you until your period of self-isolation is over. Otherwise, you must follow the court order. BC Family Law has provided updated guidance for when children should not go to their other parent.
It is best if you and your co-parent work out an agreement during this time. There are free mediation and coaching services through Legal Aid BC. Legal aid and duty counsel are currently available by phone only.
For more information, and for help with your family law matter, go to the Parenting Q & A on the BC Family Law website or see Family Justice Services COVID-19 Legal Questions. Hannah DeJong, a family lawyer with Boughton Law, created COVID-19 Family Law Resources (BC), which includes general information and resources. The federal government has also provided Parenting during COVID-19 resources.
This video discusses parenting time issues during COVID-19: COVID-19 and Family.
You can still apply for a protection order. See Protection Orders During COVID-19 for additional support. The procedure is a little different because of COVID-19. Learn more about Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders.
If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911.
How to apply
Provincial Court: Provincial Court family court filings, including protection orders, can be made in-person or by email, mail or fax. The Provincial Court is returning to the pre-COVID process for bringing matters before the court.
Family Law BC also provides a wonderful step-by-step guide for applying for a protection order.
Supreme Court: In-person registry services have resumed at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia. While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods. See Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details. See Notice No. 24 for how to e-file through Court Services Online.
Both the Provincial and Supreme Court returned to their pre-COVID process for hearing urgent matters. The COVID-19 Urgent Application forms have been discontinued. All new applications can be submitted to the courts.
For more information, see:
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is still providing in-person visits during the pandemic. The length and frequency of your visits will depend on several factors, including whether your visits need to be professionally supervised, supervised by a family member, or can occur in the community or your family home.
In many communities, there are fewer spots available for professionally supervised visits because of increased cleaning protocols and decreased capacity due to safety protocols. MCFD continues to follow public health policies and restrictions to decrease everyone’s potential exposure to COVID-19.
Public health restrictions are still changing and may vary between communities. Your social worker will assess how visits will continue to occur safely. It's important that you talk to your social worker or lawyer to determine how you'll see your children and to advocate for more access.
If you’re scheduled for court
All court proceedings, except trials, are currently being held virtually, by telephone or by video conference through the online platform MS Teams. Even though you may be attending court virtually, you're still expected to follow courtroom etiquette. This means that during your court proceeding, you're expected to dress appropriately (if you are attending by video), and you're not allowed to smoke or vape, or to eat or to drink any liquids other than water.
If you're calling into court through telephone conference or MS Teams, make sure to mute yourself while waiting for your court matter to be dealt with.
The Provincial Court website has a guide to video and telephone conferences. The court links for calling in to attend court are the same as for regular list days. If you're unsure of the call-in information, you can contact the court registry in advance of your court date to ask for it. See the Provincial Court website to find contact information for each court registry.
Child protection trials
At this time, all child protection trials are taking place in person at the designated courthouse (unless you're told differently by the court). Arrive early at the courthouse on your trial day. All people entering the courthouse will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms, so there may be a line up. Once you're in the courthouse, a sheriff will tell you where to wait for your trial. Limited numbers of people are allowed in court rooms, so follow the sheriff's directions and wait in the approved areas.
If your child has been removed and you have a date for a court hearing
If your child has been removed, your matter will be scheduled to appear in court within 7 days of the removal. This first court appearance, called a presentation hearing, will go ahead at the scheduled time and day (or on the court list day) by phone or by MS Teams. Call-in information for each list day is the same for each courthouse. If you have the call-in information and your matter is going to proceed on another day, the call-in information will be the same (unless court staff tell you otherwise).
If you aren’t sure what type of court appearance you have
Contact your social worker or your lawyer to check for any upcoming court dates. It’s important to not miss your court hearing. If you don’t have access to a telephone, talk to your social worker or lawyer to find a solution. In some courthouses, court rooms are open to people to attend in person; although it's recommended that you call in or attend by MS Teams.
If you need help with your case
No matter which stage you’re at in the child protection process, you can get help. If there's a Parents Legal Centre in your community, call them to get help by phone. These centres have free lawyers and advocates to help parents deal with a social worker's concerns about their children's safety. Or call the Legal Aid BC Call Centre for where to find legal aid services in your community.
Take this short questionnaire to find out if you can come to Canada. Use the federal ArriveCAN application to plan your trip.
On July 5, 2021, COVID-19 fully vaccinated travellers may be exempt from some quarantine restrictions upon arrival to Canada. Learn more about the exemptions and to determine if you meet the conditions.
Effective January 7, 2021, at 12:01 am EST, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.
Travellers arriving to Canada by land or water, as of February 15, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival.
The Government of Canada will be further increasing surveillance efforts to ensure travellers entering Canada complete the applicable mandatory 14-day quarantine period under the Quarantine Act. Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN App or website and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry.
Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
On July 1, 2021 BC updated the procedures in place for travellers returning from other countries. Go to Self-Isolation on Return to BC for full details.
The Government of Canada requires all travellers 12 years and 4 months of age or older to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination to depart from any Canadian airport, travel on VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer trains, and when staying on a non-essential passenger vessel for more than 24 hours.
ICBC is urging people to call their Autoplan broker to renew their insurance by phone. In-person insurance services are not available at this time. ICBC is also offering deferrals of Autoplan payments for those facing financial difficulties. For detailed information see the ICBC website or call 1-800-663-3051.
If you are on a monthly Autoplan payment plan and facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you can request to defer your payments for up to 90 days with no penalty. Learn how to request a deferral HERE.
Effective April 2021, the Government of Canada has suspended the accumulation of interest on Canada Student Loans until March 31, 2022. Subject to Parliament approval, the Government of Canada has proposed to extend this measure until March 31, 2023. See the National Student Loans Services Centre for more information.