Updated March 27, 2020
As a regulator of your industry, we are working to provide helpful information to you as soon as information becomes available. We understand that you have questions and we will do our best to offer answers that fall within our area of authority.
Telecommuting and remote working
We understand how important it is for your business to be able to continue operating in a time of social distancing or possible quarantine or ordered business closure. To support you, we have created guidelines so that, as a licensee, you and your employees can temporarily telecommute or remote work.
Please understand that this adaptation and these guidelines are meant for the COVID-19 pandemic only and until future notice:
- A telecommuter employed by a licensee who complies with these guidelines, may only telecommute from their home-based location.
- If law or health directives allow, telecommuters are only to directly meet and serve clients from licensed locations, and not at remote or unlicensed home-based locations.
- A telecommuter may not, in the course of conducting business, display on any visual representation, correspondence or business cards or on any printed or electronic advertisement, a name, address, telephone number, fax number or other identification (electronic or otherwise), other than those relating to the licensed location.
- Other than cell phone numbers or corporate IP based phone numbers, telecommuters may not disclose their personal telephone number(s) to suppliers or clients nor reveal that they are conducting business from any unlicensed location.
- Payments for services may be received only at the licensed office unless those payments are through electronic means via credit card or immediate EFT, and no payment information is retained or stored in the home-based location.
- All client files, arrangement details and associated original records of accounting or contracts handled by a telecommuter must be kept at the businesses’ licensed location. (It is permissible for telecommuters to retain copies of routine correspondence and other records at their home-based location).
- Persons selling or otherwise arranging for the supply of goods and services to consumers with the expectation of receiving payment or benefit for so doing, are deemed to be acting as licensees and are required to comply with the provisions of these guidelines.
- With the exception of paragraphs 6 and 7 above, these guidelines do not apply to employees of licensees performing purely accounting or other administrative functions.
Safe work practices
We are monitoring government communications regarding essential and critical services. Until such time as an order is made respecting further isolation or quarantine, including business closures, we urge you to observe the orders and guidelines being issued by provincial health authorities and the Provincial Health Officer. What we do now as a society matters.
Visit reliable sources for information about COVID-19, including practical guidance about preventing the contraction and spread of the virus from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Canada Public Health Agency.
Compliance and enforcement
Our compliance and enforcement work related to both inspections and investigations continues. Our inspections will be done over the phone and email and we will be contacting businesses to perform routine and complaint-based inspections. We are also actively following up on tips from consumers about businesses engaged in inappropriate, deceptive or unconscionable acts and practices.
For businesses that are under investigation, we will continue to communicate in writing and will continue with compliance reports, hearings, and decisions and we will still issue warning letters, undertakings, compliance orders and monetary penalties as necessary. Where a business requires some additional time to pay a penalty, we may grant an extension. This is being done on a case by case basis.
We are consistently monitoring and reassessing the impact of this pandemic and we will let you know of any updates as quickly as we can.
Please stay safe and keep watching this page.