During a press conference today the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer (the “PHO”) announced a new provincial health order, which requires all BC businesses to enact COVID-19 Safety Plans. WorkSafeBC is responsible for ensuring compliance with this new order.
Similar provincial health orders have been made previously in the pandemic. In 2020, employers were required, by order of the PHO, to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlined the protocols and policies in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. Employers were required to post a copy of these COVID-19 Safety Plans at the workplace.
In July of 2021, as BC entered step 3 of its “Restart Plan”, the requirement for a COVID-19 Safety Plan was removed (apart from instances of elevated risk) to allow employers to transition to less stringent “communicable disease plans”.
Today, as a result of the considerable increase in COVID-19 cases and transmission in the province, the Provincial Health Officer has announced businesses must again implement/revive their COVID-19 Safety Plans.
While specific details as to the required content which any COVID-19 Safety Plan must now contain has not yet been released by WorkSafeBC, it is expected BC employers will be able to reactivate their prior COVID-19 Safety Plans which were previously in place.
A link to WorkSafeBC’s current resources for reviewing and updating COVID-19 Safety Plans can be found here, although it is expected WorkSafeBC will be updating their information and resources shortly in light of the new PHO order.
At the time of this articles release, the text of the provincial health order was not yet available. Once available we will update this article, if required, with any important developments.
If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer or refer to the Firm’s other COVID-19 website resources.