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Have a Happy (and Safe) Canada Day in British Columbia

When American visitors in the summer ask what Canada Day is about, we tell them it’s our Independence Day – sort of. As Canadians learn in school, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act (originally called the British North America Act), commonly referred to as the birthday of the Canadian Confederation.   

You probably also know that British Columbia didn’t join the Confederation until 1871. That has never  stopped B.C. residents and visitors alike from joining in the day’s festivities. If you don’t already have Canada Day plans, you may want to check out British Columbia Magazine’s list  of best places to celebrate.

When it comes to holiday safety, many Canadians think first of the risks associated with holidays that call for winter coats and scarves rather than shorts and tee shirts. There’s a great deal of information available on how to avoid accidents during cold weather celebrations (including a clever Safety “Twelve Days of Holiday Safety” piece  on the Government of Canada website).

However, some precautions make sense year round, while others are unique to the summer. The good news is that most hazards are easily avoided with a little planning and common sense. Here are a few examples.   

Stay in Touch

Whether it’s camping, attending a festival or viewing a fireworks display, children (adults, too!) can accidentally get separated from their group, especially after dark. Of course most folks do carry mobile phones these days, but if some members of your group don’t, or if you’re in an  area with limited service, it’s a good idea to have everyone agree on a landmark that will be your meet up spot.

Health Insurance

If you’re headed to B.C. from a different province, most medically necessary care for accidents or illness while you’re here should be covered. Be sure to carry your home province’s health card to avoid paying for services up front and then seeking reimbursement. If you have a chronic illness and are concerned about whether specific costs (for example, transport back to your home province) will be covered, check your province’s rules. If the potential cost of non-covered services is significant,  consider whether obtaining supplemental private insurance may make sense.

Driving Safety

Traffic jams, parking and other problems can make driving on any major holiday stressful. If your Canada Day party is in or near Vancouver, Victoria or another major town, consider taking advantage of public transportation. If you must drive, remember that sun exposure and dehydration can bring on drowsiness. Stay alert for changing road conditions and obstacles, take regular breaks and, on longer trips, try to arrange for someone with whom you can share the driving. His or her conversation can also help you stay awake and alert. Even if you don’t sleep when you’re out from behind the wheel, it’ll be a welcome break.

Firework Safety

The laws governing private use of fireworks vary across B.C. Of course, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many professionally-staged shows around B.C. If you’re planning to be in Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet show continues for a full half hour.  If you can’t resist the lure of lighting your own fuse, be sure a responsible adult is in charge and is setting them off in an open area away from obstructions. Keep spectators (especially children) well back. Use a sturdy, fireproof launching base such as a pail filled with sand and keep water nearby. Never try to relight a “dud”- immerse it in water and set it well away from people.

British Columbia Accident Lawyers

We hope that you have a happy and accident-free Canada Day 2018. If another person’s carelessness does cause an injury to you or a loved one, the experienced personal injury team at Diamond and Diamond is ready to help. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. Our attorneys represent injured individuals throughout British Columbia.


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