estate agent giving house keys to woman and sign agreement in office

Key COVID-19 updates

by Baldev S. Gill, Chief Executive Officer

Today’s eMemo contains the following updates:

  • Government of BC declares property management and real estate agents as non-health related essential services
  • Tenant Consent during COVID-19
  • Update on Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation (E&O)
  • Federal government announces new emergency financial aid for Canadians during COVID-19

Government of BC declares property management and real estate agents as non-health related essential services

Earlier today, the Province of BC announced its updated list of essential non-health services in British Columbia during COVID-19 pandemic and included real estate agent and property management services along with legal and professional services on that list.

Essential services, according to the province, are those daily services essential to “preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives”. The list was developed by Emergency Management BC in consultation with other government ministries and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO).

The government said those services must, however, follow the orders and guidance provided by the PHO to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Given the ongoing health emergency on COVID-19, the Board continues to strongly recommend that all members refrain from holding Open Houses, avoid in-person interactions as much as possible, and adhere to the most up-to-date physical-distancing and sanitizing requirements from our government and public health officials. 

As a reminder, on Monday, March 23, in collaboration with various other real estate boards in the province, the Board disabled the Open House functionality on Paragon. 

Additionally, we strongly ask you not to use nor try to circumvent, the functionality for advertising upcoming Open Houses under the Remarks section. The Board will advise when these functions can be activated again, once public health and regulatory authorities advise it is safe to do so.

As a reminder, this is an ideal time for us to embrace the technology at our disposal. Virtual tours rather than in person showings are a good example, as is video conferencing. Many of your clients need to buy or sell in the coming months, and they are depending on you to make that happen, so be creative.

Furthermore, we encourage you to work with your clients, and their tenants where applicable, to discuss how to responsibly achieve their housing and shelter needs amid today’s public health emergency.  

Tenant Consent during COVID-19

According to guidance published by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE), recent measures announced by Municipal Affairs and Housing to keep people housed and protect their health, includes requiring the consent of tenants before a landlord can enter their rental unit.

Members are advised to note that where consent is granted by the tenant, it is imperative that real estate professionals adhere to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s prevention and physical distancing guidelines as provided by the Provincial Health Officer, and ensure these guidelines are followed when conducting showings.

OSRE goes on to advise that if the guidelines cannot be followed, real estate professionals should not conduct the showing.

According to OSRE, real estate professionals must “act in the best interests of their clients – professionals who do not comply with these recommendations put the safety of their clients, the public, and themselves in jeopardy.”

Update on Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation (E&O)

E&O recently clarified that showing homes or holding in-person strata annual general meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic creates liability risks for real estate professionals. While E&O coverage has not changed as a result of the pandemic, E&O has never covered claims relating to or arising out of sickness or disease. E&O states that claims arising from exposure of a client or member of the public to COVID-19 would not be covered.

Federal government announces new emergency financial aid for Canadians during COVID-19

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the introduction of a new, $2,000 per month Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for Canadians who have lost their income due to COVID-19. This benefit program, which Prime Minister Trudeau indicates will be paid out to workers within 10 days of their application, replaces the emergency care and emergency support benefits that were announced by the federal government last week.

People will be able to receive the benefit whether they are eligible for EI or not, according to the federal government, including wage earners, contract workers and self-employed individuals.

This taxable benefit will be provided for up to four months to:   

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support;
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19; 
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures; 
  • workers who are still employed but aren’t being paid because there’s currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work; and
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.   

Application details:

Information will be available through  My CRA and My Service Canada, beginning the first week of April.  

For ongoing FVREB updates on COVID-19, please visit:

Additional COVID-19 resources:

Read the letter from OSRE and RECBC here Re: Prioritize Public Safety – End all Open Houses.