Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive. Police will be setting up CounterAttack roadchecks across the province while taking necessary pandemic-related safety precautions to get impaired drivers off our roads.
With many restaurants and pubs reopening and Canada Day this week, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if your activities involve alcohol.
Every year, on average, 68 people are killed as a result of impaired driving, with 40 per cent of those deaths happening in the summer.*
During the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased as more people were drinking at home. To encourage physical distancing and outdoor socialization, some municipalities are allowing alcohol consumption in parks and at beaches. Whether you’re drinking at home or out with friends, please be responsible and don’t drive.
While much progress has been made, impaired driving remains the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and in the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.
If you’re hosting a celebration this summer (remember to keep it within Provincial Health Officer guidelines) and plan to serve alcohol, get an ICBC special event permit kit for free on icbc.com. It’s also available when you apply for an event liquor permit at BCLiquorStores.com. The kits include items to encourage designated drivers to stay sober and for guests to find a safe ride home.
ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.
Bowinn Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale
“We’ve made significant progress in making our streets safer from impaired driving over the past forty years, but too many people are still losing their lives. CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs, and make our roads safer for British Columbians.”
Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“Summer is here and so are Summer CounterAttack campaigns, so more police will be on B.C. roads checking for impaired drivers. If your plan includes consuming alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead: get a ride home with a friend, hail a taxi, or take the bus. There is no excuse – including COVID-19 – for driving under the influence, and our priority is to prevent and catch drivers who put themselves and their community in danger. Injuries and deaths from impaired driving are completely preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”
Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO
“When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and drive smart. If you plan to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
On average, 16 people are killed and 830 injured in 1,500 impaired driving related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.
On average, 11 people are killed and 320 injured in 600 impaired driving related crashes on Vancouver Island every year.
On average, 22 people are killed and 390 injured in 660 impaired driving related crashes in the Southern Interior every year.
On average, 20 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year.
Canada Day statistics**:
Each year on Canada Day, one person is killed and 190 injured in 710 crashes in B.C.
Each year 130 people are injured in 430 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.
Each year 24 people are injured in 110 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.
Each year 24 people are injured in 120 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.
Each year seven people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.
Lower Mainland media are invited to attend evening CounterAttack roadchecks this weekend in Vancouver. Media can contact VPD Sgt Rob Gough at 778-839-0294 for July 3 details and VPD Sgt Brian Trklja at 604-760-8104 for July 4 details. Please call after 9pm that day to confirm location.
Notes about the data:
*Injuries and crashes are police data, five-year average 2015 to 2019. Fatal victim counts are police data, five-year average 2014 to 2018. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.
**Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Based on five-year average. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2015 to 2019) and fatal victims from police data (2014 to 2018).
The Government of British Columbia says it is taking action to help stratas better mitigate the rising costs of insurance.
Actions include bringing more transparency to the strata insurance industry, closing loopholes related to depreciation reports, ending referral fees paid to property managers and giving strata owners and corporations the tools they need to do their part, a Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing media release stated.
“The rising cost of strata insurance is a major financial pressure facing thousands of British Columbians during an already challenging time,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “This is an extremely complex issue playing out in the private insurance industry, but that doesn’t lessen our government’s commitment to doing what we can to make the situation better. Everyone has a role to play in returning the market to balance and today our government is taking a first step, with the understanding that we will take further action as needed.”
Through amendments to the Strata Property Act and Financial Institutions Act, as well as associated regulatory changes, the government will:
* end the practice of referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and property managers or other third parties;
* set out clear guidelines for what strata corporations are required to insure to help strata councils make informed decisions on their insurance policies;
* require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, provide notice of any policy changes, including increasing deductibles, and allow stratas to use their contingency reserve fund when necessary to pay for unexpected premium increases; and
* protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits from strata corporations if the owner was legally responsible for a loss or damage, but through no fault of their own.
The legislation also paves the way for the government to make further regulatory changes to:
* identify when stratas are not required to get full insurance coverage;
* strengthen depreciation reporting requirements, including limiting the ability to use existing loopholes in the legislation to avoid completing depreciation reports;
* change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation’s contingency reserve fund;
* require brokers to disclose the amount of their commission, which has been reported to be at times in excess of 20%; and
* strengthen notification requirements to strata corporations of changes to insurance coverage and costs, or an intent not to renew.
