The Government of British Columbia announced that the use of masks in all indoor public spaces will no longer be required as of 12:01 am on Friday March 11, 2022. Additionally, the province’s requirement to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination through the B.C. Vaccine Card will be lifted on April 8, 2022.
Eliminating the Mask Requirement in British Columbia
In a press release held on Thursday March 10, 2022, the B.C. government announced that the requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces will no longer be in effect as of 12:01 am on Friday March 11, 2022.
This will include private and public schools operating from grades Kindergarten to 12. Although students will no longer be required by provincial health authorities to wear masks at school, the government announced that schools will still be a ‘mask positive zone’ and the province encourages students to continue to use their masks on school grounds.
Additionally, certain public places such as long-term care facilities and acute health care settings will continue to require the use of masks on their premises.
The B.C. government also announced that individual businesses and organizations can decide whether they would like to keep their mask mandate in place on their premises.
Similarly, employers will no longer be required by the previous Workplace Safety Order to require masks in indoor common areas of the workplace. Employers may choose whether or not to require their employees to wear masks for operational reasons in certain settings.
Further, the Province has announced that Translink B.C. is free to decide whether or not they will continue to implement the mask requirement on public transportation within British Columbia. We anticipate an announcement by Translink B.C. in the near future.
Plans to Lift Proof of Vaccine Requirement
The B.C. government also announced that it plans to remove the proof of vaccination requirement on April 8, 2022. British Columbians will no longer be required to show their B.C. Vaccine Card proof of vaccination to access non-essential events and services.
Further, individual businesses and organizations can choose to continue requiring the B.C. Vaccine Card proof of vaccination from individuals upon entry.
Additionally, the requirement for students residing in student residence to be fully vaccinated under the Post-Secondary Institution Housing COVID-19 Preventative Measures Order is repealed.
It is important to note that visitors of long-term care facilities and acute health-care settings will still require proof of vaccination upon entry.
The following additional measures were announced during the press release held on Thursday March 10, 2022:
- overnight camps for children and youth no longer require the submission of a COVID-19 safety plan to a medical health officer; and
- the restrictions on the number of visitors to long-term care facilities will no longer be restricted (as long as visitors are fully vaccinated and screened).
If you have any questions regarding the impact of these changes on your workplace policies, please contact a member of our labour and employment team.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.