Victoria – The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of emergency to support the provincewide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the declaration based on the recommendation from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials, after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
“Declaring a state of emergency is an important measure to support our provincial health officer and minister of health in swift and powerful response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farnworth said. “We are working with partners across government and industry to co-ordinate emergency response efforts, and we won’t hesitate to use the tools available to us to keep people safe.”
Declaring a state of emergency allows the Province, through the minister, to implement any provincial emergency measures required with access to land and human resource assets that may be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency. This includes securing the critical supply chains to make sure people have access to essential goods and services, and that infrastructure necessary in a response is readily available.
The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. The state of emergency applies to the whole province and allows federal, provincial and local resources to be delivered in a co-ordinated effort.
As House leader, Farnworth is also working to resume the legislature to complete urgent government business to expedite government’s response to COVID-19.