Report to the Houses of Parliament: Emergencies Act Consultations

February 16, 2022

Background and the Requirement to Consult

On February 14, 2022, the Governor in Council declared a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act. Section 25 of the Act requires the Governor in Council to consult the Lieutenant Governor in Council of each province with respect to a proposal to declare a public order emergency. A report of these consultations must be laid before each House of Parliament within seven sitting days after the declaration is issued, in accordance with section 58 of the Act.


Since the crisis began in late January, federal ministers and officials have continuously engaged provinces and territories, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies to assess the situation and to offer the support and assistance of the Government of Canada. Staff in the Prime Minister's Office and in various Minister's offices had ongoing communications with Premiers' offices and related ministers' offices throughout this period. Examples of engagement with provincial, municipal, and international partners include the following:

Federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) officials have also met on a multilateral and bilateral basis, including the following:

The Government of Canada also engaged Indigenous leaders regarding the blockades. For example, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations spoke with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the President of the Métis National Council, the Grand Chief of Akwesasne, and the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Southern Chief's Organization.

The decisions on next steps and to consult premiers on the Emergencies Act was informed by all of the federal ministerial and senior official engagement with provinces since the onset of the crisis.

Consultations on the Emergencies Act with First Ministers

The Prime Minister convened a First Ministers' Meeting on February 14, 2022, to consult premiers on whether to declare a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act. The Prime Minister was joined by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Minister of Public Safety. All premiers participated.

The Prime Minister explained why the declaration of a public order emergency might be necessary and formally consulted premiers. The Minister of Justice outlined potential measures the Government of Canada was contemplating to take under the Emergencies Act to supplement the measures in the provinces' jurisdiction and respond to the urgent and unprecedented situation. The Prime Minister asked what measures could be supplemented through the Emergencies Act by using proportional, time-limited authorities.

Each premier was given the opportunity to provide his/her perspectives on the current situation – both nationally and in their own jurisdiction – and whether a declaration of public order emergency should be issued. A variety of views and perspectives were shared at the meeting. Some premiers indicated support for the proposed measures as necessary to resolve the current situation, noting they would be focused on targeted areas, time-limited, and would be subject to ongoing engagement. Other premiers did not feel the Emergencies Act was needed at this time, arguing that provincial and municipal governments have sufficient authority to address the situation in their respective jurisdictions. Some premiers expressed caution that invoking the Emergencies Act could escalate the situation.

While the views expressed at the First Ministers' Meeting were shared in confidence, premiers provided their perspectives in public statements following the First Ministers' Meeting.

During the First Ministers' Meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized that a final decision had not yet been made, and that the discussion amongst First Ministers would inform the Government of Canada's decision.

There was further engagement with provinces following the First Ministers' Meeting and prior to the Government of Canada's decision to declare a public order emergency on February 14, 2022:

The Prime Minister considered all of the comments shared at the First Ministers' Meeting, as well as the many other sources of information and intelligence. He announced his intention to invoke the Emergencies Act with targeted, time-limited measures that would complement provincial and municipal authorities late in the day on February 14, 2022.

On February 15, 2022 the Prime Minister wrote to all premiers, outlining the reasons why the Government of Canada decided to declare a public order emergency and described the types of measures that would be available under the Act. The letter responded to issues raised during the discussion, particularly on whether the declaration of a public order emergency should apply nationally. For example, the letter emphasized that the measures would be applied to targeted areas; that measures would supplement, rather than replace, provincial and municipal authorities; that these are tools that could be employed by police of local jurisdiction, at their discretion; and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would be engaged only when requested by local authorities. The letter also emphasized the Government of Canada's strong interest in further engagement and collaboration with provinces and territories on these issues.

Next Steps

Consistent with the Emergencies Act's requirements, the Government of Canada is committed to ongoing consultation and collaboration with the provinces and territories to ensure that the federal response complements the efforts of their governments. Ongoing consultation will also be necessary should there be a need to modify or extend existing orders under the Emergencies Act.

Supported by their officials, Ministers engaged with their counterparts following the First Ministers' Meeting, and will continue to engage provinces and territories on an ongoing basis. They will be available to quickly respond to specific issues or situations, as they arise. More recent engagement includes:

The Government of Canada will continue to gather and assess feedback through these ongoing engagements to assess the orders and regulations under the Emergencies Act and to ensure a coordinated and effective response on behalf of Canadians.