B.C. has declared a state of emergency. Learn about COVID-19 health issues.   |  B.C.'s Response to COVID-19.

Public Safety and Solicitor General

Province declares state of emergency to support COVID-19 response

La province déclare l’état d’urgence afin de soutenir les interventions relatives au COVID-19

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Public Safety and Solicitor General

Province declares state of emergency to support COVID-19 response

La province déclare l’état d’urgence afin de soutenir les interventions relatives au COVID-19

Media Contacts
COVID-19 Joint Information Centre
Media Relations
embc.covid19jic@gov.bc.ca
236 478-1336
(flickr.com)
This article also available inEnglish
Cet article est aussi disponible enfrançais
Media Contacts
COVID-19 Joint Information Centre
Media Relations
embc.covid19jic@gov.bc.ca
236 478-1336

Backgrounders

Emergency Program Act and Public Health Act

Emergency Program Act

  • This act provides the legislative framework to manage disasters and emergencies in B.C.
  • the minister of public safety and solicitor general  or the lieutenant governor in council may declare a provincial state of emergency for no more than 14 days, if extraordinary power under the act is required. This period can be extended beyond 14 days by the lieutenant governor in council.
  • Declaring a provincial state of emergency allows the minister to:
    • implement a provincial emergency plan or measures;
    • authorize or require a local authority to implement a local emergency plan or measures;
    • acquire or use any land or personal property considered necessary to respond to the emergency;
    • authorize or require any qualified person to provide assistance to others to respond to the emergency;
    • control or prohibit travel to or from any area of B.C.;
    • provide for the restoration of essential facilities and the distribution of essential supplies;
    • provide, maintain, and co-ordinate emergency medical, welfare and other essential services in B.C.;
    • cause the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock, animals and personal property from any area of B.C. affected by the emergency, and make arrangements for their adequate care and protection;
    • authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person in the course of implementing an emergency plan, if the minister considers necessary;
    • cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structures or crops, if the minister considers necessary;
    • construct something that the minister considers necessary to respond to the emergency; and
    • procure, fix prices for, or ration food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources, or equipment within any part of B.C.

Public Health Act

  • This act provides a framework for managing current and emerging public health issues, including communicable disease prevention and control, health promotion and protection.
  • It gives the minister of health and public health officials important tools, including broad powers to issue orders necessary to respond to public health emergencies.
  • A situation qualifies as a provincial public health emergency when at least two of the following conditions are met:
    • The event could have a serious impact on public health;
    • The event is unusual or unexpected;
    • There is a significant risk of the spread of an infectious agent or a hazardous agent;
    • There is a significant risk of travel or trade restrictions as a result of the regional event.
  • The Public Health Act is more narrow than the Emergency Program Act, as it addresses health impacts for citizens rather than impacts on businesses, the environment or infrastructure.

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