BC Government COVID Response

The Province of British Columbia has developed a Covid-19 Immunization Plan which is planned to happen in 4 phases. Provincial restrictions have also been set in place to curb transmission, including PHO orders on masks in public indoor settings, bars and restaurants, and events and gatherings.

Covid-19 Immunization Plan

The immunization plan is divided into four phases, with phases 1 and 2 focusing on vulnerable populations and phases 3 and 4 covering the general population. Phase 1 includes isolated and remote Indigenous communities, essential visitors to assisted living residencies and long-term care facilities, and staff and residents of assisted living facilities. Phase 1 also includes frontline healthcare workers in surgical and medical units, paramedics, emergency departments, and intensive care units. Phase 2 runs from February to March and covers personnel in nursing and home support services, senior citizens aged 80 and over, and medical specialists, community general practitioners, and hospital staff. Indigenous communities not yet immunized and vulnerable persons in congregated settings are also covered.

Immunization clinics are found in settings such as community halls, convention halls, arenas, and school gymnasiums. Individuals who are homebound and rural communities will be served by mobile clinics. There are two options for pre-registration – by phone and online. When contacted to confirm a vaccine appointment, individuals are asked to indicate time, date, and location and to complete a pre-screening. At the clinic, all residents are expected to complete a check-in process and then get their vaccine.

The easing of current restrictions depends on different factors such as the capacity of the healthcare system, transmission rates, and number of individuals who get the vaccine.


Province-wide restrictions have been set in place with regard to events and gatherings in vacation accommodations and residencies. Residents are asked not to host playdates, gather on driveways, patios, and backyards, and invite extended family. Certain activities are allowed under the current order, including public skating rinks and pools, grandparents looking after children, carpooling children to school, and hiking and going for a walk.

Cultural events are not allowed, including cinema movie viewings, silent auctions, galas, and theatre and musical performances. Drive-in events are not prohibited provided that they take place with a limited number of visitors. Such events include religious services and drive-in movies. A Covid-19 Safety Plan should be followed for drop-off evens like toy drives and fundraisers. Organizers must avoid congestion, control exit and entry, and ensure that visitors maintain physical distancing.

High intensity indoor classes have been suspended, including high intensity interval training, aerobics, spin classes, and yoga. Low intensity group exercise is allowed, for example, stretching, light weightlifting, Pilates, and low intensity cardio equipment. Both outdoor and indoor team sports for adults aged 22 and older are prohibited, including sports such as lawn bowling, ice hockey, team skating, and road hockey.

Bars, pubs, and restaurants are allowed to continue to operate provided that they have a Covid-19 Safety Plan. Alcohol-based sanitizers and hand washing facilities must be made available, with signs reminding customers to sanitize hands before touching drinks and food that are intended for self-service.

Masks are required in indoor settings such as coffee shops, airports, grocery stores, and shopping centres. Other places where masks are required include fitness facilities, places of worship, recreation centres, and on public transportation. It is also recommended to wear a mask in places such as stairwells, lobbies, hallways, and elevators. The same goes for shared indoor workplace settings such as break rooms and kitchens.


British Columbia Government Services and Programs

The government of British Columbia provides healthcare and social services to all residents, including income and disability assistance and family and social supports.

Family Assistance

Assistance is available in the form of the B.C. Early Childhood Tax and Child Opportunity Benefit, the latter of which is offered as a monthly tax-free payment based on adjusted net income. Families are eligible to apply when they get custody, a child is born, or a shared custody agreement changes, ends, or begins. The B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit is also a tax-free payment offered to families with children under the age of 6. A benefit of up to $55 a month is offered depending on income and number of children. Other factors to weigh in are residency status, territory or province, marital status (widowed, single, separated, married, divorced, etc.), whether the partners share custody, and if they are raising a qualified disabled.

Income and Disability Assistance

Residents who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for supports, with certain assets excluded such as interest in a trust, cashable personal property, and cash. Assets that qualify include registered disability savings plan, household equipment and clothing, and one’s vehicle and home. For more on the topic click here. Other financial options are also available.

Disability supports range from practical and mobility aids to medical equipment that helps improve safety and quality of life. These can be in the form of slip-resistant flooring, wheelchairs, height-adjustable counters and cupboards, and grab bars. Persons with disabilities are eligible to apply for assistance through non-for-profit organizations and federal and provincial agencies as well as organizations such as Disability Alliance BC and the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society.

Healthcare Programs

The health authorities provide a number of services and programs such as health clinic and hospital assistance, care, nursing, and retirement homes, and disability supports and assistive devices. Residential care and assisted living facilities are available to senior citizens, including publicly subsidized and private pay. There are two types – long-term and short-term, the former offering respite, hospice, and convalescent care. Long-term care facilities provide a number of services to seniors, including hygiene supplies, meal replacements and meals, and recreational and social activities such as games, crafts, and exercise. Specialized services are also available to persons requiring palliative and dementia care. Home care is offered to persons with disabilities and illnesses, including help with toileting and grooming, bathing, transfers, and nutrition.

Assistance for Newcomers

The government of British Columbia offers programs and services to immigrants who need assistance with settlement and employment. These range from work experience placement, training, and skills assessment to employment planning and job search.

The Immigrant Employment Council of BC also offers assistance to skilled professionals, including online tools for job seekers to upload their resumes and profiles and connect with potential employers.

Settlement services are available to newcomers to help them with school enrollment, language assessment, employment, and locating community services. Services range from job-related language training and assistance with daily activities to services for youth, seniors, and women.

One program that targets in-demand occupations is the Career Path for Skilled Immigrants Program, offering language and job-related assistance. Examples of in-demand occupations include positions like:

  • Financial auditor
  • Information systems analyst
  • Construction manager
  • Registered nurse
  • Accounting technician
  • Early childhood educator
  • Community service worker
  • Wholesale trade manager
  • Software engineer

Assistance to skilled professionals in the category of regulated occupations is available in the form of exam preparation, language training, and career coaching. Support is also offered for unregulated occupations which are not in demand, including language training. Newcomers who meet the criteria include certified professionals that are permanent residents and have either advanced or intermediate language proficiency.


All persons who are unemployed can apply for assistance under the Employment Program of British Columbia in case that they are unable to work due to disability or medical reason and are seeking employment.