Thursday, April 2, 2020

Province of British Columbia outlines how Public Health Orders are to be enforced

The Province of British Columbia has provided for some additional guidance towards compliance and enforcement on Public Health Orders related to Physical Distancing, noting that any action only takes place through Public Health officers in communities across the province.

As was outlined last week when Solicitor General Mike Farnworth suspended Local State of Emergency declarations to make for a coordinated Provincial response, the B. C. government has called on communities across the province to make their bylaw office personnel available for use towards the new measures, as well as to re-task a range of provincial inspectors among which the list includes:

Liquor and cannabis control and licencing inspectors,
Gambling enforcement and investigations officers
Community Safety Personnel

In an information sheet that has been released towards the Health orders, the Province notes:

On March 25, 2020 the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General made the Bylaw Enforcement Officer (COVID-19) Order, and on March 31, 2020 made the Provincial Compliance Officer (COVID-19) Order), both pursuant to the Emergency Program Act (Appendix 1). 

These Orders enable C&EOs to provide assistance for compliance and enforcement of public health through monitoring and providing warnings, information and advice. 

The province has adopted and implemented a graduated compliance and enforcement approach that generally starts with providing information, education and advice as the first step, with escalating measured enforcement only as required. 

Role of Compliance and Enforcement Officers 

In assisting with the compliance and enforcement of public health orders, C&EOs are to be guided by policy direction from the Provincial Health Officer. 

C&EOs officers are not authorized to detain an individual as a result of a contravention or suspected contravention of a public health order. 

C&EOs are also not authorised to exercise any authority to issue a fine or penalty. 

Nothing in the Minister’s Orders or this guide limit any powers or duties of a C&EOs.

NOTE: Police officers and C&EOs are not empowered to enforce (i.e. ticket or detain) with respect to public health orders. Their role is to provide assistance only when called upon by a health officer pursuant to section 90 of the Public Health Act (see Appendix 1)

It was also noted that the conditions towards enforcement and introduction of new orders and updates towards existing regulations could change at any time.

The list of existing orders and the enforcement actions can be reviewed below:

(click on above to enlarge)

The full overview of the measures can be explored here.

The Office of the Provincial Health Officer has much more to review here.

Further notes related to the work of the Provincial government can be found here.

A further review towards the ongoing response provincially and federally can be examined here.

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