“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 23, 2021 at 10:30 am PT. We're updating this page regularly as developments unfold.
Latest public health orders
Can I travel within BC?
There is now a provincial health order restricting non-essential travel within BC until May 25. The government released new guidance on what is considered non-essential. It includes vacations, recreation, or visiting friends or family for social reasons. See the province's website for a full list of what’s considered essential travel.
The order identifies three travel regions — Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Interior/North, and Vancouver Island. Starting on Friday April 23rd, roadside checks may be performed on vehicles travelling between these health regions (for a parallel, think of what they do on New Year’s Eve to catch drivers under the influence). Periodic enforcement (and not random checks) are expected to happen at key transit points between these regions, like the Highway 1 or Coquihalla corridors after Hope, or at BC Ferry terminals. The goal of these checks is to educate people on the travel restrictions, but you could get a fine of up to $575.
You can expect to see increased signage on highways about these restrictions. Some tour operators will cancel reservations for out-of-region guests.
BC Ferries also plans to contact people with existing bookings before May 25th to confirm the travel is for essential purposes. You can expect to be asked at the terminal if your travel is recreational. If it is, you can still board the ferry, but the police may be notified.
Finally, if you reserved camping at a BC Park outside of your health region (with an arrival date before May 25th), you can reschedule or cancel your reservation free of charge.
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?
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 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?
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