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I am Indigenous, what COVID-19 Coronavirus support is available?

13, 04-2021

The First Nations Community Guide to Accessing Additional Supports provides a list of federal resources and services available to Indigenous communities during the COVID -19 Coronavirus health crisis. It also includes specifics about how funding will be allocated to help the First Nation community health response. The Federal Government has also created the Indigenous Community Support Fund to assist Indigenous Communities prepare for, prevent,  and respond to COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Federal Government has also created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages. 

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 Coronavirus financial, health, and wellness resources. The First Nations Public Service Secretariat has created a list that summarizes the federal and provincial supports available to all First Nations people HERE

The First Nations Health Authority has provided a  COVID-19 resources for individuals and families. The provincial government has also set up a COVID-19 Information for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples page to provide resources to support First Nations in managing COVID-19. 

For mental health support, 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. HelpLine: 1-855-242-3310 or

You may also call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.

Is the new COVID-19 vaccine safe? When will I get vaccinated?

April 13, 2021

Four vaccines have been approved by Health Canada. They are the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

Based on guidance from Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the Province is temporarily suspending the use of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine for people aged 55 and younger until further notice and information is available.

The vaccines are free for all British Columbians. Below is a breakdown of the four vaccination phases, as set out in the  BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan.



Priority Groups

Phase 1

Dec 2020 - Feb 2021

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals assessed for and awaiting long-term care
  • Residents and staff of assisted living residences
  • Essential visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living residences
  • Hospital health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, paramedics, medical units and surgical units
  • Remote and isolated Indigenous communities

Phase 2

Feb 2021 - April 2021

  • Hospital staff, community general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1
  • Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings
  • Staff in community home support and nursing services
  • Seniors born in 1941 or earlier not immunized in Phase 1
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples born in 1956 or earlier, Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1

Phase 3

April 2021 - May 2021

  • People aged 79 to 60, in five year increments:
    • 79 to 75 (D1 April)
    • 74 to 70 (D1 April)
    • 69 to 65 (D1 April)
    • 64 to 60 (D1 April/May)
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples aged 64 to 18 (D1 April)
  • People aged 74 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (D1 March/April)

Phase 4

May 2021 - June 2021

People aged 59 to 18, in five year increments:

  • 59 to 55 (D1 May)
  • 54 to 50 (D1 May)
  • 49 to 45 (D1 May)
  • 44 to 40 (D1 May/June)
  • 39 to 35 (D1 May/June)
  • 34 to 30 (D1 June)
  • 29 to 25 (D1 June)
  • 24 to 18 (D1 June)

Vaccines in Phase 3 and Phase 4 will primarily be distributed in five year age increments. Monthly breakdowns for dose one (D1) are estimates and may change based on vaccine availability. Second doses will be administered approximately 16 weeks after dose one.

To know when you are eligible to call and book your appointment for Phase 2 and 3, see Vaccine Appointments for Seniors and Vaccines for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

For all your COVID-19 immunization questions, see Immunize BC’s Q&A page.

Reminder: Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, regardless if they have received the vaccine. 

For more information, see the Government of BC COVID-19 Vaccines page, and BCCDC’s Plan for Vaccine Distribution in BC.


What are the new restrictions under the province-wide public health order? Are masks mandatory?

April 13, 2021

On Thursday November 19, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) instructed all individuals, places of work and businesses in BC to significantly reduce their level of social interactions and travel. The order is in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight until further notice. The order was extended on February 5, 2021. Some amendments were made in March regarding outdoor gatherings and religious gatherings.

