Violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour

By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and gatherings are suspended, unless they have an exemption. People and businesses can be issued a violation ticket for non-compliance. 

Last updated: May 5, 2021

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Violation tickets for individuals

Travelling between regions

Subject to a $575 violation ticket if you:

  • Travel from one region to another for non-essential reasons

Subject to a $230 violation ticket if you:

  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer who is enforcing the order
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour in relation to the order

Review the EPA order – Travel Restrictions

Mask requirements in public indoor settings

Subject to a $230 violation ticket if you:

  • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour in relation to the face coverings order

On a party bus or limousine

Subject to a $230 violation ticket if you:

At an event or gathering

Subject to a $575 violation ticket if you:

  • Attend a non-compliant event or gathering
  • Encourage other people to attend a gathering or event unless it has an exemption

Subject to a $230 violation ticket if you:

  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave or disperse from the event or gathering
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour in relation to the order

At a restaurant or bar

Subject to a $230 violation ticket if you:

Violation tickets for temporarily prohibited or restricted businesses

$2,300 violation tickets can also be issued to people who operate a retail business or episodic market that is prohibited by the PHO or subject to conditions.

Review the prohibitions, conditions and exceptions in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) for:

  • Party buses
  • Limousines
  • Perimeter seating vehicles
  • Retail business
  • Episodic markets

Individuals can receive a $230 ticket for being a passenger on a party bus or limo in violation of the applicable prohibitions or conditions; or attending a non-compliant retail business or episodic market.

Violation tickets for owners, operators and event organizers

Violation tickets of $2,300 can be issued to owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering, unless the event or gathering has an exemption.

Violation tickets for food and liquor serving premises

Violation tickets of $2,300 can be issued to owners, operators and event organizers. They are subject to a fine if:

  • A nightclub does not cease to operate as a nightclub
  • Background music or other background sounds, such as from televisions is louder than the volume of normal conversation
  • Liquor is served outside the hours of 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, even if the establishment provides a full meal service
  • If an establishment does not provide full meal service, does not close by 11:00 pm with all patrons having vacated the premises
  • Liquor is consumed on premises by owners, operators or staff after 11:00 pm

Review the PHO Order – Food and Liquor Serving Premises (PDF)

How tickets are given out

Violation tickets can be issued by: 

  • Police officers
  • Community safety unit
  • Liquor and cannabis inspectors
  • Gaming investigators
  • Conservation officers

WorkSafeBC investigators will assist through their existing authorities and tools.

If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders, police can recommend changers in relation to the offence. On conviction, judicial penalties of up to $10,000 and/or one year in prison may be imposed. 

Working with local governments

The Province is also working with local governments to target individuals and businesses who fail to comply with PHO orders. 

  • This may include revoking business or liquor licenses where issues occur

Reporting possible violations

To report concerns around PHO order violations by event organizers, venues or individuals, contact your local government’s bylaw office.

  • Local bylaw officers can help follow up on concerns, and engage police departments and WorkSafeBC as necessary

If you are unable to reach a local bylaw office, contact your local police department’s non-emergency line.

  • Calling 9-1-1 is only appropriate in serious situations

Paying or disputing a ticket

You have 30 days from the date the ticket was issued to either pay or dispute the ticket. This is consistent with other violation tickets, such as traffic tickets under the Motor Vehicle Act. 

ICBC sends unpaid files directly to collections as soon as the initial 30-day payment or dispute period ends, or an offender is found guilty in court.

Dispute a ticket

You have up to 30 days to dispute a violation ticket. This is the usual process and has not changed.

  • Information on how to dispute a ticket is written on the ticket

Refusal to pay

If you refuse to pay the fine but don't dispute the ticket, after 30 days you are considered to have pleaded guilty and your file will be sent directly to collections.

  • If you can’t afford to pay the fine, you can dispute the fine amount. This dispute will be adjudicated by the courts