COVID-19 Updates

Posted: March 29, 2020

Other Emergency Preparedness Stories


COVID-19 Information for Residents

We understand that the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation is a cause of deep concern in our community. As the situation evolves, the District of Tofino will be assessing additional measures and is committed to communicating with the public.

Frequently Asked Questions Notice to Visitors | Information for Businesses

District updates will be posted to all social media channels Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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What is the District of Tofino doing?

The District of Tofino is actively monitoring information provided by Federal and Provincial agencies with regards to the spread and severity of COVID-19. As the District of Tofino routinely does for other large-scale emergency scenarios, a Response Plan has been developed to strengthen preparedness at the local level for COVID-19. 

The District’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been operating since March 6th, meaning that trained District staff  and agency representatives are actively planning for upcoming challenges, response and recovery.

As the lead agencies for British Columbia, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the BC Ministry of Health are closely monitoring the situation and will provide guidance to the public and local authorities.

Right now, the District is focused on the following main goals:

  • Ensuring continuity of essential District services;
  • Promoting awareness and information to the public;
  • Taking precautions for a safe and healthy workplace; and
  • Liaising with and supporting lead agencies.

The District of Tofino would like to assure community members that the health and safety of our residents and staff remains our utmost priority.

What Should the Public be doing? 

  • As much as possible, stay home.
  • Stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
  • Avoid contact with people who appear to be physically unwell.
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
  • Stay informed. 

We would like to thank everyone for taking steps to keep yourselves, your families, and our community safe. We know that this involves making difficult decisions about staying home, socially distancing from those you care about, as well as making very difficult business decisions.

COVID-19 F.A.Q.

This FAQ will be updated with new information as it comes available, or when we recognize a need for a new topic based on inquiries from the public. See contact information below to suggest new topics.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak that began in December, 2019.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

However, around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems are most at risk.

If you have symptoms or are otherwise at risk, use the online self assessment tool to determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

Support App & Self-Assessment Tool -  https://bc.thrive.health/

Which District Services and Facilities are Available?

The District of Tofino has had to make changes to some municipal services due to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, however many of our core functions continue to operate. 

We have implemented our COVID-19 Response Plan to ensure essential services continue to be provided. The maintainance of water and sanitary sewer systems, as well as water treatment continue at regular service levels.

Other Core Services Still Offered with Modifications Include: This is not an exhaustive list of District operations. Please check our Contacts Page for specific services and staff information.

  • Building Inspection: The District is committed to continuing to provide building inspection services so long as we are able to ensure the safety of our workers and the public. New procedures have been put in place to accept applications and payments. Learn More.
  • Council Meetings will continue Online. Please check our Meetings Page for instuctions on how to join an electronic meeting (Coming Soon).
  • Communications and Inquiries: Although our Offices are closed to the public, we are still here to help. Please contact municipal staff by phone or email. See Contacts.
  • Bylaw Enforcement: Bylaw Officers are actively monitoring and responding to complaints by phone and email. Bylaw Officers will report any infractions of the provincial Public Health Orders to Island Health for follow up. 
  • Business Licencing: Our staff continue to process applications and monitor compliance; please contact this department for details on inspections and processing. See Contacts.
  • Financial Services: The District of Tofino is reviewing the 2020 Budget and Financial Plan in light of Covid-19. Learn more on the Budget Page. Payments can be made by cheque, mailed to PO Box 9 or dropped into the office mail slot. 
  • Garbage and Recycling Collection by the ACRD: Curbside collection continues with the following caveats:
    • All garbage must be bagged; please ensure there is no loose garbage (used tissues, wipes, etc.) in your can.

    • There will be zero sorting of recycling at the curb. If the collection driver sees material in the recycling container that is not allowed – glass, film plastic, styrofoam or any garbage - the bin/container will be left at the curb.

