Proactive decisions are being made on Prince Edward Island to minimize the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federation of PEI Municipalities commends municipal governments for quickly responding to the recommendations of the Chief Public Health Officer.
As this rapidly changing situation continues to evolve, municipalities are urged to regularly follow public announcements by the Chief Public Health Officer and, in making any decision, to continue to follow the direction of the Chief Public Health Officer. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island visit: princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/covid-19.
COVID-19 – Important Links
COVID-19 – Municipal Affairs
Municipal Affairs has developed a Municipal Administration FAQ page.
Municipal Affairs is providing information and advice to municipalities through newsletters and Municipal Affairs and EMO have partnered to provide regular conference calls with municipalities.
Any municipality that has questions for Municipal Affairs or is not receiving the newsletter or invitations to conference calls is encouraged to contact Municipal Affairs by email at email@example.com or by calling 902-620-3558. The Municipal Affairs Division has moved to an essential/reduced services model. Please be patient as they work hard to respond to your questions and concerns in a timely manner.
Minister Fox Has Extended All MGA Administrative Deadlines
Minister Jamie Fox has extended all Municipal Government Act administrative deadlines until further notice. This includes the requirement for a public meeting in respect of the financial plan, adoption of the financial plan by council, and submission of the financial plan to the Minister.
Municipal Affairs encourages you to resume completing your financial plan as soon as you can while respecting the directives of the Chief Public Health Officer and protecting the health and safety of all concerned.
COVID-19 – Emergency Measures Organization (EMO)
If you have questions for PEI EMO you can contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 902-894-0385.
Emergency Management Plans and Reminder from EMO
Do you have an Emergency Management Bylaw?
Does your municipality have an Emergency Management Plan?
A provincial state of health emergency does not necessarily imply the same conditions that would require a state of local emergency. A state of local emergency only needs to be declared when the municipality needs the authority to take actions above and beyond those it would ordinarily be able to do. We urge you to discuss any concerns about declaring a state of local emergency with EMO before making that decision.
Please contact the provincial EMO for support and assistance as COVID-19 continues. They can be reached at 1-877-894-0385 or email@example.com.
Municipalities are reminded to let EMO know about any changes in status, needs, or essential services in the community by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact EMO with any questions you have about resources and advise EMO of operational changes to grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, hardware store or other essential services including those provided by the municipality.
PEI EMO Division, PO Box 911, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7L9
Phone: 902-894-0385 Toll-free: 1-877-894-0385
COVID-19 – Tax Rate Changes
Taxation and Property Records Has Extended the Deadline To Submit Tax Rate Changes to April 8, 2020
Taxation and Property Records has advised that they understand there may be impacts from following the recommendations of our Chief Health Officer in relation to COVID-19 and anticipate this may have changed some municipal meetings.
To assist with these changes, Taxation and Property Records is accepting Municipal Rate Certificates by e-mail to email@example.com with originals also sent by regular mail. Taxation and Property Records is also extending the deadline for receipt of these to April 8, 2020.
COVID-19 – Public Council Meetings and Tools to Use to Hold Council Meetings
Public Council Meetings
The Chief Public Health Office recommends non-essential meetings be postponed. Should council members be required to meet, we recommend using an online teleconferencing tool, conference call service, or, live streaming. Please be sure to provide adequate notice to residents and be able to provide good record keeping of council discussions and decisions.
There are a number of free tools available to businesses and organizations that are currently being used on PEI. This is not a recommendation or an endorsement of these tools but more a share of information that you may check into for your municipality’s needs. Zoom for conferencing, Slack for information sharing i.e notices to cell phones, Google Drive to upload documents to be shared, Facebook and YouTube live for open meetings.
If you are looking to arrange a phone conference and have limited access to internet or smartphones, if one of the group has an iPhone, you can add up to 4 additional phone calls to a conference. The instructions from Apple are as follows:
Start a conference call
You can set up a conference call with up to five people (depending on your carrier).
