April 21st, 2020 – On Thursday, April 16th, the Squamish Nation Council voted to declare a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19.
Declaring a local state of emergency allows the Nation to take additional measures to ensure it has the resources required to maintain essential services, as well as to implement orders to provide for the health of residents on the reserves and to prevent the spread of contagious and infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
These measures include the authority to:
• acquire or use any land or personal property considered necessary to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 emergency, including the use of buildings to assist with the increased demands for healthcare, shelter and childcare;
• procure on a first-priority basis any clothing, equipment, medical supplies or other essential supplies required to cope with the emergency, for the duration of the emergency; and,
• restrict, limit or prohibit the use or occupancy of any premises within the Squamish Nation reserves.
The Squamish Nation enacted this declaration under Sections 81 and 86 of the Indian Act, which gives the Council powers to enact bylaws. The bylaw is posted online at www.squamish.net/covid-19.
The Squamish Nation will work with local law enforcement agencies and the First Nations Integrated Policing Unit to help educate residents and trespassers about the bylaw. Squamish Nation staff are exploring additional strategies to use awareness and education initiatives before exercising more severe measures such as fines.
The Squamish Nation is continuing to monitor the provincial and federal health orders and will anticipate and address issues in this pandemic crisis. The Nation also continues to provide emergency financial support to members in crisis through its Emergency Support Services. Members are encouraged to contact 604-980-4553 and speak to an intake officer if they require assistance.
For more details, see “A By-law to Declare a State of Emergency in the Squamish Nation” at www.squamish.net/covid-19.
— 30 —
Lauren Hutchison, Sr. Communications Officer
604-363-4055 / firstname.lastname@example.org