Declaration of a State of Local Emergency
Under the Emergency Management Act section 21, local authorities can declare a state of local emergency to create a legal state of affairs of a temporary nature so that the local authority may take extraordinary actions to deal with the situation at hand. Examples of extraordinary powers available under section 19 (1) of the Emergency Management Act include:
acquire real or personal property (e.g. resources, equipment)
conscript people to assist with the emergency
enter land and buildings without a warrant
control or prohibit travel
remove structures, trees, crops
fix prices for essential items, such as food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies
Section 28 states "No action lies against a local authority or a person acting under the local authority’s direction or authorization for anything done or omitted to be done in good faith while carrying out a power or duty under this Act or the regulations during a state of local emergency". “Good Faith” requires decisions to be made openly and honestly.
A state of local emergency may be for all or any part of the municipality.
The declaration must identify the nature of the emergency and the area in which it exists.
The local authority is also required to notify the affected population.
A state of local emergency lapses after 7 days unless it is renewed or cancelled by the local authority or cancelled by the Minister. After a local authority declares a state of local emergency, they would monitor the situation and cancel the state of local emergency if it is no longer required.
A declaration of a state of local emergency is not a requirement in order for a local authority or citizens to be eligible for financial assistance through a disaster recovery program. The Disaster Recovery Regulation governs eligibility and criteria for a disaster recovery program. However, section 24 (2) of the Act says that the local authority of a municipality may borrow, within 60 days of declaring a SOLE, any money necessary to pay expenses caused by the emergency.
A local authority is not required to declare a state of local emergency in order to activate their emergency operations centre or their municipal emergency plan. Portions or the entire municipal emergency plan may be activated as required to manage an emergency or disaster.
The local authority must forward a copy of the official declaration of the state of local emergency to the Minister, Alberta Municipal Affairs via the AEMA.
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