Thursday, July 30, 2020

BC Government returns some Local Emergency Authority to municipalities ... but with conditions

The Province of British Columbia has rescinded some of its past measures
on Local States of Emergency; however any municipal COVID
 related measures 
will still require the approval of the BC Government
(Photo from City of PR)

Some past measures put in place to restrict Local municipal governments on Emergency authority have been rescinded by the provincial government today; with Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth outlining some of the moves as the BC government moves forward with the Restart BC program.

As part of today's announcement Mr. Farnworth announced that the government was rescinding a provision that set aside declarations of local states of emergency made on or before March 26, 2020.

However there is a caveat for municipal governments such as the City of Prince Rupert to take note of, with Local authorities still required to seek approval from the Province before making a new declaration of a state of local emergency, or using any extraordinary powers in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities will however now have no restrictions on their ability to enact states of local emergency or use of extraordinary powers as they relate to other issues such as floods and fires.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain
The suspension of the municipal Local States of Emergency was a flash point between the City of Prince Rupert and the province back in March.

At the time, many of the City's wide ranging and somewhat controversial plans towards a COVID response, were for the most part quashed by the province's moves to enact its own State of Emergency Orders.

March 26 -- Prince Rupert Mayor takes issue with Provincial order to suspend Local State of Emergency
March 26 -- City of Prince Rupert closes Emergency Operations Centre, suspends Local State of Emergency
March 26 -- Province of British Columbia suspends all Local States of Emergency; introduces range of new measures under Provincial State of Emergency
March 24 -- City of Prince Rupert issues first of two orders under Local State of Emergency
March 24 -- Six who said Aye ... Council members statements of the declaration of a Local State of Emergency in Prince Rupert
March 23 -- State of Local Emergency declared in Prince Rupert ... details to follow sometime this week

The provincial move from March continues to serve as a bit of a narrative for Prince Rupert City Council, with some city councillors making note of their frustrations from it over the last few months in council sessions.

July 23 -- COVID concerns still on the minds of Prince Rupert City Council
April 30 -- Lingering disappointment and bitterness mark Council's comments over quashed Local State of Emergency

Today's announcement will mean that the City would still require approval from the Province should they wish to revisit their list of measures that they had in mind from March.

You can review more on today's announcement from this statement from Minister Farnworth.

For more notes related to Prince Rupert Council see our archive page here.   

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