The B.C. government is calling upon emergency management practitioners, community and First Nations leaders, businesses, non-profit organizations and other interested British Columbians to provide their input and expertise as the Province prepares to modernize its emergency management legislation.
To gather input on proposed legislative changes, the Province is releasing a discussion paper for comment, outlining the proposed direction for modernized emergency management legislation. Individuals or organizations can provide their feedback until Jan. 31, 2020, on proposed legislative changes that would:
- encompass all stages of emergency management — mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery;
- reflect a shift from disaster response to managing and reducing disaster risk;
- include an all-of-society approach where emergency management is a shared responsibility of individuals, governments, communities and private and non-profit sectors;
- further reconciliation efforts by recognizing First Nations as partners in emergency management;
- put safety first, with the protection of life, health and safety being paramount;
- make sure decisions made under the act and its regulations are transparent;
- include a funding mechanism that is responsive, flexible and disciplined; and
- ensure the act is inclusive and considers the needs of vulnerable citizens.
Since the Emergency Program Act was introduced in 1993, changes in the size and scope of emergencies, along with how they are managed, have occurred and need to be reflected in legislation. These include climate change concerns and the adoption of the United Nations’ Sendai Framework, which is an internationally acknowledged approach to emergency management disaster risk reduction.
Following the unprecedented flood and wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018, updates to the legislation will reflect recommendations from the Abbott-Chapman Report, the report by the Tsilhqot’in National Government on the 2017 wildfires and numerous after-action reports. Updated legislation is expected to be introduced in the fall 2020 legislative session.
The Emergency Program Act is B.C.’s primary piece of legislation for supporting disaster risk management. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and the provincial government when preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies. The act establishes the conditions under which governments may declare a state of emergency and deploy emergency powers to protect livelihoods and damage to property.
Feedback will be accepted until 4:00pm on January 31, 2020.
During this time, you can download the Emergency Management Legislation Discussion Paper and share your feedback in several different ways including:
- Email your comments to: EmergencyProgramAct@gov.bc.ca
- Mail your comments to:
Attn: Citizen Engagement
PO BOX 9484 Stn Prov Govt
About the image: Ashcroft Reserve wildfire burning at Loon Lake, BC, in 2017. Image by Shawn Cahill, CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia