5th Session, 42nd Legislature
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THE WILDFIRES AMENDMENT ACT
|Bilingual version (PDF)||Explanatory Note|
(Assented to )
HIS MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
1 The Wildfires Act is amended by this Act.
2 Section 1 is amended
(a) by replacing the definitions "fire guardian", "officer" and "temporary fire guardian" with the following:
"fire guardian" means a person appointed as a fire guardian under section 5 or 14; (« garde-feu »)
"officer" means a person designated or appointed as an officer under section 4.1; (« agent »)
"temporary fire guardian" means a person appointed as a temporary fire guardian under subsection 7(17); (« garde-feu temporaire »)
(b) in the definition "outdoor fire", by striking out "is approved by an officer" and substituting "complies with the requirements prescribed by regulation";
(c) in the definition "wildfire protection operations", by striking out ", investigation"; and
(d) by repealing the definition "work permit".
3 The following is added after section 4:
4.1(1) The following persons are designated as officers to carry out the provisions of this Act and the regulations:
(a) a person or class of persons employed by the department holding a position prescribed by regulation;
(b) a fire guardian;
(c) a conservation officer appointed under The Conservation Officers Act;
(d) the fire commissioner and any deputy fire commissioner or assistant fire commissioner appointed under The Fires Prevention and Emergency Response Act and any inspector appointed or designated under that Act;
(e) a park warden of a national park as defined by the Canada National Parks Act;
(f) a police officer appointed under federal or provincial legislation;
(g) a person or class of persons designated by regulation.
Officers appointed by minister
4.1(2) The minister may appoint any person as an officer to carry out the provisions of this Act and the regulations, subject to specified conditions or with limited powers as specified.
4.2 An officer exercising a power under this Act or the regulations must produce identification on request.
4 Section 5 is replaced with the following:
5 The minister may appoint any person as a fire guardian to carry out the provisions of this Act and the regulations, subject to specified conditions or with limited powers as specified.
5 Section 6 is amended
(a) by replacing the part before clause (a) with the following:
6 For the purpose of this Act and the regulations, the minister may, on behalf of the government, enter into an agreement respecting wildfire protection operations and investigations with
(b) in clause (b), by adding "or territory" at the end.
6 The centred heading "WILDFIRE PROTECTION OPERATIONS" is added before section 7.
7(1) Subsections 7(1), (6) to (9) and (12) are repealed.
7(2) Subsection 7(17) is amended by adding ", subject to specified conditions or with limited powers as specified" at the end.
8 The following is added after section 7 as part of Part 3:
7.1(1) An officer may, at any reasonable time and when reasonably required to administer this Act and the regulations or to determine compliance with them,
(a) enter on or pass over any land or enter any premises and carry out an inspection if the officer reasonably believes relevant evidence or records are maintained there;
(b) require any person to provide information or produce any record for examination, auditing or copying;
(c) use or operate any equipment, in or on the land or premises, or require it to be used or operated, under specific conditions;
(d) conduct any test, take any sample or make any other examination of the land or premises, a process occurring on the land or premises or of any matter found in or on the land or premises;
(e) take photographs or videos or otherwise make a record of the land or premises or any thing in or on the land or premises; and
(f) take any other steps the officer considers necessary.
7.1(2) An officer may be accompanied by one or more persons who may assist the officer in carrying out the inspection.
Authority to enter private dwelling
7.1(3) An officer conducting an inspection must not enter a private dwelling except with the consent of the owner or occupant or under the authority of a warrant.
7.1(4) A justice who is satisfied by information on oath that
(a) an officer has been refused entry to any land or premises to carry out an inspection; or
(b) there are reasonable grounds to believe that
(i) an officer would be refused entry to any land or premises to carry out an inspection, or
(ii) if an officer were to be refused entry to any land or premises to carry out an inspection, delaying the inspection in order to obtain a warrant on the basis of the refusal could be detrimental to the inspection;
may, at any time, issue a warrant authorizing an officer and any other person named in the warrant to enter the land or premises and carry out an inspection.
7.1(5) A warrant under this section may be issued upon application without notice.
