BC Announces List of Essential Services

On March 26, 2020, the B.C. Government announced a list of essential services in BC. Currently, any business or service that has not been ordered to close by provincial order, and is not on this list, may stay open if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. A list of orders may be found here.

Businesses providing services on the list are being encouraged by the Province to remain open, as long as they follow the orders and guidance provided by Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The “essential services” list includes the following:

  • Hospitals
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmaceutical and medical supply product production, manufacturing and distribution
  • Police, fire and other first responders
  • Food banks
  • Care and residential facilities for seniors, adults, children or individuals with disabilities
  • Child care for essential service workers
  • Farms, farming equipment and food supply
  • Food retail establishments, including:
    • Grocery stores
    • Convenience stores
    • Pet supply stores
    • Liquor stores
    • Cannabis stores (and producers)
    • Stores selling household consumer products
  • Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals
  • Facilities critical in supporting certain daily needs, including electricity, drinking water, waste water, steam, alternative energy, waste management, industrial recycling, oil and fuel
  • Manufacturing
  • Gas stations
  • Delivery services
  • Repair of vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, and marine vessels
  • Private transportation services
  • Chemical and industrial gas supply chains
  • Workplace safety inspection activities
  • Hotels and places of accommodation
  • Businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine)
  • Temporary staffing agencies
  • Cleaning services necessary to provide and maintain disinfection
  • Sanitary product manufacturing
  • Environmental cleanup and response
  • Waste and recycling collection
  • IT workers, for certain facilities including medical facilities, governments facilities, banks, employees working from home
  • Newspapers, television, radio, online news outlets and other media services
  • Telecommunications services
  • Veterinarians
  • Coroners
  • Banks
  • Plumbers, electricians, custodians, exterminators
  • Education institutions, for providing remote learning or other essential functions
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Restaurants, if they operate according to the Provincial Health Officer orders and recommendations
  • Towing services
  • Construction work, if they operate according to the Provincial Health Officer orders and recommendations
  • Forestry
  • Postal services
  • All government functions or services
  • Mining operations, mineral exploration and development, and mining supply and services
  • Professional services including lawyers, paralegals, engineers, accountants and translators

The complete list of businesses deemed to be essential services can be found on the B.C. Government website, here.

While BC has not yet ordered mandatory shut-down of non-essential businesses, employers not appearing on this list should consider taking steps to prepare for that contingency, including work-from-home measures for staff, where possible.

We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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