The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
In a release, the Province says that state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Oct. 13, 2020, which will allow staff to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.
A provincial declaration of a state of emergency allows the Province to implement provincial emergency measures and allows access to assets that may be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency. This is a temporary measure authorized by the Emergency Program Act.
The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.‘s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.
On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.
The state of emergency in British Columbia was extended for another two weeks on May 27, which made it the longest state of emergency in the province's history.
Prior to COVID-19, the longest state of emergency in B.C.'s history was during the 2017 wildfire season, which lasted for 10 weeks.