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Province Announces Measure To Support COVID-19 Response

Please note the following news release from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General announcing that the Province of British Columbia will be taking measures under the Emergency Program Act to maintain essential goods and services:

“Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act, the minister is issuing a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency. This includes:

  • Supply chain: Establishing a new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit to co-ordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in co-ordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.

The Province, in consultation with the Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, has defined essential services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery. This is distinct from essential service designations under the Province’s Labour Relations Code.

Essential services identified in the BC Government News Release in the Transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing sector include:

  • supply chain services needed to supply goods for societal functioning, including cooling, storing, packaging, transportation, warehousing and distribution;
  • workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo transportation services, including crews, maintenance, operations and other facilities workers;
  • manufacturers and distributors (to include service centres and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations;
  • truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and municipal and provincial services;
  • local, regional, and provincial delivery services, including but not limited to businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to business and residences and mailing and shipping services;
  • services to support and enable transportation, including highway, road, bridge maintenance and repair;
  • employees who repair, maintain and overhaul vehicles, aircraft and parts, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers, as well as vehicle rentals and leasing;
  • services that facilitate the transportation of essential supplies, personnel and services, including port/waterfront operations, road, air and rail operations;
  • facilities supporting interprovincial and intra-provincial delivery of goods, including truck scales, commercial vehicle inspection stations, brokerages, truck towing and repair services, commercial cardlock fuel providers, truck and rest stops;
  • government-owned or leased buildings;
  • businesses that supply other essential businesses and people working from home with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  • private transportation services, such as taxis, ride-hailing, helicopter, aircraft and marine vessels;
  • public transportation services under rules for physical distancing or other recommendations from the PHO;
  • workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods and support the natural resource sector, as well as workers supporting safety at such facilities;
  • provision of public services that support the safe operation of regulated businesses and the provision of public services that support those businesses to meet other regulatory requirements;
  • workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations;
  • workers who support the inspection and maintenance for ongoing safety at industrial facilities;
  • inspectors who ensure worksites are safe and health for workers, and who investigate serious workplace accidents;
  • workers who process and manage claims made by injured workers, including services related to their care and treatment, as well as the provision of workers’ compensation benefits;
  • hotels and places of accommodation;
  • activities of the consuls general and staff who support the work of the consuls general;
  • landlords of buildings where the consulates are located and those who must guarantee access to consular offices as well as the operation of the consular offices;
  • storage for essential businesses;
  • businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine) including delivery of maintenance services, such as clearing snow, response to collisions and completing needed repairs to transportation systems;
  • businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g., primary metal/steel, blow moulding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc., that feed the end-product manufacturer);
  • vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support environmental remediation/monitoring and who respond to environmental emergencies;
  • businesses providing staffing services, including temporary labour services; and
  • businesses that support the safe operations of residences, essential businesses and facilities/buildings.”

As usual, we will continue to provide any and all developments on the situation as it progresses and it’s effect (if any) on the shipping industry in Western Canada.