As public health agencies are encouraging social distancing in order to lessen the potential spread of the virus, the District has taken the following precautionary steps:

  • All Municipal Offices are Closed to the Public without an Appointment. Staff are available during regular office hours via phone (250-725-3229) and email (www.tofino.ca/contact). Please make an appointment for any urgent, in-person business such as payments, submissions of building permits/plans.
  • District of Tofino public buildings are closed until further notice. This includes the Community Children’s Centre, Community Hall, all public washrooms, the Municipal Hall, and Public Works Yard.  Showers will remain operational for those rinsing surf equipment at the beach.
  • All recreation programs are suspended until further notice. 
  • The following outdoor recreation facilities are temporarily closed to the public:
    • Playgrounds (Village Green and Centennial Park)

    • Skate Park

    • Basketball Court

    • Tennis Court

To clarify, only these specific outdoor recreation facilities are now closed.  Areas that are closed will have signage and caution tape installed.  

Green spaces, beaches, trails and the multi-use path remain open for your enjoyment, however the public must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others outside of your household.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

The BC Ministry of Health has recently introduced the new BC COVID-19 Support app to complement their online self-assessment tool.  Both the online self-assessment tool and support app will allow you and your family to make informed decisions specific to your health.  Please use the self-assessment tool if you feel unwell or think you may have come into contact with someone infected by COVID-19. 

The Province has provided multiple assessment option for community members that include:

If you find that technology is a challenge, community members can also call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 or arranging to do a virtual visit with a physician or nurse.  It is vitally important that if you plan to speak with someone in person that you call ahead to arrange a time.

Remember, the best way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 is:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home as much as possible. Only go out for essential needs.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others outside of your household.
  • Use the online self-assessment tool and don’t go to the hospital for non-urgent care.

Learn more about symptoms and prevention of COVID-19 through the BCCDC – BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Where Can I Access Medical Care?

As always, Call 9-1-1 for ANY medical emergency.

Provincial Resources

COVID-19 Non-health related information and services - 7:30am-8pm, 7 days/week

  • Call: 1-888-COVID19 OR Text: 1-604-630-0300

General Health Questions, including COVID-19-related - 24hrs/day, 7 days/week

General Mental Health, Vancouver Island Crisis line – 24hrs/day, 7 days/week

  • Call: 1-888-494-3888

West Coast Medical Resources

Tofino General Hospital – Open 7 days week/24hrs a day. Always! Please call 250-725-4010 first if you are ill with respiratory symptoms and are coming to the hospital.

  • Emergency Room: Nursing and/or doctor assessment, depending on symptoms.
  • Lab: Hospital only, no routine blood work. Call 250-725-4006 ext. #5 if you need help with this decision.
  • Xray: Hospital M-F 9am-5pm, no routine xrays. Call 250-725-4010 ext. #64129 if you need help with this decision.
  • Physiotherapy: Phone consults if appropriate, in-person visit when necessary.

Tonquin Medical Clinic – Mon-Fri, 10:00am-4:30pm.Doctor telephone consult only, with exceptions

  • Call:  250-725-3282

Ucluelet Medical Centre – Tues-Friday, 10:00am – 4:30pm. Doctor telephone consult only, with exceptions

  • Call: 250-726-4443

Ahousaht Medical Clinic – Closed until further notice.

  • Can schedule telephone consult via Tonquin or Ucluelet Clinics.

First Nations Communities - NTC Nursing Hotline, Monday to Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm

  • Call: 250-735-0416 (Francine Gascoyne) or 250-720-1763 (Catherine Gislason)

Patients at Increased Risk

Elderly or complicated medical conditions – Existing Home & Community Care patients will continue to be followed in community by Island Health or NTC Nursing, community dependent. This may be via phone or in-person, depending on need. If you are concerned about yourself or a family member being medically vulnerable, self refer by calling 250-725-4007.

Seniors: Call 2-1-1 or visit http://www.bc211.ca/ for a BC provincial phone line that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials (ie grocery delivery) to volunteers in their community that are willing to help. 

Island Health Nurse – Newborn and vaccinations (Karyn Bernard), Mon-Fri, 9am – 4pm

  • Call: 250-725-4020, leave a message
How Do I Prepare for a Pandemic?

Be Prepared Not Scared

Tofitians are used to preparing themselves for emergencies like tsunamis and earthquakes, but in this unprecedented time, how do you prepare yourself for the impacts of Covid-19?

There are practical things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your household is asked to self-isolate.