7.2(1) The owner or person in charge of the land or premises being inspected or having custody or control of the relevant records or things must
(a) produce or make available to an officer any records and things that the officer requires for the inspection;
(b) provide any assistance or additional information, including personal information, that an officer reasonably requires to perform the inspection; and
(c) answer any questions related to the purpose of the inspection that are asked of them by an officer.
7.2(2) In order to inspect records that may be accessed electronically on the land or at the premises being inspected, an officer may require the person in charge of the land or premises or having custody or control of the relevant records to produce the records in the form of a printout or to produce them in an electronically readable format.
7.2(3) An officer may use equipment on the land or at the premises being inspected to make copies of relevant records and may remove the copies from the land or premises for further examination.
Officer may remove records to make copies
7.2(4) If an officer is not able to make copies of records at the land or premises being inspected, the officer may remove them to make copies, but must give a receipt to the person from whom they were taken and return the originals as soon as practicable.
7.2(5) A copy of a record made under this section and certified to be a true copy by an officer is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, admissible in evidence in any proceeding or prosecution as proof of the original record or document and its contents.
9 The following is added as sections 7.3 and 7.4 as part of Part 3:
Entry for investigation of wildfire
7.3(1) For the purpose of conducting an investigation into the cause, origin and circumstances of a wildfire that affected land or premises, an officer may, with or without the consent of the owner or occupant and, without a warrant, enter on the affected land or premises.
7.3(2) The officer who enters on land or premises under subsection (1) may, without a warrant, enter on adjacent land or premises if the entry is necessary to conduct the investigation of the fire.
7.3(3) An officer who enters land or premises under this section may close the land or premises and prevent entry by any other person for the length of time necessary to complete the investigation of the fire.
7.4(1) An officer who believes on reasonable grounds that
(a) an offence against this Act or the regulations has occurred or is occurring; and
(b) there exists on any land, premises, vehicle or machinery any matter that will afford evidence of the offence;
may, with a warrant issued under subsection (2), enter the land, premises, vehicle or machinery to conduct an investigation and seize the matter.
7.4(2) A justice who is satisfied by information on oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that in any place referred to in subsection (1) there exists matter that will afford evidence of an offence may issue a warrant authorizing an officer and any other person named in the warrant to enter the place to conduct an investigation for the matter and seize it.
7.4(3) A warrant under this section may be issued upon application without notice.
Officer's power without warrant
7.4(4) Despite subsection (1), an officer may exercise the power of search and seizure without a warrant if the conditions for obtaining a warrant exist but it is not practicable in the circumstances to obtain one, in which case the matter seized must be brought before or reported to a justice who will deal with it according to law.
7.4(5) All matter seized under this section may be detained for a period of three months after the date of seizure unless proceedings under this Act are taken, in which case the matter may be further detained until the proceedings are concluded.
10(1) Subsection 12(1) is amended by striking out "or" at the end of clause (c), adding "or" at the end of clause (d) and adding the following as clause (e):
(e) impede investigations under this Act or the regulations.
10(2) Subsection 12(3) is amended by adding the following after clause (b):
(b.1) create or allow an accumulation of slash, debris or waste materials on land that is likely to cause a fire to start or spread;
11 The following is added after section 12 as part of Part 5:
12.1(1) Subject to subsection (2), a person must not carry on the following work within a burning permit area unless the person complies with the requirements prescribed by regulation:
(a) an industrial operation;
(b) construction of a dam, bridge or camp;
(c) construction or operation of a mill that produces timber products;
(d) an operation that is likely to cause the accumulation of slash or debris on land;
(e) any other work prescribed by regulation.
12.1(2) The minister may exempt types of work from subsection (1) by regulation.
12.1(3) If an officer finds a person carrying on work described in subsection (1) without complying with the requirements prescribed by regulation, the officer may order the person to cease work until those requirements have been met to the satisfaction of the officer.
12 Subsection 13(2) is amended by striking out "wildfire protection operations" and substituting "wildfire protection operations and investigations under this Act or the regulations".
13 Section 14 is amended
(a) by striking out "A municipality" and substituting "Subject to the regulations, a municipality"; and
(b) by striking out "and may cancel an appointment at any time" and substituting "subject to specified conditions or with limited powers as specified".