These regulatory changes will be made after further consultation with strata community stakeholders.
“We understand the difficulty people living in stratas face when they experience a large increase in insurance costs or have challenges finding insurance at all,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This legislation is a first step to help strata corporations now as we continue to work on this complex issue. I look forward to the BC Financial Services Authority’s final report in the fall, which will help identify further actions government can take to support people living in strata properties.”
Government’s actions were guided in part by input from key stakeholders, including Condominium Home Owners Association of BC; Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association; Insurance Brokers Association of BC; Insurance Bureau of Canada; Insurance Council of BC; Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate; Real Estate Council of BC; Mortgage Brokers Association of BC; BC Real Estate Association; and the interim report of the BC Financial Services Authority.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Finance will also review the final report from BC Financial Services Authority in the fall to determine what further changes the government can make to help lower strata insurance costs for people.
Over 1.5 million people live in strata housing in B.C.
At the direction of the minister of Finance, the BC Financial Services Authority released its interim report on the rising cost of strata insurance in British Columbia on June 16, with a final report expected in fall 2020.
The report found that premiums have risen by approximately 40% throughout the province on a year-over-year basis, with deductibles experiencing up to triple-digit increases over the same period.
The BCFSA is the regulator responsible for the private sector insurance industry in British Columbia.
Edited for ILSTV
June 16, 2020
With warmer weather upon us, more riders will be hitting the road. Summer is also the time when the majority of motorcycle crashes occur. In fact, on average, seven motorcyclists are injured every day in July and August. That’s why ICBC is urging everyone to expect more riders on the road and to share the roads safely with them.
On average, 1,600 motorcyclists are injured and 37 are killed in 2,500 crashes every year in B.C.
Motorcyclists can be difficult to see – especially if you’re not actively looking for them. The most common contributing factors police assign to drivers who hit motorcyclists are distracted or inattentive driving and failing to yield the right-of-way.
It’s important that both drivers and riders practice safe driving to keep our communities safe. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving a vehicle, we all need to do our part to prevent crashes and avoid putting additional pressure on first responders and medical resources.
Tips for drivers:
Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road.
Scan intersections and look for motorcycles. When turning left, look carefully for oncoming motorcycles.
Look for motorcycles before changing lanes. Due to their smaller profile, motorcycles can be harder to see, and fit more easily into your vehicle’s blind spots.
Make a game of looking for motorcycles while you drive. Have each person in your vehicle guess how many riders you’ll see during the drive and then count them as you go. It’s a great way train yourself, and your passengers, to look for motorcyclists.
Give lots of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle.
Tips for riders:
Get training – whether it’s in preparation for getting a licence, or to refresh your skills.
Practice, practice, practice – find an empty parking lot, set up cones, and practice your turning, low-speed manoeuvres, and emergency braking skills, so they’ll be second nature when you need them on the road.
Don’t ride more bike than you can handle. Choose a motorcycle that is a fit for your experience and skill ability. It’s important to be familiar with the handling characteristics of your ride and be able to safely manage it.
Choose to wear safety gear designed for riding, especially gear that not only protects you from the road, but also gives you the best chance of being seen. Bright colours and reflective materials are best.
Protect yourself from serious injury by always wearing a helmet that meets or exceeds legal requirements. Full face helmets offer the best protection. At a minimum, look for a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards.
If you’re interested in getting your motorcycle licence, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased and you can now book an appointment for your knowledge test and motorcycle skills testing.
If your learner’s licence (class 6L) expired on or after March 17, then your first requalification test fee of $15 will be waived. If you are unsuccessful, you will need to book another appointment to reattempt the test. Regular fees will apply.
Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com and the latest information on road test bookings at icbc.com/covid-19.
In the Lower Mainland, 800 motorcyclists were injured in 1,300 crashes in 2018. On average, 13 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.
On Vancouver Island, 330 motorcyclists were injured in 500 crashes in 2018. On average, seven motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.
In the Southern Interior, 300 motorcyclists were injured in 380 crashes in 2018. On average, 14 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.
In the North Central region, 47 motorcyclists were injured in 57 crashes in 2018. On average, four motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.
*Motorcyclist incident and injuries in B.C. based on ICBC claims data (2018). Includes incidents in parking lots and incidents involving parked vehicles; and excludes crashes involving out of province vehicles.