Make a plan that includes:

  • Essential supplies (a few weeks' worth) on hand so you will not need to leave your home if you become ill.
    • Avoid panic buying. Tofino’s supply chain remains strong, so shopping once a week for necessary items is your best course of action.
    • Renew and refill your prescription medications by calling ahead to local Pharmacies.
  • Alternative arrangements in case you become ill or if you need to care for a sick family member. For example:
    • Have backup childcare in case you or your usual care provider become ill.
    • Stay in contact with loved ones via phone, text, email and social media.
    • Talk to your employer about working from home if possible.
  • Reduce your exposure by avoiding crowded places. For example:
    • Stay home when possible.
    • Elect one person to do grocery shopping for your household.
    • Keep two metres apart when in public.
What is 'Social Distancing'? Does it work?

What Tofitians Can Do to #FlattenTheCurve
What is Social Distancing?

The World Health Organization and higher levels of government have called for collective action to stop the spread of COVID-19. As Minister Adrian Dix has said, “It’s not too late to join the fight.”

The province has already implemented some ‘social distancing’ initiatives by closing schools and issuing orders to close bars and large gatherings, however there are things you can do right now to “flatten the curve” (slow the spread of the virus).

What is Social Distancing?

The best way to slow down the spread of this virus is for everyone — healthy, sick, young, old — to limit social contact as much as possible. This is called social distancing.

  • Social distancing means reducing contact with others.
  • Social distancing means keeping two metres apart when in public.
  • Social distancing means staying home and only going out for the essential needs like food or medicine.
  • Social distancing means working from home and helping your employees to either stay home or to work from home.

What it’s not:

  • Having your friends over for dinner or for coffee is not social distancing.
  • Arranging play dates for your children is also not social distancing.
  • Visiting friends or family in long-term care homes or hospital is not social distancing.
  • Stopping at a grocery store to stock up after travel is not social distancing.

Why? How does it Work?

Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. By slowing the spread of the virus, we can prevent our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed, which may prevent avoidable deaths and allow those who require care to access it.

Although older people and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable to the virus, young people are by no means immune and may spread the virus before they are symptomatic.

We recognize that social distancing measures are likely to have secondary consequences for individuals, families and businesses, such as loss of income, an elevated need for support services, and reduced availability of supports. The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available to help anyone who is experiencing anxiety, or requires support. Visit https://www.vicrisis.ca/, text 250-800-3806, or phone 1 888-494-3888.

View and Print the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines for Social Distancing: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/diseases-conditions/social-distancing-infograph/social-distancing-infograph-eng.pdf

Mental Health Resources for Tofino

Resources for coping with increased stress and anxiety.

Managing stress and anxiety at the best of times can be challenging for anyone.  Below are valuable resources that you and your family, or house group can access to promote a healthy mental and physical lifestyle.

 Each resource below is categorized into sections to help you find what you need quickly and includes a mixture of both in-person and online tools. 

*Local Resources

Resources for coping with increased stress and anxiety

Mental Health

Anxiety Canada

General information about anxiety
Download PDF resources

https://www.anxietycanada.com/

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

General information about mental health and community resources. They have also created a COVID-19 Information section.

https://cmha.ca/
COVID Info  

Centre for Addiction and Mental health

Information about mental health, substance use, scientific research, and education

https://www.camh.ca/

* West Coast Mental Health & Substance Use (Island Health

Currently phone support is available with a mental health clinician
8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday

Self refer by calling
(250) 726-1282

*NTC Counselling

Teechuktl Counselling (currently by phone for existing clients)

https://nuuchahnulth.org/node/216

*Pacific Rim Hospice

Hospice is offering Telephone Counselling with Tara Souch, Registered Clinical Counsellor – 30 minute check ins (12pm-6pm appointments available) for ANYONE experiencing anxiety or distress over COVID-19.  There is no cost for this service.   