14 Subsection 18(2) is amended by striking out "clause 38(a)" and substituting "clause 38(1)(a)".
15(1) The following is added after subsection 19(1):
Requirements for starting fire
19(1.1) A person who starts a fire in a burning permit area during the wildfire season must comply with the requirements prescribed by regulation.
15(2) Subsection 19(3) is amended by replacing the part before clause (a) with the following:
19(3) An officer or a person designated by regulation may, in accordance with the regulations,
16(1) Subsection 20(1) is amended by striking out "shall make reasonable efforts to have the public notified immediately of the order" and substituting "must make reasonable efforts to publish notice of the closure on the department's website or in any other form the minister considers appropriate".
16(2) Clause 20(3)(c) is amended by striking out "wildfire protection operations" and substituting "wildfire protection operations and investigations under this Act or the regulations".
16(3) Subsection 20(4) is amended by replacing the part before clause (a) with the following:
20(4) An officer or a person designated by regulation may, in accordance with the regulations,
17 Part 9 (Work Permits) is repealed.
18(1) Subsection 26(1) is amended by striking out "the Canadian Transport Agency" in the section heading and in the section and substituting "Transport Canada".
18(2) Subsection 26(3) is amended by adding "or investigations under this Act or the regulations" at the end.
19 Subsection 33(2) is amended by striking out "subsection 7(9)" and substituting "subsection 7(13)".
20(1) Clauses 35(1)(j) and (k) are repealed.
20(2) Subsection 35(2) is replaced with the following:
35(2) When a contravention of this Act or the regulations continues for more than one day, the person is guilty of a separate offence for each day the contravention continues.
20(3) Subsection 35(4) is replaced with the following:
35(4) A person who contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction,
(a) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or both; and
(b) in the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $1,000,000.
Liability of corporate directors or officers
35(4.1) If a corporation commits an offence under this Act or the regulations, a director or officer of the corporation who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the commission of the offence is also guilty of an offence, whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted.
20(4) Subsection 35(5) is amended by striking out "wildfire protection operations" and substituting "wildfire protection operations or investigations under this Act or the regulations".
21(1) Section 38 is amended
(a) in clause (b), by adding ", including who may issue them and the submission of applications and the issuance of permits using the Internet" at the end;
(b) in clause (d), by striking out "disposal" and substituting "accumulation and disposal";
(c) in clause (e), by striking out "persons conscripted or";
(d) by adding the following after clause (f):
(f.1) prescribing or exempting types of work for the purposes of section 12.1;
(f.2) respecting requirements to carry on work described in section 12.1, including fire fighting equipment and fire suppression measures;
(e) in clause (g), by striking out "amounts and types of fire fighting equipment required by" and substituting "fire fighting equipment, fire suppression measures and any other requirements for";
(f) by adding the following after clause (h):
(h.1) respecting containers or fire pits for fires;
(g) in clause (i), by adding ", including requirements for outdoor fires" at the end;
(h) by adding the following after clause (i):
(i.1) respecting area closures under subsection 20(1);
(i.2) respecting notification requirements to carry on an activity in a burning permit area;
(i) by replacing clause (l) with the following:
(l) designating employees who hold certain positions within the department or other persons or classes of persons as officers;
(l.1) specifying any conditions or limitations on a class of officers or their powers;
(l.2) prescribing anything referred to in this Act as being prescribed;
21(2) Section 38 is further amended by renumbering it as subsection 38(1) and adding the following as subsection 38(2):
Regulations may be general or particular
38(2) A regulation under subsection (1) may be general or particular in its application and may apply to one or more classes of persons or things and to the whole or any part of the province.
TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS AND COMING INTO FORCE
22(1) In this section, "former Act" means The Wildfires Act as it read immediately before the coming into force of sections 15 and 17.
22(2) Subject to subsection (3), a work permit issued under the former Act is valid until its expiration date, and a permit holder must continue to comply with any conditions of the permit until the conditions expire.
22(3) If a work permit issued under the former Act is inconsistent with a regulation made under section 38 of The Wildfires Act, as amended by section 21 of this Act, the provisions of the regulation prevail to the extent of any inconsistency.
23 This Act comes into force on April 1, 2024.