The B.C. government is taking new measures to protect supply chains during the novel coronavirus crisis.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Thursday that the province takes a more active role in coordinating the movement of essential goods and services by land, air, sea and rail.
A newly-formed supply chain coordination unit will work to identify key roadblocks that needs to be overcome.
Farnworth said retailers and suppliers are required to report on their inventory of critical supplies, including health supplies for frontline workers.
Progress has already been made, he said, with many stores putting in measures to enforce social distancing and discourage hoarding.
The province also announced that it is banning the resale of food, medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) and will work with retailers to enforce quantity restrictions on certain essential products.
The 20 richest neighbourhoods across Canada
Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s biggest volcano, erupts for 1st time in 40 years
B.C. Premier John Horgan said he has been in touch with Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee about ensuring supply routes between the Canada and U.S. remain open.
He says he has also been talking to other premiers about how the manufacturing sector can help fill any gaps in production, citing Ontario’s downsized auto sector as an example of how an industry can step up in the fight against COVID-19.
The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association has said the auto sector will soon be able to help with the production of medical devices such as ventilators to respirators.
“People are all pulling together,” Horgan said.
“Those very few outliers that people have talked about and seen — the hoarders, the the profiteers and those that are selfishly putting themselves ahead of their neighbours and their community — those are the people we’re speaking directly to today,” he added.
“Get on board with the rest of the province and the country and we’ll get through this.”
The province declared a state of emergency on March 18 to unlock new powers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
— With files from Simon Little