Updated rules protect Albertans from disaster

Emergency management partners set up a temporary dam during a training exercise in spring 2018.

The Emergency Management Amendment Act is now in effect, providing communities with an easy reference as they develop and refine their emergency management plans and programs.

“We have all seen the number and severity of disasters increase over the years – and every time a major event happens, we learn from it. By updating our legislation, we are applying what we have learned and are working with municipalities to help them better prepare for disasters and keep Albertans safe.”

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Changes to the act also allow for the addition of the Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation.

The regulation will come into force Jan. 1, 2020 to give municipalities sufficient time to implement. The regulation will ensure:

  • Municipalities have up-to-date emergency plans and programs that are regularly reviewed and exercised.
  • Elected officials and municipal employees are trained for their roles and understand their responsibilities.
  • Responsibilities and functions of municipal emergency advisory committees and emergency management agencies are clear.
  • Regional collaboration agreements with other municipalities are clear.

“The update to the Emergency Management Act and addition of the Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation not only demonstrate the importance of emergency management in Alberta, but also support all municipalities by providing a clear and objective set of requirements to assist in ensuring we continually strive to improve our internal processes.”

Merrick Brown, director, Health, Safety, Environment & Emergency Management, City of Medicine Hat

Over the summer, the government engaged with 92 municipalities and five organizations to gather input that helped inform the new regulation. First responders, local elected officials, municipal directors of emergency management, Metis Settlements and First Nations all participated in the discussions. The resulting feedback has been issued in a report that is now available online.

Minister Anderson announced the amendments and the addition of the regulation at the Alberta Emergency Management Agency Summit on Dec. 5. The summit brings together emergency management partners from across Alberta to help strengthen and build relationships and offer opportunities for professional development.

The Emergency Management Amendment Act was introduced in April 2018. It was passed on Nov. 1 and came into force on Nov. 19.

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New legal supports for sexual violence survivors

The Government of Alberta provided a $700,000 grant to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton for the pilot initiative.

“For anyone who’s endured the trauma of a sexual assault, trying to figure out where to turn to for help can be scary and overwhelming. Helping survivors of sexual violence understand their legal options is an important step in empowering them to move forward on their healing journey. I’m grateful to the Elizabeth Fry Society and participating lawyers for their partnership in providing new legal resources to people who need those services the most.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Status of Women

For years, we have been hearing from survivors of sexual violence who have been sitting with their pain and suffering, not knowing what options are available to them or what they can do to move forward. This program is about providing legal advice from a rights-based approach, and we hope to help as many folks as possible who have experienced sexual violence. We continue to be amazed by their courage and bravery.

Toni Sinclair, executive director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton

As part of their involvement in this project, participating lawyers have received specialized training in trauma-informed practice, gender-based and intersectional approaches, and Indigenous historical trauma. The project offers support, resources and referrals to help sexual violence survivors better understand their options as they seek healing and justice.

The three-year pilot program is being rolled out in municipalities served by the Elizabeth Fry Society, including Edmonton, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Morinville, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Ponoka, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, and a number of Indigenous communities.

The project is open to adult survivors of all genders who have experienced sexual violence in Alberta, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.

Survivors of sexual violence wishing to learn more about the program can email legal_advice@efryedmonton.ab.ca or call 780-784-2213.

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