Info and to book an appointment:
https://tarasouch.janeapp.com/

*Westcoast Community Resource Society

Services available via phone, email, or internet.  The transition House will remain open and available to women in need:

www.wccrs.ca
Phone: (250) 726-2343
After-hours emergency: (250) 726-2020

COVID-19 Specific

BC Ministry of Health

Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety & Depression

BC Ministry of Health

BC CDC

BC Centre for Disease Control

www.bccdc.ca

FACE COVID Resource

Coping resource designed by Russ Harris (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

FACE COVID

Psychology Tools

Free guide to living with worry and anxiety amongst global uncertainty

Worry & Anxiety  

Just Listening

Emotional distress about COVID-19 is not a mental illness, it is a natural response to a stressful situation. Empathetic listening can lessen the emotional distress.

https://www.justlistening.com.au/

 

Mindfulness and Relaxation Resources

Palouse Mindfulness Course

A free online self-paced course on mindfulness-based stress reduction

https://palousemindfulness.com/

Insight Timer

A free app for android, iPhone, or desktop computer with music, meditations, and courses on managing stress, anxiety, sleep, pain, etc. (in app purchases, but most content is free)

https://insighttimer.com/

Headspace

Free for beginners (in app purchases afterwards). Headspace helps you start a mindfulness practice

https://www.headspace.com/

Calm

Free app for meditation and sleep

https://www.calm.com/

Meditations on Loving Kindness & Compassion

Instructions on how to relax and create a feeling of love and compassion for yourself and others.

loving kindness

4-7-8 Breathing Technique

Details on a breathing technique to help with sleep/insomnia

478 breathing

Self-Compassion

Free self-compassion guided meditations, exercises, and research

https://self-compassion.org/

Mindful Self Compassion Practices for COVID

Mindful self-compassion practices and resources (Kristin Neff & Chris Germer)

mindful self compassion

Self Nourishment Course

Free online modules on gratitude, self compassion, and staying well

PSR

 

Ways to reach out from home

7 cups

Online access to empathetic listeners, guidance on self-help, and online therapy starting at $150/month

https://www.7cups.com/

*Vancouver Island Crisis Society

Crisis line 1(888) 494-3888
Crisis text (250) 800-3806

https://www.vicrisis.ca/

*Kuu-us Crisis Line Society

Adults/Elders (250) 723-4050
Child/youth (250) 723-4050

https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.ca/

*Local Resource Directory

West Coast health resources and contact information

http://www.coastalfamilyresources.ca/resources

Health benefits

If you have health benefits you may be eligible for counselling (see if this can be done online or by phone)

Check with your employer/benefits provider

AA Meetings

AA meetings are being held by phone or video meeting every day at noon and 7:30pm

Call: (778) 907-2071
Meeting ID: 419-585-9765

Ways to keep busy

Down Dog Yoga App

Yoga, HIIT, Barre, and other workouts. Available for free for healthcare professionals, students, and teachers until July

https://www.downdogapp.com/

Virtual Museum Tours

A list of 10 museums that offer free virtual tours

https://www.virtualiteach.com/post/2017/08/20/10-amazing-virtual-museum-tours

Concerts

A variety of musicians are hosting live streamed concerts. Here’s a central list!

https://www.socialdistancingfestival.com/live-streams

 

Podcasts

On Being

Includes a listening care package for uncertain times link 

Search for these titles wherever you stream your podcasts (apple music, Spotify etc.)

Poetry Unbound

Readings and reflections on poetry and the human spirit

Invisibilia

“Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.”

All in the mind

Exploration of mind, brain, and behaviour.  All in the Mind

I'm a Renter / Landlord. Where Can I Find Resources for My Situation?

Support for Renters and Landlords During COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each and every one of us, and feeling insecure about your living situation or rental income can add even more stress to an already uncertain time. The Province of British Columbia has introduced temporary measures to help keep people housed and healthy. 

These immediate measures include:

  • The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.
  • Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
  • Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
  • Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.
  • Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
  • Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
  • Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

In addition to the provincial measures being taken, the District of Tofino would like to provide tenants and landlords with additional resources to explore during this time. 

These include: 

  • TRAC – Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre - A few months ago, TRAC hosted a Tenant Education Workshop here in Tofino.  Part 1 and Part 2 of the workshop can be found through @Josie.Osborne.Tofino Facebook page.  Other common tenant resources can be found directly through the TRAC webpage.
  • LandlordBC – Available to support landlords with questions regarding tenancy related issues.

The full provincial release can be found on the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing webpage.

Is the District Considering Changes to the 2020 Budget in Light of COVID-19?

No matter who you are in Tofino, we understand that COVID-19 is having a real impact on your life.