Also, between March 29 at 11:59 pm and April 19 at 11:59 pm the PHO is strengthening province-wide restrictions:

  • The variance allowing indoor religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13 is suspended
  • Indoor low intensity group exercise classes are cancelled
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars are closed for indoor dining. Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed
  • Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is closed

Masks are required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces. People who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt. Employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy with both employees and customers, and a customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask

The restrictions are as follows:


  • No indoor social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household or core bubble. This means no in-home gatherings and playdates.
  • Up to 10 people can gather outdoors. Do not gather with several groups of new people.
  • All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. 
  • Funerals, weddings and baptisms may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 10 people attend, including the officiant.
  • Party-buses and group limousines can not operate in any region.
  • Indoor religious gatherings and worship services are suspended under the order.
  • Religious worship services may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings). Up to 50 people may attend, plus 2 extra people to make sure rules are followed. Participants must be 2 metres apart unless they live in the same private residence and they must wear a mask.
  • Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.  
  • At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of BC and between regions of the province.
  • Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high risk indoor group physical activities must suspend the following activities: spin classes, hot yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • Adult indoor and team sports are not allowed.

The order does not impact restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars can continue to operate as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household or core bubble. A maximum of six people are allowed at a table. 

Under the Government’s Emergency Program Act, some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow these orders could be fined.

For more information, see the full province-wide restrictions HERE. Also see the March 18 order on Gathering and Events.


Do I have to wear a mask?

April 13, 2021

Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces. People who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt. 

  • Employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy with both employees and customers
  • A customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask

Masks are required in all indoor public places and all retail stores. This includes:

  • Malls, shopping centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Coffee shops
  • Common areas in hotels
  • Libraries
  • Clothing stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Drug stores
  • Community centres
  • Recreation centres
  • City Halls
  • Restaurants and bars when not seated at a table

Masks are required in all workplaces for shared work areas and areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes:

  • Elevators
  • Kitchens
  • Hallways
  • Customer counters
  • Break rooms

You are subject to a $230 fine if you:

  • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour

For more information, see the order on province-wide restrictions in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight
until further notice.



Can I still wash my hands if my BC community has a boil water advisory?

April 13, 2021

According to the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), if you are under a Boil Water or Do Not Consume Advisory, it is still safe to wash your hands with soap and water.

See the FNHA COVID-19 website for more information on staying healthy during the health crisis. However, if you are living with a Do Not Use (DNU) advisory you should wash with bottled water. For specific water advisories and more information see HERE.


My kids are online much more than usual due to COVID-19 Coronavirus. What can I do to ensure they are safe?

April 13, 2021

As COVID-19 continues to keep kids cooped up indoors, Global News reports that “there’s been a rise in the online sexual exploitation of Canadian children,” according to a national tipline. says it saw a 66 percent spike in reports in April compared to the three previous months. The tipline processes reports from the public about potentially illegal material, including child pornography or online luring, and aims to act as a “triage” for law enforcement and child welfare. Moreover, there’s a new type of predator to worry about and they call themselves “cappers.” They trick children into committing illicit acts over livestream while secretly recording a video, which they then use to blackmail the child.

Parents can go to for their guide on Keeping Kids Safe Online While Out of School which includes advice on what parents should be aware of and what parents can do to keep their children safe online. The Government of Canada also has resources to protect your entire family online.


I want to do more. How can I help respond to COVID-19 Coronavirus?

April 13, 2021

If you are interested to support the response to Coronavirus COVID-19, there are many ways you can help. Information below is provided by the Government of Canada. It lists concrete, meaningful ways to contribute and make a real difference in the lives of fellow Canadians.


FluWatchers is an online surveillance system that normally helps track the spread of flu-like illness across Canada. We are using its established network of volunteers to track COVID-19 Coronavirus. You can participate by anonymously answering 2 quick health-related questions each week to help show Canadians where COVID-19 is circulating.

Sign up to be a FluWatcher

Download Canada COVID-19 App

The app will support you to track your symptoms, receive the latest updates, and access trusted resources. 

Download the application

Supplies to help Canada respond

Can your business supply products and services to help Canada's response to COVID-19 Coronavirus? We want to hear from you.

Supply a needed product or service

Volunteer for the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program is a provincial initiative to help seniors stay safe while ensuring their basic needs are met. The program matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. When you register as a volunteer, your contact information is shared with the United Way's Better at Home agencies. Those agencies make the connections between seniors and volunteers in the community.

