COVID-19 Procedures and Guidelines

Commission Tribunal Communicable Disease Prevention Procedures and Guidelines
The Commission has considered updated guidance provided by BC Public Health and WorkSafeBC with respect to communicable diseases. Many of the former COVID-19 safety protocols have been removed or become less restrictive. Accordingly, the Commission has updated its protocols for proceedings in the hearing room.

It is incumbent on the Commission to maintain its hearing function, including timely resolutions to matters set to be heard before it. The safety of Commission employees, parties to the proceeding and the public is of paramount importance.

Some restrictions remain in place in the hearing room. In particular:

  • The capacity is reduced:
    • clear barriers have been installed between anyone who will be less than six feet apart, as well as between the parties, the witness, and the commissioners
    • The number of public that can attend is limited.
  • In light of the Provincial Health Order effective August 25, 2021 requiring masks in all public indoor settings, masks must be worn by everyone in the Commission offices, including in the hearing room, regardless of physical separation and distancing.
  • Everyone attending in the hearing room must follow the Safety Guidelines attached to these guidelines as Appendix A.

    For pictures of the reconfigured hearing room, please see Appendix B

The following are new practices that the tribunal will institute:

1. For Tribunal Staff In The Hearing Room

  • Ensure:
    • clear barriers are distributed in hearing room prior to hearing, including the solid barrier between the two rows of counsel tables
    • hand sanitizer is available inside the hearing room door. Hand sanitizer is also available by the elevators
    • a sign is on the hearing room door that public occupancy is limited to seven people
    • disinfectant wipes are available in the hearing room for commissioners, parties and counsel, and witnesses
    • podiums have been removed from counsel tables.
  • Use latex gloves for logging into / out of hearing room computers before the hearing and during breaks.
  • Do not distribute water prior to the hearing.
  • Unlock the hearing room door when ready, 15 minutes in advance of the hearing, as the 12th floor lobby may not be large enough to accommodate waiting parties.
  • Remotely
    • inform tribunal counsel and the panel if there are any delays to start of hearing
    • confirm when parties and counsel are ready for the panel to enter the hearing room
    • confirm when the hearing panel is ready to enter the hearing room.
  • Consider well in advance if a translator is required as it may necessitate moving of parties/counsel to accommodate a translator.
  • Advise facilities of hearing dates, to arrange for daily thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the hearing room.

2. For the Panel in the Hearing Room

  • Remotely advise the hearing officer when the panel is ready to enter hearing room.
  • The panel chair will remind the parties and counsel at the beginning of the hearing
  • to maintain six feet of separation from other people in the room
  • to cough or sneeze into their arm or sleeve
  • to remove all personal belongings at the end of the hearing
  • to sanitize their hands each time they enter the hearing room
  • any records the parties and counsel may seek to rely on, that have not already been disclosed, MUST be provided to the Hearing Office electronically in advance.

3. For Parties Attending the Hearing Room

  • Wear a mask on the elevator and in the Commission lobby, restrooms and the Commission hearing room.
  • Follow instructions / directions for the hearing room upon entry and exit.
  • Bring and remove at the end of each day any stationery, personal effects or any beverages (with lids) that you may require during the hearing. Water will no longer be provided by Tribunal staff.
  • All parties will remain seated behind the clear barriers when speaking. Parties and counsel will no longer be permitted to stand to make oral submissions as the podiums have been removed.

4. For the Public Attending Hearings

  • Members of the public may attend a hearing in the hearing room, but the number of seats available in the hearing room is limited to seven.
  • If a member of the public wants to attend, they must wear a mask on the elevator and in the Commission lobby, restrooms and the Commission hearing room.

APPENDIX A

Communicable Disease Prevention Safety Protocols Applicable to the Commission Tribunal

701 West Georgia Street

This protocol applies to anyone (including employee, party, or member of the public) who attends the BCSC Hearing Rooms at 701 West Georgia Street in Vancouver.

Do NOT come to the Commission Offices:

  • If you are ill and have symptoms of a communicable disease (e.g., fever or chills, coughing, diarrhea). If you are ill, contact your physician or public health (811) and follow medical advice

Practice physical distancing at the Commission

  • Maintain 2m (two arm lengths) physical distancing in all BCSC office spaces, wherever possible
  • To ensure physical distancing, follow the instructions posted for each shared space (reception, hearing rooms, meeting rooms) regarding the maximum capacity, entry, and use.
  • Follow the safety protocols of the landlord (Cadillac Fairview) when entering or exiting the office, such as elevator capacity limits, use of stairwells

Practice good hygiene at the Commission

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • When unable to wash your hands, use the hand sanitizers located throughout the building
  • Cough and sneeze into an arm or sleeve
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Masks

  • Masks are required to be worn by everyone in the Commission offices, including in the hearing room, regardless of physical separation and distancing.

Cleaning Common Areas

  • Cadillac Fairview and contracted cleaning providers continue with daily cleaning, including all common areas and high-touch surfaces, including elevators, washrooms, common tables, light switches and door handles.

Report any safety concerns

  • If you see any potential safety concerns, please contact the Commission Hearing Office immediately.          

Resources

Contact

Please contact the Commission Hearing Office at:

British Columbia Securities Commission
PO Box 10142, Pacific Centre
701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1L2

Attention: Commission Hearing Office

Fax: (604) 899-6506
E-mail: commsec@bcsc.bc.ca

Stay safe and healthy!

APPENDIX B

Hearing Room Pictures

Reduced capacity in the public gallery

Reduced capacity in the public gallery

Barriers at counsels tables

Barriers installed on counsel tables

Barriers at the hearings officers tables

Barriers installed at hearing officer table