While on a call, tap Add Call, make another call, then Tap Merge Calls.
Repeat to add more people to the conference.
During the conference call, do any of the following:
Talk privately with one person: Tap , then tap Private next to the person. Tap Merge Calls to resume the conference.
Add an incoming caller on the same line: Tap Hold Call + Answer, then tap Merge Calls.
Drop one person: Tap next to a person, then tap End.
COVID-19 – Water and Sewer Utilities
Water and Sewer Utilities
Municipal water and/or sewer utilities are essential services. Local residents receiving these services rely on them continuing.
In the case of self-isolation requirements for your primary or back up operators, know that provincial staff with the Drinking Water and Wastewater Management team of the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change are ready to assist as needed. Please contact the PEI Emergency Operations Centre should your municipality require assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 894-0385.
COVID-19 – Sample Pandemic Plan
Sample Pandemic Plan
In 2009, the Town of Stratford developed a flu pandemic plan. The plan is intended to support business continuity in the event of a pandemic. It allows the Town to predetermine what services are essential to continue in the event of a local flu epidemic and what employees, contractors and supplies are required to deliver those services. The plan also addresses the impact on employees and their families, and it includes measures to help to slow or contain the spread of the virus. It is recognized that these measures will not likely stop the spread of the virus but they should help to spread out the peak period of sickness which will allow the health care system to better cope with the virus and allow the town to better continue with the provision of services. Stratford is currently updating its plan and it will be posted on the FPEIM website when it becomes available.
COVID-19 – Advice on Playground Equipment
At this time the Chief Public Health Officer has not directed closure of municipal playgrounds – that decision falls to the municipality to make a decision – if you feel that you can support the enhanced cleaning requirements and have the ability to monitor social distancing, the decision is left to you.
That said Public Schools Branch have put up notices in all their spaces to close their school playgrounds. Summerside, Charlottetown and Stratford have closed their playground equipment.
Some larger Canadian municipalities such as London, Toronto, Nanaimo, Barrie, Vancouver, Edmonton, Fredericton, Halifax are taking the following measures: Public parks and walking trails are generally being kept open with social distancing encouraged (signage erected) but discouraging any groups. Playgrounds/play equipment being closed (e.g. caution tape/notices erected); all recreation facilities including pools and playing fields closed.
COVID-19 – FPEIM Annual Meeting
The FPEIM annual meeting scheduled for April 27, 2020, has been postponed. A new date will be announced later.
COVID-19 – Construction and Permits
The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) has indicated that existing construction projects may continue if related to important infrastructure (e.g. wharves) AND if stopping construction would create health/safety risk, and if needed urgently to ensure building safety e.g. roof repairs. Building of new houses etc. shouldn’t be commenced at this time.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the paramount consideration is protecting public health and safety. The situation changes very rapidly and in making any decision the municipality must follow the most current direction of the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO). Right now, CPHO urges everyone to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary, in order to reduce spread of the virus.
Municipal Affairs urges municipalities to identify which services are absolutely essential and to focus on delivering those services over the coming days and weeks. Given the anticipated duration of the pandemic, it is important to support health and mental well-being of Council, staff and residents – please concentrate your time and resources on only the most essential and high priority services and activities, and comply with CPHO direction in all things.
At this time, non-essential public gatherings are not permitted, including
- public meetings required under the Planning Act for rezoning, official plan amendments, etc.
- Planning Board Meetings
Municipal Affairs recommends that municipal planning authorities consider immediately suspending non-essential services related to permitting and land use planning, such as:
- all building permit and inspection services, other than emergency “immediate life-safety” inspections [building code only]
- all information requests, complaints and reports
- intake, review and issuance of development permits, building permits, or sign permits
- intake and issuance of preliminary project applications, zoning reviews, or property information letters
Municipalities may also wish to advise their public regarding delays in the review of applications received prior to the current disruption.
The review by Municipal Affairs of submissions for ministerial approval (adoption of or amendments to official plans and bylaws) is not categorized as an essential service at this time.