COVID-19 and Bylaw Enforcement

Notwithstanding the gravity of the crisis which British Columbia and the rest of the world is facing, local governments may find themselves dealing with businesses that choose to ignore the clear directions provided by Provincial public health officials.   While it is expected that Provincial authorities will take the lead on enforcing public health orders, local governments also have a number of enforcement tools at their disposal and may be better positioned to act quickly to protect their communities. For example, on March 19th the City of Delta revoked the business licence of a “hot yoga” studio which was making false claims, including that the heat of the yoga studio would kill the COVID-19 virus. In addition to revoking a business licence, a more direct and consequential remedy may be available through an injunction sought from the British Columbia Supreme Court.  As of March 18th the normal operations of the Court have been suspended save for urgent matters, but it is expected that urgent matters pertaining to the current crisis will be among the limited matters which the Courts will hear.  For more information contact Jeff Locke (jlocke@sms.bc.ca) or Bob Macquisten (rmacquisten@sms.bc.ca).