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COVID-19 Updates

  • BC Government Announces October 24th Snap Election

    September 21, 2020

    Horgan announced Monday he has called an election for Oct. 24, 2020. after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and asking her to dissolve the legislature.

    "I've struggled mightily with this decision and it did not come easily to me," said Horgan, acknowledging the controversy of calling an early election during a global pandemic. 

    But he said that with COVID-19 expected to be a fact of life for the next year, an election made sense now. 

    "We can either delay that decision and create uncertain and instability over the 12 months…. or we can do what I believe is always the right thing, and ask British Columbians what they think."

    Elections BC said there will be advanced voting from Friday, Oct. 16 to Wednesday, Oct. 21. Voters can cast a ballot by mail as well.

  • New Westminster Law Courts Closure - September 14, 2020

    September 14, 2020

    Due to the fire at the New Westminster pier and the impact on air quality at the courthouse, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has directed that the Supreme Court registry at New Westminster Law Courts has been closed for today, September 14, 2020.  All Supreme Court proceedings scheduled for hearing at New Westminster today have been adjourned.  

    If you have an appearance scheduled in New Westminster today and require further information, please contact Supreme Court Scheduling at 604-660-8551.

    The Supreme Court is co-located with the Provincial Court in New Westminster. For more information about the Provincial Court in New Westminster, please consult the Provincial Court website. This situation is being monitored and daily updates will be posted on the Supreme Court website.

  • Effective September 8, all BC nightclubs and banquet halls ordered to be closed until further notice, new restrictions on liquor sales at bars and restaurants

    September 9, 2020

    Effective immediately (Sept. 8, 2020), the BC Government has ordered all nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls to close until further notice. 

    Additionally, liquor sales in all bars, pubs and restaurants must cease at 10 p.m. and they must close at 11 p.m., unless providing a full meal service, in which case they may stay open, but may not serve liquor until 11 a.m. the following day. Music or other background sounds, such as from televisions in bars, lounges, pubs and restaurants, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.

    These measures come as a result of the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases in BC. Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix are urging British Columbians to heed provincial health warnings and orders: “As we get back to work and back to school this fall, it is the time for all of us to cut back on our social interactions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 for ourselves and everyone around us.”

    For the full update, see the Sept. 8 Joint statement on B.C.’s COVID-19 response.

  • BC Provincial Court back in full swing!

    August 26, 2020

    Although operations look a bit different, the BC Provincial Court has resumed all types of proceedings and is again accepting all new filings. In March 2020, the Provincial Court of British Columbia responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by limiting court operations to urgent matters. Since then the Court has gradually expanded its operation while modifying both court procedures and physical spaces to protect the health of court users and reduce the number of people gathering in courthouses. 

    For a summary of the progress and current alternative procedures in place, see HERE.

  • Masks Mandatory on all BC Transit and Ferries, More Stores introduce mandatory masks

    August 24, 2020

    Today masks have become mandatory for all BC Transit and BC Ferry riders. While a limited supply of masks will be available to some riders, it is best to supply your own face mask. Riders who refuse to comply with the policy may be subject to fines up to $150. Children under 5 or anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask will be exempt.

    On August 12, Walmart made masks mandatory in all its Canadian stores. T & T Supermarkets have required masks since May. Starting Saturday August 29th, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills will require all customers to wear a mask upon entry to their stores. Children and people unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are exempt.

    As more companies and organizations make masks mandatory, it is important to check for updates. Many individual stores and personal services businesses, such as hair salons, already require customers to wear a mask. If you do not already wear a mask while in indoor public spaces, it may be helpful to carry a mask with you in case you are asked to cover your face.

  • Federal Government introduces measures to enhanced EI as CERB nears end, and introduces new recovery benefits to support Canadians

    August 21, 2020

    On Sept. 27, almost all CERB claimants who qualify for EI and are still unable to work will be transitioned onto the EI program as their avenue for support once their 28 weeks of CERB run out. For most workers, this transition will be automatic however there will be a few cases in which applications will need to be filed, and those people are being contacted by the government.

    The government has also introduced enhanced measures to help Canadians access EI. Workers must have 120 insurable hours to qualify. Those eligible will receive a minimum benefit rate of $400 per week for at least 26 weeks.

    Lastly, three new benefits will come into effect September 27.  

    The Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy. These individuals may still require income support if they continue to be unable to return to work due to COVID-19 or had their income reduced relative to pre-COVID-19 pandemic (attestation-based).

    The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit would provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for one year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This new benefit would fulfil the Government of Canada’s commitment as part of the Safe Restart Agreement with provinces and territories to provide up to two weeks of sick leave to all Canadians in the context of COVID-19.

    The Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit, would be effective for one year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians who have been impacted by the closure of daycares, schools, day programs and other care facilities.

    To learn more about the enhanced EI or the new benefits, see Supporting Canadians Through the Next Phase of the Economy Re-opening: Increased Access to EI and Recovery Benefits.

  • Province introduces new measures to enforce COVID-19 public safety

    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.

  • $300 BC COVID-19 income and disability supplement extended to end of 2020

    August 19, 2020

    If you are not receiving federal Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and you are either on

    • Income Assistance
    • Disability Assistance
    • Comforts Allowance
    • BC Senior’s Supplement 

    You'll automatically receive a $300 supplement on your cheques issued monthly, from April to December 2020. No action is required on your part.

  • Court of Appeal extends filing deadline suspensions to Sept. 14, 2020

    August 19, 2020

    On August 19, the BC Court of Appeal extended deadline suspensions until September 14, 2020. For more information, see the Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19.

  • Trudeau announces plans for end of CERB, transition to EI

    August 17, 2020

    According to the Federal Government, they plan on loosening some restrictions so that those who would not normally qualify for EI can still receive the benefit. The Prime Minister said, “We intend to cover every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st-century EI system.”

    The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26, 2020. Trudeau said more details about “what will come after the CERB” will be released in the coming weeks.