Hazelnut Meadows Community Park in Newton, Tuesday (March 24, 2020). The City of Surrey closed playgrounds, skateparks, playgrounds and courts but not sports fields on Monday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

COVID-19: Surrey working on plan for bylaw enforcement in light of Farnworth’s orders

Public Safety Minister issued ministerial orders Thursday, including use of municipal bylaw officers

The City of Surrey has yet to say if it will be using bylaw officers to enforce social-distancing rules.

However, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth issued a series of ministerial orders Thursday morning (March 26) as part of his powers under the Emergency Program Act. A release from the ministry says it’s “to ensure a co-ordinated reponse to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency.”

READ ALSO: B.C. bans resale of food, medical and cleaning supplies; limits buying quantities, March 26, 2020

Those ministerial orders include bylaw enforcement that would enable “municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.”

Amber Stowe, communications with the city, said Thursday (March 26), that Farnworth’s ministerial orders “just recently came out and everything is being worked out.”

“Things are changing quickly, right.”

The Now-Leader has asked the City of Surrey about its bylaw enforcement plans several in the past week.

READ ALSO: Surrey residents concerned about social-distancing rules not being followed, March 20, 2020

READ ALSO: City of Surrey to close all recreational facilities due to COVID-19 concern, March 15, 2020

Surrey residents continue to voice their concern about the lack of social distancing in the city, including a “full-blown” soccer game at a Surrey park, a party in a residential neighbourhood and alleged wedding celebrations at a Surrey business centre and a home.

The City of Surrey closed skateparks, playgrounds and courts, but not sports fields. The fields are closed for organized sports.

It was on March 16 that the city closed on recreation facilities indefinitely.

While several municipalities in B.C. have declared a local state of emergency, Farnworth’s latest ministerial orders have made those void. However, Vancouver’s local state of emergency will remain because it is governed by a different charter from other B.C. municipalities.

READ ALSO: Delta’s local state of emergency suspended in favour of provincial response to COVID-19, March 26, 2020

Previously, the City of Delta declared a local state of emergency on March 19. Since then, the city and Mayor George Harvie have issued a number of orders under the local state of emergency, including mandating local stores set aside time every day for seniors and others who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 to shop separate from from the general public, and store managers take steps to discourage overbuying of all goods and limit the quantity of “key items” that a single person may purchase in one day.

Delta will continue to go ahead with its bylaw amendments, allowing the city to ticket and fine people not following the provincial health officer’s orders. Final reading and adoption will be Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.

The city will also be setting up a phone line to report gatherings of people, and get COVID-19 information as well, for Monday morning. The Delta Police Department will also be starting active patrols of frequented spots.


“Many local governments, First Nations and partners have stepped up to make sure they have prepared to protect their communities from the impacts of COVID-19. Today’s measures will make sure communities are taking necessary steps, in co-ordination with the Province, to get ready should more action be required to combat COVID-19,” said Farnworth.

The Minister of Public Safety declared a provincial state of emergency on March 18, the day after the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency. The province has declared states of emergency in 1998, 2003, 2017 and 2018 – all related to wildfires.

In Farnworth’s March 18 announcement, he announced that municipal bylaw officers would be enable to be “e-deployed to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders and directives carrying fines of over $25,000 or jail, to be determined by the courts under the authority of the Public Health Act.”

– With files from James Smith



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

City of SurreyCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Santa Parade may be cancelled

Annual parade in Cloverdale has seen security costs skyrocket

‘The exposure is great’: Why this photo is a contest-winner for one Surrey adventurer

Nature photographer Eduardo Baena spends a lot of time in the wild

South Surrey hikers discover decades-old campsite hidden in Golden Ears Park

Group reconnects with original campers through social media, returns log book

Cloverdale food bank sees surge in demand over short period

Lower Mainland’s newest food bank serves Langley, Delta, Surrey, White Rock

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read