Harper Government Provides Additional Emergency Preparedness Support to Ontario James Bay First Nations

Coordinator will work directly with communities on flood preparation and evacuation planning

OTTAWA, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced that Canada has provided additional support to make First Nation communities on Ontario's James Bay coast safe and well-prepared in the event of spring flooding.

Canada provided the Mushkegowuk Council with $75,000 to hire a coordinator to work with at-risk area First Nations on flood and evacuation preparedness. The coordinator is responsible for helping the James Bay First Nations prepare for and manage seasonal runoff.

The Mushkegowuk Council includes the First Nations of Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Fort Albany, each of which has faced evacuations and flood damage in past spring runoff seasons.

This funding is from the $19.1 million in annual funding announced by Minister Valcourt in November 2013 as part of a new, comprehensive approach to emergency management on reserves. The funds aim to assist First Nation communities with preparedness projects to address potential natural disasters such as spring flooding. 

Quick Facts

  • This $75,000 investment is one of 34 emergency management preparedness projects supported by the Government of Canada for First Nations across the country during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
  • Discussions are currently underway between Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and provincial and territorial governments across Canada to provide First Nation communities with access to comparable emergency assistance available elsewhere in their province or territory.
  • Canada currently has an Emergency Management agreement in place with the Province of Alberta.

Quotes

"Our Government is working to keep Canadians safe; that's why we took action to ensure that First Nations on Ontario's James Bay coast are well prepared for natural disasters such as spring flooding. These funds make it possible for the Mushkegowuk Council First Nations to have their own dedicated emergency management coordinator who will help local First Nations prepare in order to protect lives, reduce and even eliminate serious damage to their homes and property from flooding."

Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

"Our Government is taking a proactive approach to this season's spring flooding. These funds will go toward ensuring that First Nation communities on Ontario's James Bay coast receive the emergency management services they need to protect the health and safety of their citizens."

Greg Rickford
Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

"Preparing for and managing flood dangers in some of the province's most remote communities can be challenging. The Mushkegowuk Council takes the responsibility of protecting lives and property in its member First Nation communities seriously, and we have a proven track record of working with our federal, provincial and other partners to coordinate our efforts to this end."

Ryan Small
Director, Technical Services
Mushkegowuk Council

Associated Links

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada - Emergency Management
Agreement between Canada and Alberta Doubles the Number of Field Service Officers Working with First Nations
Backgrounder - How AANDC Supports First Nation Communities During Emergencies:
Harper Government Announces New Measures to Strengthen Emergency Management on Reserve
Mushkegowuk Council Website

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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information: Emily Hillstrom, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160


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