December 10, 2020

Legislation Introduced to Strengthen Emergency Planning Laws

Today, government introduced amendments to emergency planning legislation in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Planning Amendment Act will include provisions increasing the maximum fines for persons who are guilty of an offence under the Act, specifically those related to non-compliance with emergency orders.  The new maximum fines will be $7,500 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations, up from $2,000 and $10,000 respectively.  While police will continue to issue tickets for most minor infractions, these more significant fines will act as a deterrent and penalty for those who carry out more serious offences.

“The people of Saskatchewan continue to show their strength during these difficult times, and government is committed to putting the necessary measures in place to ensure the health, safety and economic well-being of our province,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said.

The new legislation will confirm and clarify protections for individuals and organizations from litigation based on COVID-19 transmission, if there has been good-faith compliance with emergency orders and other applicable laws.  Where there is gross negligence, liability protection will not apply.  Similar laws were recently passed in Ontario and British Columbia.

“This Act will honour the tremendous efforts of individuals, organizations and businesses that are working on the frontline, while complying with public health rules and requirements,” Wyant said.

The Emergency Planning Act was not originally designed to address an ongoing emergency on the magnitude of COVID-19.  The long-term and large scale nature of this pandemic has highlighted the need for updated legislation.  The Emergency Planning Amendment Act, 2020 will clarify the ability to enforce the emergency orders and ensure that the province is equipped to meet these challenges.