“Things seemed to be getting back to normal(ish). But now the latest wave has hit. There's a new government 'order' or 'guideline' every time I turn around. I feel confused about what's truly required and what's just recommended."
– Hugo, Vancouver
The coronavirus outbreak has dramatically impacted so much about our lives in a short time. We’re here to help with answers to common legal questions on the public health orders, work, home, money, consumer, wills, business, and courts.
Updated April 6, 2021 at 8 am PT. We're updating this page regularly as developments unfold.
Latest public health orders
How does travel into Canada work?
Can I travel between provinces?
How many people are allowed inside my home right now?
What is a core bubble?
Can I hang out with people outside?
What’s the latest with restaurants and pubs?
We’ve heard a lot of people are confused about this. And as of March 30, things changed again for at least three weeks. Until April 19th at midnight, restaurants, bars and pubs are closed for indoor dining. Dining on a patio (if the place has one) and take out are still allowed.
Restaurants have also been reminded to follow COVID safety protocols, or they risk getting fined or shut down. Fines can run up to $2,300 per offence for businesses that don’t comply.
Earlier restrictions continue to be in effect closing dance floors and nightclubs.
(You can still dance at home at any time 💃.)
Can my gym or fitness class stay open? What about sports and outdoor activities?
What about my kids' activities?
Can I go to my place of worship?
Can I travel?
Can I take time off work to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Do I have to wear a mask at work?
Can I enter a store or business without wearing a mask?
Do I have to wear a mask in common areas of my apartment or condo?
Does my child have to wear a mask at school?
On March 29, the public health guidance shifted for K to 12 schools. Students in grade 4 to 12 are required to wear masks at school in all indoor areas. This includes at desks and work stations and on school buses. There are some exceptions, such as if a student can't tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons. As well, masks can be removed temporarily to eat or drink, or to engage in activities that can't be performed with a mask (like playing a wind instrument). Full details are here (brace yourself; it's a dense read).
Students in kindergarten to grade 3 are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in schools and on school buses.
Am I entitled to know if there’s been a COVID-19 exposure at my child’s school?
“After being laid off when the pandemic first hit, I’m happy to be getting a full pay cheque again. But my boss hasn’t been taking COVID-19 very seriously. It doesn’t feel like my workplace is safe. What can I do?"
– Joseph, Victoria, BC
Can I refuse to work during the pandemic?
Does a workplace need to have a COVID-19 safety plan?
Can my employer just tell me not to come in?
But, will I get paid?
Am I eligible for financial aid?
I was told my layoff was just temporary. Is that allowed?
My workplace cut my salary in half. Can they do this?
I’m feeling ill. Can I take time off work and keep my job?
Will I get paid when I take a sick day?
I’m self-employed, but now I’m sick and can’t work at all. What are my options?
I’ve got to take care of my kids. Will I still get paid?
Will my job be there when I get back?
Can my employer ask me if I have COVID-19?
"My landlord sold their condo, and I was supposed to move out at the end of next month. But now, I’m self-isolating with a bad cough. I don’t think it’s responsible for me to move right now. I’m not sure who I can even get to help me move. I’m in a real bind here."
– Priya, Richmond, BC
I won’t be able to make my next rent. Now what?
Can I still get evicted?
Do I have to tell my landlord if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19?
What if I can’t make my mortgage payments?
What are we doing for the most vulnerable members in our community?
“This pandemic has made everything come to a stop. Except for my bills of course. And money is tight now. With groceries, cleaning supplies, rent, and so many other pressures, it’s hard for me to prioritize what to pay first."
– Morgan, Vancouver
The news mentioned this one-time support payment for people in BC. How does that work?
I’ve heard it’s possible to defer some bills?
I may have to withdraw money on my credit card. What do I need to know?
Is there relief to help low-income people?
What about supports for students, and what about student loans?
What are the deadlines for income tax during this time?
Do I have to report CERB when I’m doing my taxes?
“I got a call from the 'Canada Health Authority' telling me I tested positive for COVID-19. They followed up with a text message saying I was eligible for government benefits. They asked for my social insurance number and personal health number, to 'confirm my identity', as well as my credit card, to process my benefit payments. It sounded so official, but it must have been a scam. I've never been tested for COVID-19."
– Jasper, Golden, BC
I’ve heard there are scams related to COVID-19. Is this true?
I’ve noticed people are selling things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer online at crazy prices. Is this legal?
I was supposed to take a flight, but may have to cancel or postpone. What are my rights?
If I can’t sign a contract in person, what are my options?
“Writing a will has moved from my should-do list to a top priority. I'm a childcare worker. When you’re caring for little ones — you hold them, you feed them — it’s impossible to practise physical distancing. I’m proud to do my part. But I know going to work right now is a risk to my health and my family’s.”
– Piper, North Vancouver, BC
I don’t want to meet with anyone in person right now. Can I still prepare a will?
I’m a frontline healthcare worker. What should I consider when writing up my will?
Can I still apply for a grant of probate or administration right now?
If I don’t want to meet with anyone in person right now, can I still prepare a power of attorney?
I heard it’s a good idea to have a representation agreement. What are my options for making one while social distancing?
“I run a small print shop over in East Vancouver. I’ve had to lay off a few employees. I’m still open, but just barely keeping the lights on. One of my biggest clients owes me a bunch of money, but now says they won’t pay me this month."
– Sydney, Vancouver
I’ve heard there’s government help available for small business owners?
I’m a small business owner that's having trouble paying rent. Can my landlord still make me pay rent?
I’m a small business owner. A client has refused to pay me, using coronavirus as their reason. Can they do this?
“I’m confused which social distancing rules are suggestions and which ones are required. Some things seem to be opening up again, but not others. I'm fuzzy on who I can gather with. And what can lead to a ticket."
– Rae, Coquitlam, BC