Government of Canada declaration and revocation of a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act to end disruptions, blockades and the occupation of the city of Ottawa

On February 14, 2022, the federal government declared a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act to end disruptions, blockades and the occupation of the city of Ottawa. The declaration of a public order emergency was revoked by the federal government on February 23, 2022.

Emergencies Act

In order to declare a public order emergency, Canada’s Emergencies Act requires that there be a national emergency that arises from threats to the security of Canada. Threats to the security of Canada may include the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political or ideological objective.

National Emergency

A national emergency is an urgent, temporary and critical situation that:

It must be a situation that cannot be effectively dealt with by any other law of Canada.

Procedural steps

There are additional, strict safeguards built into the Emergencies Act to ensure democratic oversight and accountability during an emergency.

Declaration of public order emergency

When a public order emergency is declared under the Emergencies Act, it allows the federal government to make certain orders and regulations that it believes, on reasonable grounds, are necessary for dealing with the emergency. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms continues to protect individual rights. Any measures taken under the Act must be reasonable and proportionate to the risks posed to public safety and the well-being of Canadians. 

The Government of Canada must formally, by proclamation, declare an emergency, effective from the day it is made.

The Declaration expires after 30 days unless an extension is confirmed within specific timelines by both the House of Commons and the Senate or is revoked. At any time, the Senate or the House of Commons can review and potentially revoke the Declaration and revoke and amend any orders or regulations made under the Act. The Government of Canada may also revoke the Declaration at any time by way of a proclamation by the Governor in Council under section 22 of the Emergencies Act.

Motion

The Government must table a motion for confirmation of a declaration of emergency in both the House of Commons and the Senate within seven sitting days after the declaration is issued. The motion must be tabled with an explanation of the reasons for issuing the declaration.

Consultations

The Act requires consultation with the provinces and territories before a Declaration is issued.

Once a Declaration is issued, a report must be tabled in Parliament within seven sitting days explaining the consultations that have taken place.

Read the report, which also includes the letters from the Prime Minister to Premiers.

Orders and Regulations

Any Government actions taken to respond to the emergency must be tabled in both the House of Commons and the Senate within two days after the Government issues the orders or regulations. This ensures that the Government’s actions are transparent and that the Government will be accountable before Parliament for its actions.

Emergency Measures Regulations:

Emergency Economic Measures Order:

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