Faced with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, District of Tofino Council and staff will be reviewing our draft 2020-2024 Financial Plan in recognition of these extraordinary times.  Things have changed significantly since our last budget open house on February 18th, and the District will be reconsidering our draft financial plans over the coming weeks. The Financial Plan and Tax Rates Bylaws are currently required to be adopted by May 15, 2020. 

To support our community in the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation, the District is extending the payment due date for Quarter 1 2020 utility bills. 

Many of you have asked about the payment of upcoming utility bills. Utility bills will be distributed the week of April 20th, and the District will be extending the payment due date from 30 days to 90 days. Late payment penalties will be added to utility accounts after the 90 days has passed. 
 
What about property taxes? 
 
We understand that many property owners have questions about the potential deferral or reduction of property taxes. 
 
Property tax collection and due dates are mandated by Provincial legislation, meaning that individual local governments cannot alter them. Tofino’s Mayor and Council, along with almost every other municipality in BC, have been asking the Province for further information on property tax deferrals or other tools that will help British Columbians. We have been assured that the Minister of Finance and her staff are actively discussing this topic, although no timeline for updates has yet been provided.  

For the business sector, the Provincial Government has created a webpage for Provincial Tax Changes that have been announced to date, including a reduction of school taxes for Property Classes 4, 5, and 6. 

Recreation Facility Grant Denial 

The District’s current Financial Plan includes the development of an Indoor Recreation Facility, dependent on substantial funding (73.33%) from the provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), with the balance to be funded by taxation (borrowing).  

Unfortunately, the District has recently been informed that the application to the ICIP was not successful. 

During the December and February budget open houses, we asked the community to share your thoughts about how the District should proceed should the grant application be unsuccessful. In light of the recent denial, District of Tofino Council and staff will reconsider how this project fits into the District’s Financial Plan during our upcoming budget meetings, and discuss the best ways to provide recreation opportunities for residents. 

Stay Tuned for More Information About the District Budget Review 

In the coming weeks, Council will be discussing significant changes to 2020 operations and projects to be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic, remain resilient, and prioritize essential services and projects. These changes will impact the budget and property taxation, and we remain committed to communicating regularly with the community about any communication from the Province, changes to the District budget, or impacts to District services.

The District of Tofino will update the budget webpage at www.tofino.ca/budget as information changes and becomes available.  

What are the New Rules at the Tofino Co-op?

 New Measures at the Tofino Co-op
Grocery Store Take Steps to Promote Social Distancing

The community has shown tremendous support for Co-op workers and, in response, they’ve shared with us their latest plans to keep staff and shoppers safe.

What’s New?

  • Hours: 8:30-6:00 p.m. daily with temporary closures 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. The store will be closed at mid-day to make sure tills and store fixtures are sanitized often and to restock because ‘panic-buying’ can increase when customers see empty shelves.
  • Seniors, Immune Compromised and First Responders only from 8:30-10:00 am each morning. Please allow our vulnerable populations time to shop on their own.
  • 35 customers in store at a time. This measure is to promote healthy social distancing, not due to scarcity. Tofino’s food supply chain is strong, however certain items may be temporarily out of stock (like some cleaning products).
  • 35 people in the Co-op is not unusual and there may be little need for line-ups, however:
  • There will be markings on the ground outside at 2 metre distances.
  • Bring an umbrella if raining, there is no shelter!
  • Front of the store is for Accessible Parking only (elders, differently abled), otherwise parking is not permitted along First Street adjacent to the store entrance.
  • Back door (near the deli) will be closed, three tills will be open at the front of store.
  • Reserving the right to limit quantities. Restrictions or limits may be put in place as needed.
  • Don’t bring your re-usable bag or mug.
    • As unnatural as it may feel, leave your reusable bags and mugs at home for now.
    • The Co-op will supply paper bags, boxes, and disposable cups.
  • If possible, avoid the use of cash – tapping is preferable.

Please continue to respect and thank our Co-op staff for all their hard work and dedication. Front-line workers are proud to be serving our community, and your recognition and support is appreciated!

What Businesses are Open in Tofino?

Tourism Tofino is compiling a dynamic and growing list of business measures and changes in response to COVID-19.

