Emergency Program Act Discussion Paper

As part of its effort to improve emergency management throughout BC, the Province is seeking stakeholder input regarding the Emergency Program Act. Local governments have until January 31, 2020 to provide feedback to the provincial discussion paperModernizing BC’s Emergency Management Legislation. Input will be considered as the Province works to draft new legislation by Fall 2020.

The release of the discussion paper comes following limited consultation with several stakeholder groups, including UBCM’s Flood and Wildfire Advisory Committee. Policy proposals reflect a greater emphasis on the mitigation and recovery phases of emergency management, in addition to the preparedness and response phases. There is also a shift towards an ‘all-of-society’ approach in sharing responsibility for disaster risk reduction, consistent with the United Nations Sendai Framework.

The Province has proposed 29 policy shifts for consideration. A significant number of these recommendations stand to impact local governments, including several that could place additional obligations and responsibilities on local authorities. The potential impact on local government human and financial resources underscores the importance of local input into this process, in advance of the provincial government repealing and replacing the Emergency Program Act.

Local input may be provided via email, or by mailing comments to:

Attn: Citizen Engagement
PO BOX 9484 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9W6

UBCM intends to provide the provincial government with a summary of local perspectives obtained through this review. As such, local governments are also asked to provide their responses to Bhar Sihota, UBCM Policy Analyst.


The Emergency Program Act(EPA) “provides the legislative framework for the management of disasters and emergencies in British Columbia”. It outlines the responsibilities of local governments, provincial authorities and crown corporations and the Province’s emergency management program. In particular, it provides the authority to declare a state of emergency, in addition to requiring local governments, provincial ministries, crown corporations and other government agencies to develop emergency management plans and programs to respond to disasters, emergencies and catastrophes in British Columbia. 

The Emergency Program Actwas first introduced in 1993, and has undergone minimal change since that time.

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