If you are in immediate danger call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, call SAIL ((Senior Abuse & Information Line) a safe place for older adults and those who care about them to talk to someone about situations of abuse and mistreatment. They are available 8am-8pm. Line Tel: 604-437-1940 / Toll Free: 1-866-437-1940. For more information go to Seniors First BC. Additional support services for mistreated seniors can be found at Where to Get Help on the Government of BC website.
I am a BC senior and feel mistreated or unsafe during COVID-19. Who can help?
What type of travel is permitted?
While we all look forward to future road trips and exploring new parks, for now, the government asks that you stay close to home, avoid non-essential travel outside of the province, and enjoy where you live. By temporarily avoiding non-essential travel, British Columbians can do their part to protect vulnerable people in communities from COVID-19. International travellers returning to BC are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.
All Canada-US border crossings are restricted to essential travel March 21 for the duration of the provincial state of emergency, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties. “Non-essential” includes travel considered tourism or recreational in nature.
Non-essential travel out of the province is not recommended. Some routes and crossings are limited to essential travel. All inter-provincial travel is now permitted for BC residents. Some towns, communities and regions who rely on tourism are eager to welcome visitors with safety measures in place. The majority of provincial parks and campgrounds are open for visitors. Other communities might be hesitant to welcome outside visitors this summer and people need to respect that. As part of Phase 3, the government encourages British Columbians to be respectful of the communities you plan to visit and be safe as you enjoy the many beautiful locations across our province.
For more details regarding BC travel, BC borders, and access to recreation sites and active transportation routes, see the Government of BC website. For information about travel within Canada or departing Canada, see the Government of Canada’s travel restrictions, exemptions and advice.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Facemasks can be worn to help protect those around you, and the BCCDC advises that they should be worn by people who are sick to prevent transmission to other people. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask does not make it okay to go out but it can help prevent the spread of germs at home especially if you cannot separate yourself from others in the home.
If you are healthy, wearing a non-medical or cloth mask or face covering is a matter of personal choice but can help to protect others. Some people can spread the virus when they have very mild symptoms or may be unaware they are infected. Wearing a cloth mask will not protect you from COVID-19 but it is a good option in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors. Do not put a face mask or any covering including visors and eye protection on infants under two years of age.
Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing. For more information, visit the BCCDC.
Can I still wash my hands if my BC community has a boil water advisory?
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?
Alarmingly, according to the CBC, “reports of child exploitation to Cybertip.ca up 40 per cent in recent weeks”. Kids are having more unsupervised online time now and unfortunately it seems predators are looking to take advantage of the situation.
Parents can go to Cybertips.ca 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?
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. For a full list of initiatives, see COVID-19: How you can make a difference.
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.
Surveys on the impacts of COVID-19
Statistics Canada is accelerating data collection in response to the urgent need for information to help the country respond to, and recover from, the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Please participate in any of our crowdsourcing data collections that may be applicable to you, and check back here often for new topics.
Donate personal protective equipment
Would you like to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) or other medical supplies to support frontline health care staff?
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.
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.
Are parks in BC closed due to COVID-19?
As of June 29 , many campgrounds across the province have re-opened for the 2020 camping season, with more campgrounds to open in the weeks to come. Overnight camping is once again permitted at recreation sites. On May 14, BC Parks began to reopen the majority of provincial parks and protected areas and marine parks. Some areas and facilities remain closed, including playgrounds, picnic shelters and visitor centres. 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.
BC Parks has also introduced new camping opportunities that will be available in the coming weeks. Some group campsites have been repurposed to accommodate ‘extended family’ camping and are available on Discover Camping for reservation. These new family camping opportunities will be available as of June 29, 2020. For details on where these opportunities have been added, please refer to the Family Camping (repurposed group campsites) Details.
Visitors are asked to visit parks close to home, respect any facility or area closures and must follow the physical distancing requirements set out by the PHO. Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer and are asked to practice appropriate hygiene. If you are sick, please visit another time. Take a look at the BC Parks Guide to Camping During Covid-19 to get a better idea of what to expect when you arrive at a BC campground. For more information, see COVID-19 updates on BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC.
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?
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
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?
On April 24th, 2020, BC updated the procedures in place for travellers returning from other countries. Go to Self-Isolation on Return to BC for full details.
All international travellers returning to B.C. 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.
Assessment Process on Arrival
Starting April 8, 2020, additional screening measures will be put in place for people returning to B.C. from international locations including the United States by air, land or sea.
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” in BC?
The guidance from authorities to stay home except for essential errands, and to keep six feet apart from others, is strong advice, not the law.
Some of the social distancing rules do have the force of law, however.
The province’s public health orders are examples. These include the order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, and an order requiring restaurants and pubs to take measures to physically distance groups of patrons. The latter order, which came into effect on June 10, 2020, spells out how establishments must keep two metres between groups of patrons and get contact information for one member of every group (among other measures).
So far, though, in guidance to its bylaw officers, the province is focusing its efforts on monitoring and education. The officers (and police) are not empowered to fine or detain people in enforcing these orders. Vancouver’s bylaw officers are similarly focused on monitoring and educating to date.
One rule has more severe penalties if you don’t follow it. If you’ve just returned to Canada from abroad, you must isolate or quarantine, depending on if you have symptoms. (The federal government website explains the difference.) You can be fined or jailed for failing to follow this order.
I am self-isolating with my abuser. How am I supposed to stay safe during the COVID-19 Coronavirus?
Home is not safe for everyone. The added stress of the crisis, on top of added financial pressure, and close quarters can trigger violence. Women and victims’ organizations are still operating to assist people facing violence in the home.
If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911, or call your community police.. You can also call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808. You can search BC Housing for a list of shelters near you. HealthLink BC also provides contact information for other services that support all victims, including youth and seniors.
Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) Crisis line remains open, providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence and/or uncertainty during these difficult times. They provide emotional support and can help you develop a safety plan. If safe, call or text 604-652-1867. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transition Houses provide short- to long-term shelter and related support services to women, children, and youth who have experienced or are at risk of violence. Find more information at www.sheltersafe.ca
If you fear for your safety you may still be able to get a protection order from Family Court. Both the Supreme Court and Provincial Court will still hear applications if a judge determines the matter is urgent, including urgent applications for protection orders. See the BC Family Justice’s COVID -19 Legal Questions and the Legal Aid BC’s (formerly Legal Services Society) Q & A - Family Violence for more information and direction.