These may include temporary measures, suspensions in activity, and temporary closures. Special measures include additional cleaning and other actions (please contact the business for more details).

Click Here to visit the list.

What is an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)?


In the event of an emergency or disaster, the District of Tofino may activate the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).  An EOC is a designated place/facility where a team of trained municipal staff and personnel from other relevant agencies gather to support the activities of an emergency. Its main objective is to provide support for the health and safety of responders and the community; protect lives, property, and the environment; and to reduce economic and social losses.  

An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated by a local government follows the provincial requirements of the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS).  Activation of an EOC can be in response to natural or manmade disasters, disease outbreaks, and other public health and safety emergencies.

Right now, the objectives of Tofino’s EOC are:

  1. To provide support for the health and safety of responders and the community;
    • Ex. procuring equipment & facilities, ensuring sufficient personnel in critical roles.
       
  2. To provide accurate and timely information to the public;
    • Ex. Social media updates and helping essential services prepare operational plans.
       
  3. To plan for further measures or emergencies that may occur during the pandemic.
    • Ex. What if we had an earthquake now? How can we start planning for recovery?

There are three different levels of Tofino's EOC activation, depending on the scope and scale of the event.  As an event progresses, the activation phase is reviewed to effectively support response operations as required. 

Level One 

Small event, one site, two or more agencies involved, potential threat of local flood, severe storm, interface fire 

Level Two 

Moderate event, two or more sites, several agencies involved, limited evacuations, some resources / support required 

Level Three 

Major event, multiple sites, regional disaster, multiple agencies involved, extensive evacuations, resources / support required 

The EOC does not command or control on-scene response efforts, but does carry out important support functions through: 

  • Collecting, evaluating and disseminating information to the public; 

  • Analyzing jurisdictional impacts and setting priority actions; 

  • Managing requests, procurement and utilization of resources; 

  • Coordinating and liaising with federal, provincial and other local governments as well as other agencies involved in the response; 

  • Planning for the continuance of government. 

If an emergency is very large, two or more EOCs can be established, and if the emergency occurs in an unorganized area - or as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, across a geographical region encompassing a number of municipalities within British Columbia - then a Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC) may be established to provide support and coordination.  

District of Tofino staff and volunteers regularly test the activation, set-up, and operation of the EOC to ensure its constant readiness and effectiveness. 
 
If you would like to learn more about becoming a key member of the Emergency Support Services team by volunteering, please contact: 

Keith Orchiston 
District of Tofino Emergency Program Coordinator 
(E) korchiston@tofino.ca 
(T) 250-725-3229 

What are Provincial Orders?

On March 27th, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act. These orders relate to actions that the Provincial government is taking to ensure a coordinated response to COVID-19 across BC, instead of a ‘patchwork’ of local bylaws, states of emergency, and decisions.  

A number of these orders affect the operations of local governments, and the District of Tofino is currently reviewing them in detail and looking forward to further details which may impact our local response.

These new orders are in addition to those that have been issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, under the Public Health Act, which relate to mass gatherings (March 16, 2020), travelers returning home from outside Canada (March 17, 2020), restaurants, breweries and liquor stores (March 20, 2020) and others.

Quick Facts about Provincial Orders:

Emergency Program Act (orders issued by Hon. Mike Farnworth)

  • This Act provides the legislative framework to manage disasters and emergencies in B.C.
  • Declaring a state of emergency under this Act allowed the Province to implement any provincial emergency measures required with access to land and human resources that may be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency. This includes securing critical supply chains and infrastructure necessary in a response.

Public Health Act (orders Issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry)

  • This Act provides a framework for managing current and emerging public health issues, including communicable disease prevention and control, health promotion and protection. It gives the minister of health and public health officials broad powers to issue orders necessary to respond to public health emergencies.
  • The Public Health Act is narrower than the Emergency Program Act, as it addresses health impacts for citizens rather than impacts on businesses, the environment or infrastructure.

See the full Provincial Government Release from March 27, 2020.

Summary of New Orders under the Emergency Program Act

See the link above for a full list of orders, which includes the following:

Maintaining the Supply Chain for Essential Goods and Services

  • A new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit has been established to take a more active role in coordinating essential goods and services across the province.

