Notice of Bylaw Enactment: COVID-19 Community Protection Bylaw


TAKE NOTICE that Cowichan Tribes, in accordance with section 81(1) of the Indian Act, has enacted the Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 Community Protection Bylaw.  

The Bylaw establishes rules to restrict access to our lands (Tumuhw) and to ensure that everyone is complying with COVID-19 pandemic health orders and social (physical) distancing recommendations. 

The purpose of the bylaw is to protect the health, safety and lives of Quw’utsun Mustimuhw from the threat of COVID-19. The bylaw was enacted by resolution of Chief and Council through Band Council resolution (2020/2021-36) on May 27, 2020.  

While public health orders of BC and Canada apply in community (on-reserve), it is important for Cowichan Tribes, as a self-governing nation, to guide and enforce laws and health orders on our territory in accordance with our own values and authority. 

The rules set out in the law include:

  1. NO PERSON IS ALLOWED ON TUMUHW, INCLUDING COWICHAN MEMBERS, IF THEY ARE COMING FOR A PROHIBITED PURPOSE. Prohibited purposes include participating in gatherings of more than 50 people, loitering, or trafficking drugs and alcohol (unless medically required). 
  2. COUNCIL MAY PLACE RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS/FACILITIES AND BUSINESSES ON TUMUHW. This can include closure/restrictions on access to community facilities like schools, playgrounds, recreational and cultural buildings, and restrictions on hours of operation and number of people entering businesses or other premises.
  3. MASS GATHERINGS LARGER THAN 50 PEOPLE, INDOORS OR OUTDOORS, ARE PROHIBITED. This is to ensure compliance with the orders and recommendations of public health officials and to reduce the chance of spread of infection.
  4. ONLY AUTHORIZED PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED IN RESTRICTED AREAS. Council can designate areas of Tumuhw to be Restricted Areas. Only people who are Cowichan Tribes members, permanent residents, caregivers of permanent residents, providing essential or emergency services, or who have received express written permission from Council are permitted in Restricted Areas. Council can remove authorization for any person if that person has contravened the bylaw and Council reasonably believes they will continue to do so.
  5. EVERY PERSON MUST COMPLY WITH ORDERS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICERS AND PROTECTIVE MEASURES ORDERED BY COUNCIL. Including staying home as much as possible, social (physical) distancing, wearing masks in public when physical distancing is difficult, quarantine after traveling internationally, and self-isolating if ill or when directed by your Primary Care Provider.

Enforcement: Council has appointed Lands By-law Officers to enforce the Bylaw. Officers are empowered to check to see if people are complying with the Bylaw and can order people to do, or not do, anything necessary to bring them into compliance with the Bylaw. RCMP can enforce this bylaw pursuant to the Tripartite Policing Agreement and can enforce an Officer’s orders. Members who commit offences will be referred to the Restorative Justice Program. Penalties can be imposed on summary conviction and include a fine of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail or both.

Duration: The Bylaw will be in force until the public health officers declare that the protective measures set out in the bylaw are no longer necessary or recommended to deal with COVID-19, or until Council repeals it, whichever comes first.

A copy of the full text of the Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 Community Protection Bylaw can be found on our website a www.cowichantribes.com/bylaw/regulations. 

If you have any further questions please contact Lulumexun Lands 236-800-4023 or lands@cowichantribes.com.