List of COVID-19 Essential Services

Essential services are those 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. 

Last Updated: April 24, 2020

This list was developed by Emergency Management BC in consultation with other government ministries and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). In consultation with the PHO, essential services should and are encouraged to remain open. This list may be updated as government’s response to COVID-19 evolves.

On this page:

Child care providers and schools providing care and/or in-class instruction for children are to prioritize placements for those children whose parents are employed in health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders, and emergency response.


Health and Health Services 

  • All health care providers, health service providers, support staff and ancillary services within a healthcare, mental health, or addictions treatment setting
  • Individuals, agencies and organizations that support the delivery of healthcare, mental health, or addictions services
  • Blood and plasma donation services including:
    • Collection
    • Production 
    • Distribution 
    • Diagnostics and laboratory testing
    • Related goods and services 

Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders & Emergency Response Personnel

All first responders should follow the guidance provided by the PHO

  • First responders, including:
    • Police
    • Fire
    • Paramedics
  • Services providing for public safety, including:
    • First aid
    • Corrections and detainment facilities
    • Park rangers
    • Conservation officers
    • Security and protective services
    • Court services
    • Bylaw enforcement
    • Communications and dispatching support for first responders
  • Volunteers, such as:
    • Search-and-rescue
    • Those engaged in other public safety duties
  • Public sector workers for peace, order, and good government
  • Employees of contracted service providers in these fields, including:
    • Maintenance of technical infrastructure to support this work and compliance with health and public safety orders
  • Businesses that provide support to police, correctional services, and first responders
  • The Department of National Defence (DND) and its employers
  • The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and its personnel
  • Persons or entities contracted by DND or CAF in support of the defence mandate
  • Operations and services that support the Canadian Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Emergency management personnel at local, regional, provincial levels, and federal levels, including contracted emergency management personnel

Vulnerable Population Service Providers

  • Businesses, government and non-profits that provide care, food, shelter, social, and support services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals including seniors, children, or individuals with disabilities, such as:
    • Service delivery staff who provide access to income and disability assistance and supports
    • Foodbanks
    • Community kitchens
    • Voluntary and community service providers
    • Substance use and addictions services, including:
      • Overdose prevention sites
      • Licensed and registered treatment and recovery facilities
    • Transitional, social and supportive housing
    • Residential and care facilities
    • Single room occupancy housing
  • Community services and outreach for immigrant, refugees, vulnerable populations and non-market housing
  • School and other entities that provide free food services to students or members of the public
  • Child care services for essential workers
  • Home child care services of less than six children
  • Caregivers for children in care and out of care
  • Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies, or other products/services that support the health sector, including mental health and addictions/counselling supports
  • Public washrooms and hygiene facilities (toilets, handwash, showers) for unsheltered persons
  • Parks and greenspace for public health and sheltering for unsheltered persons

Critical Infrastructure

All industrial camps should follow the guidance provided by the PHO

  • Critical infrastructure service providers, including:
    • Drilling and production
    • Refineries
    • Laboratories
    • Processing
    • Treatment and completion facilities
    • Utilities
    • Transportation
    • Distribution
    • Digital systems infrastructure
    • Transmission stations
    • Storage facilities
    • All of the required support, operations and staff critical in supporting: 
      • Electricity
      • Drinking water
      • Waste water
      • Drainage
      • Steam
      • Alternative energy production
      • Chemical and industrial gas
      • Waste and hazardous waste/material management
      • Industrial recycling
      • Oil and natural and propane gas
      • Fuel, petroleum, crude oil and other fuel sources such as heating oil and wood pellets
  • Gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine fuels, and providers of charging stations for electric vehicles
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.)

Food and Agriculture Service Providers

  • Food cultivation, including:
    • Farming
    • Livestock
    • Hunting
    • Aquaculture and fishing
    • Community gardens and subsistence agriculture
  • Businesses that support the food supply chain, including:
    • Seed
    • Fertilizer
    • Pesticides
    • Farm machinery sales and maintenance
  • Food processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation and distribution of foods, feed products and beverages
  • Workers essential to maintain or repair equipment in food processing and distribution centres
  • Workers, including Temporary Foreign Workers, to support agricultural operations to enhance food security
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food
  • Inspection services and associated regulatory and government workforce and supporting businesses required for:
    • Slaughter, rendering, and processing of animals
    • Dairy production
    • Food safety
  • Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including:
    • Veterinarians
    • Farms
    • Boarding kennels
    • Stables
    • Animal shelters
    • Zoos
    • Aquariums
    • Research facilities
    • Other service providers

Retail

  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Other establishments engaged in the retail sale or provision of food
  • Pet or livestock supply
  • Liquor
  • Cannabis (including producers)
  • Other household consumer products, such as cleaning and personal care products
  • Stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential daily operation of residences, such as:
    • Home supply
    • Hardware
    • Building material stores
    • Pawn brokers
    • Garden centres and nurseries
  • Stores that sell supplies that ensure the safety of essential workers, such as:
    • Appropriate footwear
    • High-visibility clothing
    • Hardhats

