Erin adopts policy for half-mast flag lowering

ERIN – Council adopted a policy on Aug. 13 to provide consistency in the lowering of flags to the half-mast position at Town of Erin facilities.

Fire Chief Jim Sawkins reported that the town has traditionally lowered flags as a symbol of mourning for dignitaries or staff members, or on significant dates.

There has been no policy, however, to guide staff as to when a lowering is appropriate.

The town flies the Canadian flag, and may also fly the Ontario and Erin flags, depending on the number of flagpoles available at municipal locations, such as Town Hall, Centre 2000, the Ballinafad Community Centre, Barbour Field, McMillan Park and the fire stations in Erin and Hillsburgh.

Only one flag is allowed per flagpole. Flags for special events or charitable causes are not flown.

The lowering of flags for mourning will be at the direction of the Chief Administrative Officer or designate, with council being notified.

In addition to specific criteria, there is flexibility provided by a provision to lower the flag “on the death of a person whom it is desired to honour.”

In addition, the fire chief or designate can have flags lowered at fire stations for situations involving emergency services, as per department guidelines.

The general circumstances for lowering the flag include the death of the Sovereign or an immediate member of the royal family, the governor-general, the prime minister, a former governor general, a former prime minister or a federal cabinet minister.

Other occasions include the death of the Ontario lieutenant-governor, the premier, another person honoured by the Province of Ontario, a senator, a privy councillor or a mayor.

All flags at each location are lowered and remain at half-mast until sunset on the day of the funeral.

The special dates that have been designated for lowering flags to half-mast are the following:

– Nov. 11, Remembrance Day;

– April 28, the day of mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace;

– June 23, the annual national day of remembrance for victims of terrorism; and

– Dec. 6, the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women.