Motorcyclist fatalities in B.C. based on police-reported data (2014-2018). Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters, mopeds and trikes).
In line with B.C.’s Restart Plan, ICBC is now moving forward with a phased approach to offering in-person driver licensing services. Commercial road tests (Class 1 – 4) can resume next week, and will be by appointment only.
Starting June 11, customers wishing to obtain a commercial licence can call 1-800-950-1498 to book an appointment. We ask customers for their patience as we anticipate high call volumes. Priority appointments will initially be provided to customers who had their commercial road test appointments cancelled between March 17th and March 30th.
The plan for resuming road tests is focused on the health and safety of our employees and customers, aligned with the guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC, and developed in consultation with our employees and MoveUP.
Customers are asked to arrive on-time for their appointment with the required identification and ensure the interior of their vehicle is clean. Upon arrival, they will be asked a series of health screening questions and provided a mandatory medical-grade mask to wear for the duration of the road test.
Driver examiners will continue to conduct road tests from inside the customer’s vehicle to ensure the examiner is able to fully assess the road test and to take control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. Driver examiners will be provided the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which can include a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers.
To date, ICBC has secured sufficient PPE for this initial phase. ICBC is planning to expand the availability of road tests to other classes of licences as soon as possible. The timing of that expansion will be dependent on the successful roll-out of this initial phase and our continued ability to secure sufficient PPE for our employees and customers.
Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s President and CEO
“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible. Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”
Dave Earle, BC Trucking Association President and CEO
“ICBC’s plan prioritizes the safety of our members and allows us to continue our critical role in helping families and organizations across the province by delivering goods and services during these challenging times.”
04 June 2020
The excerpted article was written
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
As BC begins Phase 2 of its Restart Plan, the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC (“WSBC”) have published the following orders, guidance and resources relevant to employers.
Orders by the Provincial Health Officer
On May 14, 2020, Dr. Henry issued an order cancelling her earlier April 16, 2020 order that operators close all personal service establishments and stop providing personal services in any location. Personal service establishments may open effective May 19, 2020.
On May 14, 2020, Dr. Henry enacted an order regarding workplace safety plans (the “COVID-19 Safety Plans“). Under the order, an employer must post a copy of its COVID-19 Safety Plan on its website, if it has one, and at all of its workplaces so that it may be reviewed by workers, individuals who attend the workplace and members of the public. On request, an employer must also provide a copy of its COVID-19 Safety Plan to a health officer or a WSBC officer.
On May 15, 2020, Dr. Henry issued an order allowing restaurants and bars to open subject to conditions, including implementing physical distancing measures. Patrons must be able to maintain a distance of two metres from staff as well as one another, unless they are in the same party. Further, establishments cannot exceed 50 percent of their usual capacity of patrons present at one time, and they cannot hold events that include more than 50 people. If practicable, establishments must retain contact information for one member of every party of patrons for thirty days in the event that the medical health officer needs it for contact tracing. Finally, nightclubs must remain closed. The order came into effect on May 19, 2020.
The Provincial Health Officer may take enforcement action against any party that violates these orders under Part 4, Division 6 of the Public Health Act.
The BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control recently published guidance for employers and workers in various sectors, including natural resources, farming and hotels.
The guidance for natural resource sector work camps includes conducting a COVID-19 workplace risk assessment for field operations, worker education, increased hygiene and cleaning practices, physical distancing, transportation for workers, guidance for workers while working, guidance for workers during breaks or while in communal spaces, guidance for situations where maintaining physical distance of two metres is difficult, guidance on handling tools and equipment, guidance on COVID-19 and worker accommodation, information regarding First Nations and First Nations Health Centres, physical distancing and local communities, information about face masks, and what employers must do to monitor worker health.
The guidance for farms and farm workers includes conducting a COVID-19 workplace risk assessment for the farm operation, worker education, guidance for training workers and employers on hygiene, guidance for increased hygiene, guidance for increased cleaning, physical distancing, transportation for workers, guidance for workers while working, guidance for workers during breaks or while in communal spaces, guidance for situations where maintaining physical distance of two metres is difficult, guidance on handling tools and equipment, guidance on COVID-19 hygiene and worker accommodation, information regarding First Nations and First Nations Health Centres, physical distancing and local communities, information about face masks, and what employers must do to monitor worker health. The guidance acknowledges that physical distancing between farm workers may be difficult in certain situations. Where workers are required to work together in close proximity to complete tasks, employers should form work pods (of six or fewer workers, if possible) to limit close contact within a small group. Similarly, where workers are required to travel together in vehicles to the work site, workers must travel in designated vehicles with their work pod and frequently clean and disinfect vehicles.
