COVID-19 Announcements


The COVID-19 exceptions had application across all assignments, as the pandemic was a disruption to the regular programs in general. This makes it impossible to quantify all the effects as they reached into the travel honorariums or expenses of standard assignments, but at a high-level usage of the temporary exceptions were as follows:
The majority of exceptions were related to the flexibility contained in the number of locum days, with many falling outside the minimum number of days’ requirement and the granting of additional days.
 Rural Subsidiary Agreement communities not normally supported by the Rural Locum Programs were supported
Locum assistance was provided by telehealth.
Many travel exceptions were granted due to multiple disruptions in modes of travel such as flights, ferries, and car rentals, as well as reduced accommodation options.
332 days of COVID-19 exception coverage was provided.

The above content can be located in the Fall newsletter.


Previous Announcements 

The following temporary administrative and policy changes were the temporary changes that were in effect from April 2020 to September 30, 2021 for all locum assignments. The program administrative and policy changes included:

Locum assignment cancellations
Assignment confirmations for urgent circumstances
Physicians infected or exposed to COVID-19
Concierge travel services
Type of assignments being booked by host physicians
Duration of assignments
Communities being served, and
Use of telehealth.


Temporary Administrative Changes

Assignment Cancellations
Where a host physician cancels a locum assignment, the program will endeavor to place the locum in another available locum assignment. If there is not a locum assignment available, the locum will be paid a minimum of one day of the daily rate.
If the assignment is cancelled within a short time of the commencement of the assignment, and a different assignment is not available and the locum is not working during the scheduled time, the locum will be paid 50% of the program daily rate for the duration of the locum assignment. If the locum refuses a different assignment, they will not be paid.
Where a locum physician cancels an assignment, the host physician will be contacted to determine whether or not the assignment is “essential”. If it is essential, LRBC will endeavor to find a different locum for the assignment.
Where a locum cancels an assignment LRBC will endeavor to find a different locum for the assignment. If there are no locums available, and the cancellation is within a short time of the commencement of the assignment, the host physician will be paid 50% of the overhead component normally paid through the locum program for the duration of the assignment if the host physician is not working during that time.


Assignment Confirmations for Urgent Circumstances
A locum physician may be recruited to a community for an assignment in an urgent/emergent situation and the confirmation from LRBC may occur by email if time does not permit paperwork to be completed prior to the start of the assignment. Paperwork will be completed as quickly as possible to ensure the Assignment of Payment form is uploaded to the payment system. Locums will be advised not to bill until the paperwork is complete.
In extenuating circumstances if an urgent situation occurs on a weekend or after hours the physician may commence a locum assignment in an eligible RSA community with the paperwork being completed as quickly as possible thereafter. This situation must be supported in writing by a medical director to Locums for Rural BC and the locum must not bill fee-for-service until the paperwork is complete.


Physicians Infected or Exposed to COVID-19
Should a locum physician, while on assignment, have to quarantine and unable to travel to their home jurisdiction, their expenses (meal allowance and accommodation) will be paid.  If they are able to continue to work by telehealth the locum assignment can continue in that manner. If the locum physician is unwell and unable to work, the locum will be paid one day of the daily rate as a “stipend” type payment. Physicians so affected who are members of Doctors of BC are to contact the Insurance Department for details on insurance and benefits available.
If a host physician must be quarantined and they do not have any/enough locum days to cover the duration of the quarantine, the program will allow locum days to the community similar to vacancy days to cover for that physician.


Concierge Travel Services
Locum physicians are encouraged to use the LRBC concierge service so that the time consuming administration of travel bookings, cancellations and resultant credits are borne by the program. Booking flights with options for greater flexibility is advisable. In order to provide flexibility, the most economical mode of transportation does not have to be taken in getting to and from an assignment.


Temporary program policy changes

During this time the Locum Programs, needs to be nimble and able to react quickly to urgent/emergent situations arising in rural BC. As a result, in addition to regular locum assignments booked by physicians to take leave for vacation, etc., the following will be applied:

“Essential” Locum Assignments
To ensure there are enough locum physicians to provide services to urgent/emergent situations “essential” locum assignments being booked between April 5 and September 30, 2020 will be given priority. For this purpose, “essential” will be defined as:  communities that have an outbreak; where a physician(s) has contracted the virus or need to self-isolate; where it is required for a physician’s mental health; or where there is significant stress.


Number of Locum Days
Locum assignments will be approved regardless of the number of days requested and the minimum number of days’ requirement will not be enforced.


Provide Support to ALL RSA communities
Locums for Rural BC will allow all Rural Subsidiary Agreement (RSA) communities  to access the three locum programs (Rural General Practitioner Locum Program, Rural General Practitioner Anesthesia Locum Program and Rural Specialist Locum Program) to help with a community outbreak; exposure or active COVID-19 outbreak of health care workers in the community; physician mental health or stress related issues related to COVID-19. These would be additional resources sent into a community and require the support of the Health Authority Medical Director.


Locum Assistance by Telehealth (phone or virtual means)
If  a locum physician cannot be recruited physically into the community, support via Telehealth is allowed if supported by the community/host physician and the Health Authority Medical Director where additional resources are sent into a community. Please email or leave a detailed message on at 1 (877) 357-4757 for further information on your situation.


Host Physicians Locum Allotment Days
As a once off COVID-19 exception to policy, host physicians may carry-over (carry forward) a maximum of 10 days from 2020/21 to 2021/22. These days will be available for use in the 2021/22 year.



COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - Province of British Columbia (

-  Office of the Provincial Health Officer: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) 

-  DoBC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

-  REAKT (Rapid Evidence And Knowledge Translation): REAKT is a personalized service for providers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer medical students across Canada respond to specific questions posed by providers, which may involve evidence review and summary, sourcing existing resources such as pre-printed order sets, or sharing ideas and innovations. Responses are rapid and sent directly to the provider making the request as well as contributing to an expanding online library of resources. 

-  Real-Time Virtual Supports (RTVS): Pathways: Read more about virtual healthcare supports and the several pathways available for rural healthcare providers, as well as all First Nations citizens, and rural / remote communities across the province. Ask a question: | See questions and answers: