States of emergency

Who can declare a state of local emergency and a state of emergency, why they’re used and how long they last.

The Government of Nova Scotia can declare a state of emergency that lasts 14 days. A municipal government can declare a state of local emergency that lasts 7 days. Citizens are expected to follow instructions during an emergency, and retailers can’t inflate prices of essential items and services.

Types of states of emergency

The Emergency Management Act allows for 2 separate types of states of emergency.

The first is a state of local emergency. The municipal government enacts it either through a resolution of council or by the direct request of the municipal mayor or warden. It’s valid for 7 days and can be renewed.

The second is a state of emergency. The minister responsible for emergency management for the province declares it. It’s valid for 14 days and can be renewed.

States of emergency can be declared for a specific geographical portion of the province or province-wide.

Declaring a state of local emergency or a state of emergency isn’t required to access disaster financial assistance or other government funding.

Reasons to declare a state of emergency

A state of emergency provides government with the authority to do whatever is necessary for the safety of people and the protection of property and the environment. More specifically, a state of emergency permits authorities to:

  • control or prohibit travel
  • enter homes and buildings without warrant
  • order evacuations
  • confiscate property
  • order assistance

What citizens need to do during a state of emergency

During a state of emergency, citizens need to follow the instruction given by authorities. They also need to obey any orders given by the Government of Nova Scotia or a municipality. Certain circumstances may require citizens to stay in their homes or to evacuate to a reception centre or shelter.

No price gouging (inflation) allowed on essential items and services

The Emergency Management Act makes it an offence to inflate the price of essential items and services in times of an emergency. Essential items and services can include things like food, water, clothing, essential equipment and medical supplies.

Contact your local police to report any suspected cases of price inflation (gouging) during times of an emergency. If you feel you’ve been the victim of price inflation (gouging), you should keep all relevant receipts.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) state of emergency

A state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 is in effect.