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.
Please note that the COVID-19 provincial state of emergency declared under the Emergency Program Act ended at 11:59 pm on June 30, 2021. Although most restrictions have been lifted as part of phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan, there are some limitations that will remain in place until BC enters the final stage of the Restart Plan.
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.