COVID-19 Updates

As the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolves, the College will continue to send emails out to registrants with important announcements from the provincial health officer and share updates on related regulatory changes. All communications will be consolidated on this web page; please check back regularly for up-to-date information.

Information for physicians

Regulatory updates

March 30, 2020: Update on scope of practice

Read the update from the registrar on scope of practice here.

March 27, 2020: Prescribing medications during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, registrants are being asked to make amendments to existing prescribing practices to ensure patients receive their medication while also following the requirements to distance themselves physically, self-isolate or quarantine.

Details regarding the amendments are available here.

March 27, 2020: Proposed temporary amendment to the College Bylaws

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC has posted a proposed temporary amendment to its Bylaws in response to the postponement of the spring qualifying examinations offered by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Medical Council of Canada. 

For more information, please visit the Bylaw Amendments page.

March 26, 2020: College Connector

The March/April issue of the College Connector contains important information for physicians related to COVID-19.

Read it here.

March 26, 2020: Medical Assistance in Dying practice standard temporarily amended

Effectively immediately and for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency in British Columbia, the following changes have been made to the Medical Assistance in Dying practice standard:

  • The limit allowing only one practitioner to conduct a telemedicine assessment is temporarily rescinded. Both practitioners can conduct the assessment by telemedicine. Telemedicine assessments must meet the requirements set out in federal legislation as well as the standards and expectations that apply to in-person assessments.
  • The requirement for a regulated health professional to act as a witness is temporarily rescinded. No witness is required for a telemedicine assessment if they are not reasonably available.
  • The requirement of the physician not to delegate or assign the return of MAiD substances is temporarily rescinded. When there is no other reasonable option, the physician may ask another physician, nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, or pharmacist to return the substances to the pharmacy. The physician must document the name of the person assigned to return the substances in the patient record. 

March 25, 2020: Joint statement on unproven therapies for COVID-19

Read the warning on the use of unproven treatments and medications for COVID-19 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the College of Pharmacists of BC, and the BC College of Nursing Professionals here.

March 24, 2020: Update from the registrar

Read the update from the registrar to physicians here.

March 23, 2020: Update on cancellation of DAP and NHMSFAP assessments

  • The DAP and NHMSFAP are extending the cancellation of assessments through June 30, 2020. Facilities will be notified if there are further cancellations of accreditation site visits beyond the June 30, 2020 date.
  • The DAP Committee and NHMSFAP Committee are expediting procedures as follows:
    • Automatic six-month extensions for accreditation certificate expiry dates will be given for any facility where the accreditation site visit has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • All variance requests associated with non-high-risk standards will be adjudicated directly by the deputy registrar to ensure the quickest possible turnaround time for decisions.

March 18, 2020: Cancellation of PPEP and POMDRA assessments

  • At this time, PPEP and POMDRA assessments and post-assessment activities are postponed indefinitely.
  • Registrants will be contacted by College staff once the Provincial Health Office and College has deemed it appropriate to proceed.

March 17, 2020: Update on telemedicine

  • Due to a spike in interest in making greater use of telephone and video communication as substitutes for in-person visits Doctors of BC recently announced billing changes.
  • In light of recent events and in response to an increasing number of inquiries, the College practice standard Telemedicine was recently reviewed and revised to clarify expectations of physicians who prescribe opioid and psychotropic medications, and ensure there are no regulatory barriers to the clinically appropriate use of distance technologies for patient care.

March 16, 2020: Cancellation of DAP and NHMSFAP assessments

  • At this time, the DAP and NHMSFAP are suspending assessments through April 9, 2020. Facilities affected by this change will be contacted directly.
  • Should there be any further changes to assessment schedules, facilities will be informed and this page will be updated.

Announcements from the provincial health officer

The College continues to work with the PHO to ensure physicians are kept informed about the COVID-19 pandemic. Emails are being sent to registrants to share important information.

Temporary emergency registration options available to physicians

In order to help meet the increasing demands on the capacity of the health-care system, the College has made temporary emergency registration options available to physicians who meet these eligibility requirements:

  • BC physicians who recently retired (no more than two years ago)
  • R5 and R4 residents in internal medicine who hold RCPSC certification and LMCC, upon request by a health authority
  • physicians in the academic class of registration
  • clinical fellows in the last year of their three-year fellowship
  • physicians licensed for independent practice elsewhere in Canada 

Physicians will be deployed on an as-needed basis, depending on the specific needs of each health authority. 

For more information, please contact the College by email at this dedicated address:

Quick links

Information for the public

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is continuing to protect the public and provide support and guidance to the profession as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

During a global pandemic, each of us has a responsibility to take steps to limit the spread of a viral outbreak. As a result, physicians are implementing enhanced screening and safety measures to ensure that the virus isn’t shared with other patients and health-care providers. The provincial health officer has also recommended that physicians postpone non-emergency procedures in order to prioritize the increase in urgent care needs.

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please refer to the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-888-COVID19.

BC Ministry of Health

The BC Ministry of Health is providing regular updates on the status of cases in BC and updating advice and guidance to the public. It includes helpful information on steps you can take to protect yourself and help prevent the spread of the virus.

BC Centre for Disease Control

The BC Centre for Disease Control has the most up-to-date information for patients on COVID-19, including:

Government of Canada

The federal government is providing daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in Canada and updates on the nation’s response, and has published a How to Self-Isolate Fact Sheet.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is providing updates on the global status of the COVID-19 pandemic.