In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia courts and workplace administrative tribunals have announced adjustments to their operations. These include:
British Columbia Courts
The following three B.C. courthouses have been closed, following an announcement that a court participant had been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19:
- Campbell River;
- Nanaimo; and
The B.C. provincial court has reduced its operations. Only urgent cases will proceed normally. For family and small claims matters, applications may be made to a judge to determine if a matter is urgent.
Urgent small claims matters include applications concerning outstanding warrants, preservation of limitation periods, time extensions for filing pleadings, and renewal of notice of claim.
As of March 18, 2020, the B.C. Supreme Court has suspended all regular operations, effective immediately and until further notice. All regular hearings are adjourned, and details regarding urgent and emergency matters will be forthcoming.
Court of Appeal
As of March 17, 2020, the B.C. Court of Appeal has limited its operations. Parties are advised to continue filing and serving Notices of Appeal, or applications for leave, within the required time periods.
- All scheduled hearings, chambers appointments and other matters scheduled to occur between March 18, 2020 and May 1, 2020 are adjourned unless otherwise designated by the Chief Justice
- Existing appeals and applications are suspended until May 4, 2020, except those designated by the Chief Justice to proceed
- Parties are being encouraged to file appeals electronically as the registry counter will be closed
- Parties may consent to have their matter heard by teleconference or in writing
Labour Relations Board
As of March 16, 2020 the Labour Board offices have been closed to the public. All non-essential in-person hearings, mediations and settlement conferences have been postponed until at least April 3, 2020. The Board has indicated that essential/urgent hearings will still be held and votes will proceed by way of mail-in ballot.
Human Rights Tribunal
As of March 13, 2020, the Human Rights Tribunal is continuing to take telephone calls and emails from the public. Those with in-person mediations or hearings will be contacted to discuss the possibility of using a telephone meeting. Where an in person meeting is desired or necessary, the Tribunal will set up the room for participants to sit apart from each other.
Employment Standards Tribunal
As of March 13, 2020 the Employment Standards Tribunal is continuing to operate normally except for in-person meetings, which are proceeding by appointment only.
As of March 16, 2020, WorkSafeBC office locations are still open.
WorkSafeBC can still be contacted for emergency, claims, health and safety, and insurance assistance. Employers may wish to consider using WorkSafeBC’s online insurance services to report payroll and pay premiums.
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.