Transportation

  • Supply chain services needed to supply goods for societal functioning, including:
    • Cooling
    • Storing
    • Packaging
    • Transportation
    • Warehousing
    • Distribution
  • Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo through air, marine, rail and trucking transportation services, including:
    • Crews, maintenance, operations and other facilities workers
  • Services to support and enable transportation, including highway, road, bridge maintenance and repair
  • Services to respond to emergencies impacting transportation routes
  • Employees who build, repair, maintain and overhaul vehicles, aircraft and parts, rail equipment, marine vessels, bicycles and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers, as well as vehicle rentals and leasing, including land, air, and marine vessels engaged in national defence
  • Services and facilities that facilitate the interprovincial and intra-provincial transportation of essential supplies, personnel and services, including:
    • Port/waterfront operations
    • Road
    • Air
    • Rail operations
    • Commercial vehicle safety enforcement
    • Truck scales
    • Commercial vehicle inspection stations
    • Brokerages
    • Vehicle towing
    • Commercial cardlock fuel providers
    • Truck and rest stops
  • Private and public transportation services, such as:
    • Buses
    • Trains
    • Taxis
    • Car-share programs
    • Ride-hailing 
    • Aircraft
    • Marine vessels

Industry & Manufacturing

  • Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, necessary for the continued and immediate operation of other essential infrastructure and businesses, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer)
  • Businesses that manufacture and distribute packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of primary and value-added forestry/silviculture products (lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.), including reforestation operations and tree-and forest-maintenance services
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products (e.g. metals such as copper, nickel and gold) and that support supply chains including mining operations, production and processing; mineral exploration and development; and mining supply and services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety

Sanitation

  • Cleaning services necessary to provide and maintain disinfection
  • Manufacturing of sanitary products, including:
    • Household paper products
    • Chemicals
    • Microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • Companies that are able to retrofit their production facilities to produce goods/services that can be used to address critical shortages of sanitary and protective goods
  • Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, including:
    • Environmental consulting firms
    • Professional engineers and geoscientists
    • Septics haulers
    • Well drillers
    • Pesticides applicators
    • Pest exterminators
    • Management of industrial sewage/effluent (e.g. for mining operations), and environmental laboratories
  • Vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support environmental remediation/monitoring, and who respond to environmental emergencies
  • Waste (garbage and organics) and recycling collection, processing, and disposal
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers

Communications & Information Technology

  • Facilities and workers maintaining IT and communications infrastructure for:
    • Privately owned and maintained communication systems and/or networks
    • Medical facilities
    • Governments facilities
    • Emergency response and command agencies
    • Energy and utilities
    • Banks and financial institutions
    • Employees working from home and other remote operations of business
    • Other critical infrastructure categories and personnel, including managing information and cyber-security incidents
  • Newspapers, television, radio, call centres, online news outlets and other media services
  • IT, radio, cable providers, and telecommunications services, including:
    • Phone, internet, wireless communications and data centres
    • Satellite operations
    • Undersea cable landing stations
    • Internet Exchange Points
    • Manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment
  • Workers responding to cyber incidents involving essential services
  • Businesses engaged in e-commerce

Financial Institutions

  • Banks and their branches
  • Credit unions
  • Related financial institutions
  • Workers who support security and technical operations supporting financial institutions
  • Capital markets, including:
    • The British Columbia Securities Commission
    • Self regulatory organizations
    • Exchanges
    • Clearing agencies
    • Pension funds
    • Financial dealers and advisers
    • Investment fund managers
  • Services related to bankruptcy/credit restructuring and non-bank sources of capital, including:
    • Cheque-cashing outlets
    • Money sending and money remittance services
    • Currency exchange services
    • Pawn brokers
  • Accounting, payroll, and insurance providers
  • Insurance assessment and adjudication providers

Other Non-Health Essential Service Providers

All construction sites should follow the guidance provided by the PHO

  • Coroners and workers performing mortuary services, including:
    • Funeral homes
    • Crematoriums
    • Cemeteries
    • Workers supporting the appropriate handling, identification, storage, transportation, and certification of human remains
  • Translation services, legal services, human resources, communications, security, procurement, and real estate operations that support the customer and internal company networks
  • Plumbers, electricians, elevator maintenance providers, property management services, building systems maintenance and repair technicians, engineers, fire safety and sprinkler systems, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and daily essential operation of residences, commercial buildings, and ski area infrastructure and facilities
  • Construction work, construction firms, skilled trades, and professionals, and; construction and light industrial machinery and equipment rental
  • Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, and public post secondary institutions—for purposes of facilitating remote learning or performing essential functions, including services that are needed to ensure the safety, security, welfare, integrity and health of the community, property and research and certain operational and contractual activities
  • Postal services including both public and private mailing, shipping, logistics, courier, delivery services, and post office boxes
  • All government (local, regional, provincial, federal) functions or services, including where these functions or services are provided by agencies, crown corporations, contractors or service providers, and  government owned or leased buildings
  • Meteorologist services
  • Professional services including:
    • Lawyers and paralegals
    • Engineers
    • Accountants
    • Translators
    • Self-regulating and regulatory bodies
  • Land registration services, and real estate agent services
  • Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary labour services
  • Hotels and places of accommodation, including RV parks and campgrounds
  • Activities of the Consulate General and support staff and landlords of buildings where the consulates are located and those who guarantee access to consular offices as well as the operation of the consular offices
  • Provision of public services that support the safe operation of regulated businesses and support those businesses to meet other regulatory requirements
  • Workers who provide or support inspections to ensure worksites are safe for workers; and who investigate, process and manage claims for workplace accidents, including services related to the care, treatment and provision of workers’ compensation benefits to those impacted
  • Storage for essential businesses