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Legislation Being Introduced To Improve How Alberta’s Government Responds To Emergencies

Legislation is being introduced to improve how Alberta’s government responds to emergencies.
According to a press release, flood, drought, and wildfire emergencies are most likely to happen during May and June. Examples provided by the province include the Slave Lake fire of 2011, the Calgary and area floods of 2013, the Fort McMurray fire of 2016, and the record wildfire season in Alberta in 2023.
Mike Ellis, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, was on hand yesterday in Edmonton to announce the Emergency Statutes Amendment Act, 2024. The proposed legislation would ensure the province has the necessary authority to more quickly and effectively manage emergencies.
Ellis says amendments to the Emergency Management Act will provide clear mechanisms for the Alberta government to intervene and provide the unique and appropriate level of response to manage the emergency from a local authority. He says “As we saw last year, disasters are becoming more severe and more complex, and can rapidly jump across multiple jurisdictions. It is crucial for the government to be able to respond quickly to better protect the lives of Albertans and the communities where they live. I want to be clear, the local authorities will continue to be responsible for emergency planning and emergency response in their jurisdictions, unless the government decides there is a need to take over a local response. The government would only assume control of a local response in circumstances where there is an obvious need for additional provincial oversight and support.”
The proposed legislation to strengthen how the province responds to emergencies would also include changes to the Election Act.
Ellis says it would change the date of the next provincial election which is currently scheduled for May 31st, 2027 to October 18th of 2027.
According to Ellis, moving the provincial election from May to October lessens the likelihood of a provincial election coinciding with a natural disaster such as a fire or flood.
More information about the Emergency Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 is available on the website.

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