Local Emergency Termination Process

Res #: 7-11M
Number: 7
Year: 2011
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing

WHEREAS Section 22 (1) of The Emergency Planning Act states that “A local emergency declaration expires at the end of seven days from the time the declaration was made unless it is earlier renewed pursuant to subsection (2)”; and

WHEREAS Section 23 (1) states “When, in the opinion of the local authority: (a) an emergency no longer exists in an area with respect to which a local emergency declaration was made…the local authority shall terminate the local emergency declaration with respect to that area”; and

WHEREAS it was necessary for the RM of Benson No. 35 to declared a new state of emergency every seven days due to spring flooding and the continuous threat of overland flooding; and

WHEREAS calling special meetings every seven days to declare a state of emergency is costly and time consuming;

BE IT RESOLVED that section 22 (1) be deleted from The Emergency Planning Act and that termination of local emergencies be made in accordance with section 23 (1) of the Act.

Response from D.F. (Yogi) Huyghebaert, Minister of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing:

Resolution 7-11M requests that the Province remove section 22(1) of The Emergency Planning Act to remove the requirement for municipalities to renew their declarations of a local emergency every seven days. CPSP is committed to supporting municipalities in their emergency response efforts wherever possible and will actually be reviewing the act in 2012 to ensure that it provides the best solution to present-day emergency planning challenges.

Specific to Section 22(1), the requirement for renewal of a local emergency declaration is consistent with legislation across Canada, with some variance of the number of days that may elapse prior to renewal. This is intentionally done, as declarations are meant to apply during the response phase of an emergency, which is often a reasonably limited duration, and are not intended to continue throughout recovery. These renewals, like the original declarations, do not require a quorum; the act specifically makes allowances for situations in which council members may not be able to meet in person, and it would be quite reasonable for such decisions to be made via teleconference, and signed by only one council member.