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Submitted by Cindy Cheung on March 17, 2020
PIBC's Response to COVID-19
March 17, 2020

The current COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak is having impacts across our communities and our world; it is a rapidly evolving and changing landscape. At PIBC, we have been actively and carefully monitoring the situation. In addition to ongoing monitoring and best-practices for mitigation, ensuring the well-being of our members, volunteers, and staff is of upmost concern and our top priority

We wanted to reach out to you to let you know of various steps we have taken thus far and things to think about, as practicing planners, in light of the current circumstances. We encourage you to review the following information and to work actively as individuals and planners to keep safe, work through the current situation, and take care to ensure yours and everyone's well-being.


Update on PIBC Events & Activities

Effective immediately, PIBC is discontinuing all in-person meetings, events and similar face-to-face activities until May 10th, 2020. Additionally we are discontinuing all PIBC-related staff and volunteer travel for the same period.


Meetings & Events

Meetings or events conducted entirely remotely (i.e. by teleconference, webinar etc.) can and will continue during this period. We will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, including seeking and following guidance from appropriate authorities and health officials and will revise our practices regarding in-person events as changing circumstances warrant. This may include adjusting the planned time-frame for this policy on in-person events, meetings and travel. We will work to keep you up to date and informed as anything changes.



Plans for this year's joint annual national conference, being co-hosted with CIP in Whistler in July, continue for the time being. Registration is open and continues; we hope to proceed as planned, with heightened practices to mitigate any potential risk. We hope to see you there! We are aware, however that this situation is ever-evolving, and circumstances may change.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation, in partnership with CIP, and if significant changes to plans need to be made, we will be sure to make such decisions in a timely manner based on the best available information and inform everyone as soon as any such changes are decided. We will reach out and coordinate with all attendees and members accordingly. Information regarding COVID-19 contingencies for the conference can be found on the conference website: http://www.cvent.com/d/pyqw33.


PIBC 2020 CPL Webinar Series

We are pleased to inform you that PIBC's CPL webinar programming for the Spring of 2020 will continue as planned and is on schedule. In these times of adjusted activities and limited mobility, we encourage members to take the opportunity to continue to learn and network in a safe, accessible virtual manner.

For ongoing information on our webinars, watch the PIBC e-News and visit the PIBC Event webpage: https://www.pibc.bc.ca/all-events


PIBC Operations (Updated on March 18)

As of Thursday, March 19, the PIBC office will be closed and PIBC staff will be working remotely from home until further notice due to the current COVID-19 situation. We will be re-assessing the situation at the end of March. Email is the preferred communication method during this time – please visit our contact page should you need any email addresses. Please send general enquiries to info@pibc.bc.ca  or office@pibc.bc.ca

While PIBC will strive to keep operations running as smoothly as possible, due to this situation, there may be a shortage in our capacity to deliver all services in a timely fashion. PIBC will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and issued advice by the Canadian government, Government of BC, and world, national, and local health agencies. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience. We look forward to continue to serve members going forward.


For Members - Risks, Steps & Resources

At an individual and professional practice level, we of course continue to encourage everyone to observe best-practices to mitigate risk, support public health and well being, and also to practice good self-care. These include frequent thorough hand-washing, disinfection & sanitization, avoiding physical contact (i.e. shaking hands etc.), general social distancing & avoiding any gatherings with over 50 people, taking care with potentially vulnerable or at-risk individuals and groups, monitoring any individual sickness (i.e. colds & flu) or symptoms, staying home & seeking professional medical guidance or care when appropriate, and seeking out and following the latest and best advice from appropriate authorities and health officials.
As professional planners are often at the forefront in our communities and often leading public and stakeholder engagements as part of their work, we encourage caution and best-practices, including looking at lower-risk alternative ways to engage such as: virtual or remote meetings, online surveys, small table meetings, one on one processes and/or just rescheduling. 

For helpful information, visit the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2): https://www.iap2.org/mpage/Home

We also encourage you to practice good self-care and be cognizant of your own health and well-being during this challenging time.

For full and up-to-date direct information from public health officials and sources on the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation, advised best-practices, guidance and direction, here are some recommended helpful links:

BC Centre for Disease Control:  

BC CDC Information Regarding Event Planning:  

HealthLink BC: 

Government of Canada:

Questions? Contact Us

If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please contact us. We will continue to update the entire membership as circumstances warrant and look forward to continuing to serve and support members during this challenging period.

Thank you and be well, 

Dave Crossley
Executive Director

Planning Institute of British Columbia
(on behalf of the PIBC Executive & Board of Directors)

PIBC Response to COVID-19

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