Essential services in B.C.: Find out if your job is on the list

At a time when some businesses are boarding up, others are busier than ever.

Members of the public may be confused about why some people are still working, while others are off the clock for the foreseeable future.

B.C. has deemed some businesses and industries as “essential services,” a term for daily services the province says are required for “preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.”

These businesses and services are generally still operating, though they can be shut down if not following public health guidelines.

Similarly, businesses not on the list may be permitted to stay open if they’re able to adapt to those same guidelines.

Wondering which services and jobs count as essential? Here’s a list from the Ministry of Public Safety.

Health and health services

  • Acute care at hospitals
  • Secondary and long-term care
  • Coroners
  • Public health
  • Detox facilities
  • Safe-injection sites
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Clinical research on COVID-19
  • Blood and plasma donation
  • Emergency pre-hospital services
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors
  • Other mental health services
  • Outreach workers
  • Overdose and harm reduction
  • Mid-level practitioners
  • Nurses and assistants
  • Infection control
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Social workers
  • Substance use and peer support workers
  • Speech pathologists
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic technicians
  • Chiropractors
  • Naturopaths
  • Crisis Centres
  • Meal programs
  • Paramedics
  • Pharmaceutical production
  • Medical laboratories and research, medical testing and analytical testing labs
  • Medical supply and equipment manufacturers
  • Wholesale, distribution and stores
  • Safe supply
  • Health plans, billing and information services


Law enforcement and public safety

  • Police and firefighters
  • Corrections
  • Park rangers
  • Commercial vehicle safety enforcement
  • Security
  • Court services
  • Bylaw enforcement
  • Communication and dispatch for first responders
  • Other services that provide public safety
  • Volunteers including search and rescue, public safety lifeline
  • Public sector workers for peace, order and good government
  • Technical infrastructure maintenance
  • Other employees and businesses of contracted service providers relating to this field
  • Emergency management personnel
  • Businesses that support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements
  • Equipment and uniform suppliers to first responders


Communications, information and IT

  • IT and communications for medical facilities, governments, emergency response, energy and utilities, banks and other critical infrastructure categories
  • Journalists and others involved in the production of news online, on TV, on the radio and in newspapers
  • IT, radio, cable providers and telecommunications service including internet and phone
  • Manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment


Non-health service providers

  • Livestock, pet and shelter services
  • Coroners
  • Funeral homes
  • Crematoriums and cemeteries
  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Workers who support security and technical operations for financial institutions
  • Capital markets
  • Services related to bankruptcy and credit
  • Non-bank services including cheque-cashing and money sending
  • Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Translators
  • Legal services
  • Insurance
  • Adjudication providers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Elevator maintenance
  • Exterminators
  • Property management
  • Custodial/janitorial
  • Cleaning
  • Fire safety and sprinklers
  • Building systems maintenance and repair
  • Engineers
  • Mechanics
  • K-12 and post-secondary schools – currently closed as they’re unable to comply with COVID-19 physical distancing rules
  • Laundromats
  • Drycleaners
  • Restaurants and other facilities that are able to offer takeout and delivery
  • Towing services
  • Construction industry
  • Forestry and silviculture
  • Research services supporting essential sectors
  • Government
  • Businesses and non-profits that provide services on behalf of the government, including BC Services, residential tenancy, income and disability assistance and MSP
  • Weather forecasters
  • Mining
  • Workers at operation centres that help other essential services
  • Land registration
  • Real estate
  • Building code enforcement
  • Public washrooms for people without shelter
  • Parks and greenspace


Vulnerable population service providers

  • Non-profits and businesses that provide food, shelter, support services and other necessities, including food banks, social housing, SROs and residential health facilities
  • Community services and outreach for immigrants, refugees and vulnerable populations
  • Care for seniors and people with disabilities, including service support
  • Child care for people providing essential services
  • Caregivers for children in and out of care
  • Residential care for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges
  • Government and non-profit delivery staff providing access to income support
  • Residential and care facilities and shelters
  • Overdose prevention sites and services
  • Medical cannabis provision
  • Businesses that sell, rent and repair assistive devices and aids, or products for the health sector


Food and agriculture

  • Food cultivation including farming, fishing and food supply chain
  • Food processing, manufacturing, storage and distribution
  • Workers who maintain or repair equipment
  • Workers, including temporary foreign workers, who support agricultural operations
  • Farming supply, including seed, pesticides and machinery
  • Food inspection services
  • Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, kennels, zoos, aquariums and research facilities



  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Pet and livestock supply stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Cannabis
  • Stores that sell household consumer products, including cleaning products
  • Stores that sell groceries and other products, including home supply, hardware and garden centres


Transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing

  • Public transit
  • Supply chain for services including cooling, storage, packaging and distribution
  • Maintenance and operation of cargo services
  • Manufacturers and distributors of packaging and shipping materials
  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and other waste materials
  • Local, regional and provincial delivery services, including mail
  • Maintenance and repair of highways, roads and bridges
  • Maintenance and repair of overhaul vehicles, aircraft, rail, marine vessels, etc.
  • Vehicle rentals and leasing
  • Services involved in ports, road, air and rail operation
  • Facilities and workers that support delivery through use of truck scales, commercial vehicle inspection and more, including truck rest stops
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses and people working from home
  • Private transportation, including taxis, ride-hailing and aircraft
  • Chemical and industrial gas supply chain
  • Public works operations
  • Inspection and maintenance at industrial facilities
  • Inspectors of worksites, and workers who process and manage claims from people injured on the job
  • Hotels and other accommodations
  • Consuls General staff
  • Landlords of consulate buildings
  • Storage for essential businesses
  • Businesses that provide materials for transportation systems
  • Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, equipment and materials
  • Vegetation management crews
  • Traffic workers
  • Businesses that provide staffing services, including temporary jobs
  • Businesses that support the safe operations of residences, businesses and facilities


Critical infrastructure

  • Critical infrastructure service providers including drilling, refineries, processing, utilities, transmission services, transportation, drinking water and waste water
  • Manufacturing of goods needed for other essential infrastructure and business
  • Gas stations
  • Diesel, propane and heating fuel providers
  • Operations for water, waste water, water testing, etc.



  • Necessary cleaning services
  • Manufacturing of sanitary products
  • Retrofitters able to produce goods and services that can be used to support critical shortages
  • Businesses including environmental consulting firms, engineers and geoscientists, septics haulers and exterminators
  • Garbage, organics and recycling
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