Yukon declares state of emergency in response to COVID-19

The Government of Yukon is declaring a state of emergency under the Civil Emergency Measures Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not indicate a significant change in circumstances or an increased risk to Yukoners but prepares the government to take rapid action if needed.

Declaring a state of emergency will make deploying resources to protect Yukoners and limit the spread of COVID-19 more efficient. This move is in line with many provinces and territories across Canada.

Cooperation with all public health measures is critical to the response to COVID-19. Limiting the spread of COVID-19 by closely observing all self-isolation orders is essential to keep this disease from spreading in the territory.

The most up to date information on COVID-19 in Yukon can be found at yukon.ca/covid-19.

This action should not alarm Yukoners, it is to prepare a government to respond quickly to their needs. This measure is an important step will give us the tools we need to protect Yukoners and fight against the spread of COVID-19 now and in the future. Yukoners, you must follow the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health to protect our territory from the further spread of this virus.

Premier Sandy Silver 

Quick facts 
  • The Civil Emergency Measures Act gives the Government of Yukon the ability to act in a fluid and uncertain emergency.

  • A declaration under the Civil Emergency Measures Act lasts for 90 days but may be terminated before then.

Backgrounder 
  • The Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA), when invoked, provides for a very wide-range of potential solutions in an emergency by Ministerial Order, or by regulation, made under its authority. 
  • In Yukon, non-routine Ministerial Orders are traditionally signed only after Cabinet has reached consensus that it wishes the empowered Minister to do so.
  • The CEMA can be invoked by Cabinet if it is of the opinion that a disaster, real or apprehended, resulting from epidemic whereby injury or loss is or may be caused to persons or property in Yukon.
  • The CEMA is deliberately structured to provide the power to act in a fluid and uncertain emergency. Essentially, the government would be empowered (primarily through the Minister of Community Services) to “do all things considered advisable for the purpose of dealing with the emergency”, including but not limited to:
    • protect people and property;
    • maintain, clear and control the use of roads and streets;
    • requisition or otherwise obtain and distribute accommodation, food, clothing and other services;
    • provide and maintain water supplies, electrical power and sewage disposal;
    • assist in the enforcement of law;
    • fight and prevent fires;
    • protect the health, safety and welfare of local inhabitants; and,
    • put into effect any civil emergency plans.
  • Orders or regulations under the CEMA can override all other YG Acts except those with a special paramountcy clause including the Financial Administration Act, the Human Rights Act, and the Health Information and Privacy Management Act.  
  • A declaration under CEMA is for 90 days but may be terminated before then or continued as needed.
  • CEMA allows for municipalities to also declare states of emergencies, either during or outside of a Government of Yukon emergency. 
  • When a state of emergency is in place, there are specified limits of liability in respect to actions taken or not taken in an emergency. Specifically persons operating under the authority of the Act are not liable for damage caused by interference with the rights of others and cannot be subjected to legal proceedings because of actions taken or not taken in respect to the emergency.
Contact 

Sunny Patch                    
Cabinet Communications
867-332-0362
Sunny.patch@gov.yk.ca

Jordan Jackle
Communications, Executive Council Office
867-667-5341
jordan.jackle@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
20-079