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What is The Emergency Measures Act?


There has been talk of the possibility of The Emergency Measures Act being imposed.


What is The Emergency Measures Act?


The Emergency Measures Act authorizes the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence.


It is an act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies.


It received royal assent on July 21, 1988, replacing the War Measures Act.


The Emergencies Act differs from the War Measures Act in two important ways:

  • A declaration of an emergency by the Cabinet must be reviewed by Parliament

  • Any temporary laws made under the act are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a result, any attempt by the government to suspend civil rights in Canada, even in an emergency, will be subject to the "reasonable and justified" test under section 1 of the Charter.


The Emergencies Act has never been used. The War Measures Act, which this act replaced, was used on three occasions: during both the First and Second World Wars and during the 1970 October Crisis.