The Legal Implications of Ontario’s State of Emergency

Our partners at BMS have put together a guide on the provincial Government’s response to COVID-19; helpfully, they have outlined the powers the government has during a State of Emergency, as declared yesterday.

A State of Emergency is an incredibly rare, exceptional power for any government to invoke. Specifically, it allows the government to acknowledge that the current set of circumstances are rare and dangerous, and that it needs the ability to go above and beyond its daily functions in order to protect the public.

Of importance to note is that even though a State of Emergency allows the government broader powers, it is still regulated. At the provincial level, SOE is ordered by the Emergency Management and Civil Protect Act—the primary function of this is to mandate that municipalities, ministry’s etc., develop an emergency management program. Once a SOE is declared, these institutions are required to utilize their established plan.  

For detailed breakdown of the measures in place to protect the public please see the attached file created by our partners.

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