Notice to the Profession
May 19, 2020

Remote witnessing of wills, POAs and representation agreements

The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has issued ministerial orders regarding virtual execution of wills and virtual execution of powers of attorney and representation agreements. The ministerial orders apply as of May 19, 2020 and remain in effect until the date on which the last extension of the state of emergency expires or is cancelled. Further information on the process and requirements for remote execution of wills are set out in Ministerial Order M161, while the process and requirements for remote execution of POAs and representation agreements are set out in Ministerial Order M162.

WorkSafeBC protocols for office workplaces

In our Notice to the Profession on May 14, we outlined provincial guidelines on the next phase of resuming business operations. WorkSafeBC has now issued more detailed guidance and protocols that will be required for office workplaces. The protocols require businesses to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in their offices. Plans should address building access, workplace operations, workstations, communal spaces, outside visitors, deliveries, transportation to work and elevator use. Employers are required to involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors in developing protocols for their workplace, and the plan must be posted at the workplace. Further details on the office workplace protocols are available on the WorkSafeBC website.

Guidance for law firms on safe return to office planning

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch has developed a resource that is specifically directed at assisting law firms make their transition to in-office operations. The resource was developed through the contributions of CBA members and firms, human resources professionals, and leading Canadian and international organizations and will be updated as new information becomes available. Link to the CBABC’s resource here.