Emergency Program Act Review Underway

On January 11, 2016, the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto announced the release of a discussion paper to support and facilitate feedback on the Emergency Program Act (EPA). The deadline for local government feedback is February 19, 2016.

At its meeting last week, UBCM Executive identified a concern with the limited time provided for local government consultation. President Al Richmond will be writing to Minister Yamamoto to propose an extension on the deadline for input, and to request additional engagement with local government.  UBCM staff have also received assurance from Emergency Management BC staff that the current feedback period is only the beginning of the overall process for the review. Once details are made known for the next phase of local government consultation, UBCM will communicate those to the membership.

Introduced in 1993, the EPA outlines the key responsibilities and authorities used to direct local and provincial authorities in emergency and disaster preparation, response and recovery. The discussion paper, Prepared and Resilient: A Discussion Paper on the Legislative Framework for Emergency Management in British Columbia, outlines some provincially-identified challenges and proposals for change regarding the current legislation, which itself has undergone minimal change since 1993.

Formal responses to the discussion paper may be submitted to the Province via e-mail, with the added request that all local government feedback also be sent to Bhar Sihota, UBCM Policy Analyst. The Ministry of State for Emergency Preparedness will subsequently analyze stakeholder input for themes and suggestions, and prepare a report for the Cabinet Committee on Secure Tomorrow.

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