Federal and provincial governments announce new measures to prevent spread of COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, the Federal and Provincial governments each announced further measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Federal Government

Prime Minister Trudeau announced the following additional measures to restrict travel and entry into Canada:

  • Canada is closing the border to non-Canadian citizens, with the following exceptions: permanent Canadian residents, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens, air crews, diplomats and U.S. citizens. These border restrictions will not apply to trade and commerce.
  • Individuals having symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted entry into Canada. Airline operators are being instructed to refuse symptomatic travellers from boarding.
  • Canadians abroad are encouraged to return to Canada while options remain available. Anyone who enters Canada is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Starting on March 18th, international flights to Canada will be permitted to land only at four designated Canadian airports in order to implement enhanced screening. Domestic flights, as well as flights departing from the US, Mexico and the Caribbean are not affected at this time.

Provincial Government

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer issued a joint statement with updates on British Columbia’s response to COVID-19:

  • Gatherings of over 50 people are prohibited. This is a reduction from the prior direction banning gatherings of over 250 people. A copy of the Order of the Provincial Health Officer is available here.
  • All elective scheduled surgeries are postponed. Hospitals will undertake only urgent and emergency procedures.
  • Lions Gate Hospital will only accept emergency patients.
  • Pharmacies are directed to re-fill prescriptions without requiring a note from a physician, this is being implemented to lessen the burden on the health care system.
  • Visits to long-term care facilities are restricted to essential visits only.
  • Non-medical information about COVID-19 is now available through a dedicated phone service: 1-888-COVID19 (7 days/week, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm).
  • All casinos in British Columbia were ordered to close.
  • Consultations regarding school operations following spring break are ongoing. A formal announcement regarding schools is expected.
  • Although the border is not closed to US citizens, the BC government urged visitors from the US not to visit British Columbia at this time.

Note to our Readers: Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We are working to bring you up-to-date articles as the legal issues develop and to keep our previous posts updated. Given that the legal issues related to COVID-19 are constantly changing, if you are looking for legal advice or are dealing with an issue in relation to COVID-19, please contact your Harris lawyer or a member of our COVID-19 response team: Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

To read our most recent articles and other updates on COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Updates page.