The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR) has engaged in legislation and regulation co-development with First Nations title and rights holders, the First Nations Leadership Council, the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations and a range of other service organizations. Modernized legislation is expected to be introduced in Fall 2023. Co-development and engagement opportunities will continue to shift to focus on regulations to be made under the new Act over the coming months and beyond. Some draft implementation plans and tools are also in development.
Significant policy shifts that align with the Declaration Act include the following: recognizing First Nations rights and the role of Indigenous governing bodies in relation to emergencies; enabling agreements with Indigenous governing bodies to support collaboration and decision-making; requiring consultation and co-operation with Indigenous governing bodies across the phases of emergency management and prior to taking land-based response actions; embedding cultural safety in all phases of emergency management; and including Indigenous knowledges in risk assessments and plans.
- Legislation drafted: Draft Emergency Disaster Management Act is complete and is planned to be introduced in Fall 2023.
How are we working together?
Engagement initiated in 2019 laid the groundwork for the new legislation. The COVID-19 pandemic suspended the process, then in 2022, EMCR reset the engagement process and began the co-development process with First Nations. Throughout 2022, EMCR hosted regional sessions with First Nations to inform updated policy intentions and legislative development. Legislation was shared with First Nations in late Fall 2022 and revised based on feedback. Engagement with First Nations will inform development of regulations.
Are there challenges?
The project involves time constraints and engagement timelines are compressed. Timelines have been reset at several points.
Capacity for all 203 First Nations to participate in the co-development process is limited by resources. Some communities are still in recovery from emergency events in their communities. The team is considering ways to minimize engagement fatigue and to enable more partners to participate.