News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 15, 2020


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Changes Will Give Province Increased Ability to Respond Effectively During a State of Emergency and Protect Vulnerable Manitobans: Pallister

The Manitoba government is making additions and amendments to strengthen The Emergency Measures Act and enable provincial orders that will aid in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

“The Emergency Measures Amendment Act provides the provincial government with additional tools to respond to challenges that arise during a declared state of emergency and improve our response time to these challenges,” said Pallister. “These changes are part of the Manitoba Protection Plan to support the efforts of our front-line workers and protect Manitoba’s most vulnerable residents from the negative effects of COVID-19.”

The amendments would allow decisive immediate action through provincial orders approved by the lieutenant-governor in council that take effect the day they are made and may have a retroactive effect to the start of the declared state of emergency.  

“These order-making powers will give the province the ability to act swiftly to protect the safety and well-being of Manitobans and the resiliency of our province,” said Pallister. “They will reduce the negative impacts of public health emergencies and natural disasters and prevent people from taking advantage of other Manitobans.”

The amendments would provide the provincial government with authority to make three types of orders:
•    emergency orders, which allow the province to have greater ability to take decisive action to limit serious harm and damage to Manitobans, such as establishing facilities such as emergency shelters, fixing prices for necessary goods and services, and prohibiting price gouging;
•    temporary suspension orders, which briefly suspend certain types of provisions in a statute, regulation or bylaw such as extending the length or a provincial permit or delaying filing deadlines if people affected by the emergency need greater services, benefits, or time than the law normally provides; and
•    reporting deadline variation orders, which extend the time period for government or government agencies to file a report or information, such as extra time to prepare and table annual reports for the legislature during a declared state of emergency. The Speaker of the legislative assembly is also granted authority to issue an order for independent officers of the assembly and members of the legislative assembly.

Currently, only the minister or a local authority may make emergency orders of a limited scope that directly limit loss of life or damage to property and the environment.

Penalties for violating The Emergency Measures Act would increase to a maximum of $100,000 and/or one year imprisonment for individuals and a maximum of $1,000,000 for corporations.

A new provision would also give courts the option to increase the fine for a person convicted of a price gouging offence by an amount equal to the financial benefit acquired.

The amendments authorizing the provincial government to make emergency orders would be temporary and automatically rescinded after one year, while the other order powers would remain within legislation.

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