Protecting Consumers

  • The Province has prohibited the resale of essential supplies and will work with retailers and industry to restrict quantities of certain items purchased at point of sale to make sure there is enough for those who need them.

Proactive Education by Local Bylaw Officers

  • This order provides no new authority to Bylaw Officers to enforce orders under the Public Health Act (see above), which still rests with provincial health inspectors. However, Bylaw Enforcement Officers will now proactively educate the public about these orders, and inform health officials of any contraventions.

Emergency Response and Recovery Co-ordination with Local Governments

  • All local states of emergency declared by local governments, other than the city of Vancouver, have been suspended. The District of Tofino had not declared a state of local emergency.
  • Local governments have been given the ability to hold more flexible meetings (i.e. electronic meetings) and the ability to expedite decisions. The District of Tofino is working quickly to set up electronic meeting software for upcoming Council meetings.

Protecting Renters and Vulnerable Populations

  • Evictions due to loss of income related to COVID-19 that would otherwise be allowed under the Residential Tenancy Act are now prevented or suspended.
  • Regulatory and administrative barriers are being removed to make it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.

Essential Services

The District of Tofino does not determine what is, or is not, an “Essential Service”. In their March 27th release, the Province identified a list of “Essential Services” which are necessary to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. The District of Tofino will continue to work with Ministries to support and understand the implications of this list.

What Are the Rules for Workers Transiting to/from the Region (i.e. Construction/Aquaculture/Fisheries)?

The District of Tofino is aware of community concerns about industrial operations continuing to transport workers from outside of the region to the West Coast. We also recognize that travel in and out of the region is necessary for the continued operation of some essential services, including the maintenance of supply chains for food, equipment, and fuel.

What are Essential Services?

In consultation with other government ministries and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Emergency Management BC recently issued a list of  essential services in British Columbia during COVID-19 pandemic. These are daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians come to rely on in their daily lives, and include several industrial activities that continue to operate in Tofino and the West Coast region such as construction, fisheries, and aquaculture.

To understand the precautions and measures in place to keep workers and community members safe, the District of Tofino has been in contact with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Transportation and their contractors, Parks Canada, aquaculture and fish processing plants, and the Tofino Harbour Authority.

While these businesses continue to operate, the Province has been clear that essential services must follow the orders and guidance provided by the PHO to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

To that end, the Province has given specific guidance to construction sites and camp workers to minimize risks to communities and workers.

The District of Tofino continues to ask ALL individuals to refrain from non-essential travel in or out of the region, such as day-trips and tourism. Please heed the advice of medical staff and community leaders and #StayHome.

What Happened to the Daily 11 a.m. Updates?

Instead of daily updates to the public, we have moved to Monday, Wednesday and Friday information bulletins which will coincide with the Mayor's appearance on Tuff City radio (90.1 FM in Tofino). The above FAQ represents the topics we've covered so far, and we will continue to add information and update the topics as necessary.

We hope that this new approach will reduce the potential for 'information overload' on the public, while still providing a comprehensive, local COVID-19 resource for Tofino residents. To see full versions of past updates, click the links below.

See PDF of Update #15 - Provincial Orders

See PDF of Update #14 - Mental Health

See PDF of Update #13 - District Reviewing 2020 Budget

See PDF of Update #12 - Support for Renters and Landlords

See PDF of Update #11 -  BC COVID-19 Online Self-Assessment + App

See PDF of Update #10 - Outdoor Recreation Facilities Closed

See PDF of Update #9 - New Measures at the Tofino Co-op

See PDF of Update #8 - Mayors Osborne and Noel on Tuff City Radio

See PDF of Update #7 - Supporting the Tofino Co-op

See PDF of Update #6 - #BePreparedNotScared

See PDF of Update #5 - What Tofitians Can Do to #FlattenTheCurve (Social Distancing)

See PDF of Update #4 - Request to Valued Visitors

Updates #1, #2, and #3 related to ongoing changes to municipal services. Up-to-date information is now found in the Frequently Asked Questions above about District operations. 


Important Links to Find More Information:

The public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available and residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date by regularly visiting these Federal and Provincial links:


Contact:

Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann
Information Officer
District of Tofino Emergency Operations Centre
information@eoctofino.ca