Sign up to volunteer


Are parks in BC closed due to COVID-19?

April 13, 2021

For the most up to date information, visit Recreation Sites and Trails BC. Click HERE for a list of parks that are open to visitors. On February 24, 2021, BC Parks provided an update regarding the upcoming season and COVID-19 protocols.

Booking for BC residents for the 2021 season is now open. Click HERE to make your reservation. For more information regarding the specific operating dates for your preferred park please visit the individual park webpages.

Many municipal parks, beaches and gardens remain open. Certain parks have reduced services, including facility closures and parking limitations. Some public playgrounds and schoolyards remain closed. Check with your local municipality regarding parks near you. 

While enjoying a park, beach or garden, maintain social distancing of 2 metres. See: Can I get in legal trouble if I don’t practice “social distancing?”.



Where can I find information about COVID-19 Coronavirus in my own language?

April 13, 2021

The Federal Government has created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages.

The Provincial Government has translated its COVID-19 Coronavirus content into 

If you are unable to open the links, check back later. They are likely being updated.

The BC Centre of Disease Control has also provided translated handouts and videos in multiple languages HERE.

The City of Vancouver has made their COVID-19 resource available in multiple languages including Korean, Tagalog, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Farsi among others. Find Vancouver resources in your language HERE.


I am about to travel back to BC from another country. What COVID-19 rules are in place for travellers?

April 13, 2021

Canadians are strongly recommended to cancel or postpone all international travel.

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.

As of February 21, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET, travellers, unless exempt, will also be required to:

  • take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada
  • stay in a hotel for 3 nights while they await the results of the COVID-19 molecular test they received on arrival
  • pay for their hotel, as well as all associated costs for food, cleaning and security

All hotels will be located near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights:

  1. Vancouver International Airport
  2. Calgary International Airport
  3. Toronto Pearson International Airport
  4. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

See HERE for a full list of restrictions and requirements when returning to Canada.

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 February 24, 2021 BC updated the procedures in place for travellers returning from other countries. Go to Self-Isolation on Return to BC for full details.


Self-Isolation Plans

All international travellers returning to B.C., whether by land or air, are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, submit a self-isolation plan and complete the federal CANArrive application.

Self-isolation plans must be reviewed by provincial government officials before travellers can return home.

You can submit your self-isolation plan and CANArrive application online before you begin your travel back to Canada or upon arrival. Go HERE for instructions on how to fill out your self-isolation plan and federal arrival application.


Current Quarantine Orders

On March 17, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued a quarantine order directing people returning to B.C. from the U.S. and other international destinations to self-isolate.

On March 25, 2020, the federal government implemented a self-isolation plan for returning international travellers on select flights under the Quarantine Act.

  • The federal government will continue to use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order to self-isolate, enforceable by RCMP or local police
  • Maximum penalties for breaking self-isolation orders include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months

Can I get in legal trouble if I don’t practice “social distancing” or provincial health orders in BC?

April 13, 2021

All orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow the order could be fined.

On August 21, 2020, the BC Government announced new fines for owners, organizers, hosts and attendees of gatherings that violate the Provincial Health Officer’s orders. 

Police and other regulatory officers (such as conservation officers) now have the power to issue $2,000 to people hosting and organizing events that violate the orders. 

Individuals attending events who fail to follow the directions of officers or refuse to follow safe operating procedures are subject to a $200 fine. 

You will be subject to a $575 violation ticket if you attend a non-compliant event or gathering or encourage other people to attend a gathering or event (unless it has an exemption).

Mask enforcement (November 19, 2020 Province-wide Order)

You are subject to a $230 fine if you:

  • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour

Businesses that violate the Province-wide public health order can be issued $2300 violation tickets.

To see the list of full BC enforcement measures and violation tickets, see Violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour.

This order is in effect until further notice.

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.