Changes to the Emergency Program Act

The existing Emergency Program Act (EPA) was introduced in 1993, but has roots in Canada’s War Measures Act from 1914. Much has changed, and new legislation is needed to address modern realities, like more frequent floods and wildfires due to climate change, as well as the lasting impacts those events have on communities.

Modernizing the Act

B.C. took a significant step towards modernizing the EPA in 2018 by adopting the Sendai Framework, which was developed by the United Nations in 2015. The framework is now followed by 187 countries worldwide and represents international best practices for managing emergencies. The new Act will formally align B.C. with this leading-edge approach, as well as reflect:

  • Lessons learned from the unprecedented flood and wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018;
  • All four pillars of emergency management – mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; and,
  • The importance of risk reduction to stop disasters from happening and lessen their impacts when they do.


  • January - September 2019 Initial Engagement
  • October 28, 2019 Discussion Paper posted
  • October 28 - January 2020 Comment Period on Discussion Paper
  • Early Spring 2020 What We Heard report posted
  • Fall 2020 Modernized legislation introduced
  • Spring 2021 Implementation for 2021 flood and wildfire seasons

Your Voice

B.C. asked for feedback on this direction to ensure a modernized Act will build a more resilient province, as our environment continues to change. The engagement period closed at 4 p.m. January 31. It was open to the public, emergency management partners and key stakeholders.

Discussion Paper

Feedback was collected based on the discussion paper, Modernizing BC’s Emergency Management Legislation (PDF, 3.4 MB), which details the need for change and how the Province proposes to go about it. 

What happens to my feedback?

Your feedback will inform drafting of the new legislation, which is expected to be introduced in the Fall 2020 legislative session. It will also be captured in a 'What we Heard' report, encapsulating comments received during the engagement. The report will be posted to this site and shared proactively with key stakeholders.

Collection Notice: Personal information collected by the Ministry of Citizens’ Services for the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General is under the authority of section 26(c) and 26(e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of informing the Emergency Program Act Modernization. If you have any questions about the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information, please contact: Director of Citizen Engagement, PO Box 9409, STN PROV GOVT, Victoria BC, V8W 9V1, 250 208-3591. If you have any questions on the citizen engagement process, please email