Ministerial Orders for Local Government

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General, announced ministerial orders today that have immediate and direct relevance of local government service delivery in relation to COVID-19 response. Minister Farnworth suspended local states of emergency in BC specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, excepting the City of Vancouver. Other orders pertained to local government meetings, delivery bylaws and the use of bylaw officers to enforce provincial health orders.

Under the Emergency Program Act (EPA), the Province has the authority to “cancel a declaration of a state of local emergency at any time the Minister or Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate.” Once a local state of emergency is terminated, affected local authorities, under section 15(1) of the EPA, must communicate that decision to their residents.

Three orders were issued today to address the following:

  • Suspending states of local emergency; clarifying emergency powers of local authorities; suspending any local bylaws that restrict the delivery of goods; allowing for the use of local publicly owned facilities to support the provincial response to COVID-19 (e.g. self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing, and distribution); the requirement for mutual aid agreements; and steps to safeguard goods and supplies for critical services.
  • Enabling local government bylaw officers to enforce the Provincial Health Officer’s orders related to business closures and public gatherings; and
  • Providing the ability to hold more flexible meetings to expedite decisions.

Ministers Farnworth and Robinson held a teleconference following the announcement with local Mayors & Chairs to respond to questions.

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