On July 12, 2022, the BC Ministry of Health made updates to the Industrial Camps and Communicable Diseases Guidelines. The updates have been made less prescriptive and more enabling to allow health officials and industry to tailor their approaches to communicable disease prevention and response to their particular situation.

In summary, the main changes to the order are:

  • The definition of “communicable disease” has been narrowed to gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, from the full list of reportable communicable diseases.  MHOs can add requirements about other communicable diseases at their discretion.  The key symptoms and other aspects of communicable disease planning are included in the guidelines, which are will be referenced in the order.
  • Provincial communicable disease prevention officers have been removed from this scheme as they are no longer needed.  The delegation instrument will be rescinded.
  • Prevention and response, including isolation if needed, will be guided by MHOs, depending on risk assessment and emergence of communicable disease risks, rather than the narrower focus on COVID-19 in the previous order.
  • Mention of individual case reporting has been deleted.  Reporting to the MHO requirements have been aligned with the Public Health Act Industrial Camps Regulation, which requires, under section 23, that “An operator must notify a medical health officer within 24 hours after it comes to the attention of the operator that there is an outbreak or occurrence of illness, above the incident level that is normally expected, at an industrial camp.”
  • Daily reporting of information has been changed to reporting as required by the MHO.

The Guideline has been re-done to reflect this new order.  Of note:

  • Clarification is provided that the order applies to employers, as they are responsible to work with operators of industrial camps, if the employer does not directly operate the camp.
  • Symptoms of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease are include to complement the narrowing of the Order to these diseases.
  • Notification of MHOs is changed to reflect the Industrial Camp Regulation requirements, rather than individual case reporting.
  • Although industrial camps are not covered by WorkSafeBC (unless parts of them are also a workplace) reference to WorkSafeBC materials is included because of the helpful nature of that content.
  • Recommendations about isolation have been updated.