Guidance for the hotel sector covers general cleaning, housekeeping and laundry, waste management, food and beverage services, spas and salons, pools, fitness centres and playgrounds, staff health, and communication, signage and posters.
WSBC Guidance and Resources
WSBC has recently issued guidance relevant to Phase 2, including about COVID-19 Safety Plans, controlling exposure of the virus to workers, and new communication and training requirements.
COVID-19 Safety Plans
Employers must involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees and supervisors when creating protocols for their workplace. WSBC has published a six-step process to help employers create their COVID-19 Safety Plan. The WSBC template is a fillable PDF that employers can use to develop their policies, guidelines and procedures. Employers are not required to have a formal plan in place prior to beginning operations, but are expected to develop their COVID-19 Safety Plan while taking steps to protect their workers’ safety. WSBC will consider enforcement measures if employers fail to take measures to protect workers from COVID-19.
Employers should develop policies on who can be at the workplace, including policies on sick workers and recent travel. Employers do not have to implement health monitoring, such as temperatures checks or medical questionnaires, and should be aware of privacy issues if they choose to collect potentially sensitive medical information. WSBC notes that wearing masks is not mandatory for workers outside healthcare workplaces, and that masks and other personal protective equipment (“PPE”) should not be used as the only control measure. Instead, employers should offer the following types of protection, listed in order of greatest efficacy: i) eliminate risks (i.e. by limiting the number of workers at any one time, and enforce physical distancing), ii) implement engineering controls (i.e. installing barriers such as Plexiglas to separate people), iii) establish administrative controls (i.e. cleaning protocols) and iv) supply PPE such as non-medical masks.
Communication and Training
Employers should provide information to workers describing how they are managing COVID-19, including COVID-19 symptoms and a reminder not to go to work if workers have them, occupancy limits in common areas and other physical distancing measures, how specific tasks have been changed to prevent the potential spread of the virus, and instructions about hygiene. Employers are also responsible for training workers in tasks that they have changed as part of their COVID-19 Safety Plan, such as limits on the number of people in certain areas of the workplace and cleaning expectations for common areas and equipment. Where workplaces interface with customers, employers should consider adding signage, floor markings and other directions to ensure customers are maintaining physical distance from workers.
VANCOUVER _ Fans of car-sharing services in British Columbia are about to get another option within weeks of the closure of two other car-share businesses in the province.
Turo, which describes itself as the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing platform, says it is preparing for “imminent expansion” into B.C.
A statement from the company says it has secured coverage from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. in advance of its launch but doesn’t say when its platform will be available.
Turo’s announcement follows cancellation of Boston-based Zipcar in Vancouver and Victoria on May 1 and closure of Share Now, formerly Car2Go, across North America earlier this year.
Turo has been operating in several other provinces since 2016 and says it has 850,000 members and 35,000 cars in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
Users can book cars owned by Turo members, which the company says will “put Canada’s 23 million vehicles to better use.”
The company says participating car owners earn an average of $620 a month in regions where the program is already operating.
When Zipcar announced its departure, the company said the “complexities” of operating in B.C., including local insurance regulations, were behind its decision.
Cedric Mathieu, vice president and head of Turo’s Canadian operations says it’s time B.C. enjoyed the benefits of peer-to-peer car-sharing that have been available in four other provinces for four years.
“With the recent exit of car-sharing platforms from B.C. we’re happy to step in and answer the demand with a car-sharing model that makes more economical and environmental sense and that does not inflict additional pressure on cities’ parking infrastructures,” Mathieu says in the statement.
In addition to what Turo says is a comprehensive insurance package reached with the provincial insurer and included in every reservation, the company says it carries out extensive screenings of would-be renters and offers round-the-clock roadside assistance.
It has also implemented new policies linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at ensuring the safety of renters and owners through enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
Turo says information about its launch and details for those interested in becoming car hosts will be posted on the Turo app or at turo.com.
This story by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020