Emergency powers make it easier and quicker for governments to enact and enforce certain laws to help them address the emergency. The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) made a fact sheet to help you understand What is an Emergency Order?, including what laws governments have used to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and what the risks are if the government went too far. See also the BCCLA’s fact sheet on Policing the Pandemic to learn more about how emergency orders can be enforced during the emergency.
As of August 21, 2020, police and other provincial enforcement officers are being given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events. They will also be able to issue $200 violation tickets to individuals not following the direction of police or enforcement staff at events or who refuse to comply with requests to follow PHO orders or safe operating procedures, or respond with abusive behaviour. See the BC Government news update for more information.
However, 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.