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The Best Place on Earth


December 9, 2009

Ministry of Housing and Social Development





VICTORIA – The regulation for the Assistance to Shelter Act has now passed, enabling police to assist homeless British Columbians to shelters when communities issue an extreme weather alert.


The regulation outlines how communities will issue the severe cold weather alerts and then advise local police authorities and the Province. In cases where communities do not have an Extreme Weather Response Plan, the Minister of Housing and Social Development can issue an alert. Once notified, police can assist people to shelters if they are at risk of harm due to extreme weather conditions, at which point the person can decide to stay.


Local police forces will determine how to use the Assistance to Shelter Act to help homeless British Columbians. Their authority under the legislation will remain in effect until the alert is cancelled.


            The extreme weather alerts will be issued through a written report that includes the following information:


·         Date and time when the extreme weather alert is being issued.

·         Description of the extreme weather conditions.

·         Description of the geographical area to which the alert applies.

·         Name of the person issuing the report and the people receiving it.


There are 26 community organizations across B.C. with Extreme Weather Response Plans and access to more than 1,200 additional shelter beds if extreme weather occurs. These organizations decide when to activate and open their extra spaces according to community-established temperature thresholds. Extreme weather response beds are located in places such as churches and community centres, and staffed by employees and community volunteers.


A copy of the assistance to shelter regulation is available on the BC Laws website at:




Seumas Gordon

Media Relations Officer

Ministry of Housing and Social Development

250 387-6490



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