Investment in emergency preparedness and training helps British Columbia First Nations prepare for wildfires, floods
VANCOUVER, May 8, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced that Canada has provided funding so that 10 British Columbia First Nations are more prepared to deal with wildfires, floods and other natural disasters.
Canada provided more than $90,000 for emergency preparedness activities in the First Nations, including:
- updating First Nations' all-hazards emergency management plans, which includes training for emergency management personnel;
- performing tabletop exercises to test the plans;
- supporting integration of First Nations' emergency management structures with those of the province and nearby stakeholders; and,
- developing Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping tools and resources for evacuations (e.g., updating evacuation routes and emergency service locations).
The 10 First Nations who participated in the emergency preparedness activities are Alexis Creek Indian Band, Esdilagh First Nation, Esk'etemc First Nation, Lower Kootenay Indian Band, St. Mary's Indian Band, Toosey First Nation, Tl'etinqox Government, Xatśūll First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band), Xeni Gwet'in First Nations Government and Yunesit'in Government.
This investment is funded from the $19.1 million in annual funding Minister Valcourt announced in November 2013 as part of a new approach to emergency management on reserves. The funds aim to assist First Nation communities with projects such as emergency management planning and preparation.
- The Government of Canada supported 34 emergency management preparedness projects 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 have formal agreements that provide First Nation communities with improved access to comparable emergency assistance available elsewhere in their province or territory.
- Discussions in British Columbia for a new emergency management agreement will build off the existing agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, which currently sees Emergency Management British Columbia coordinate all-hazards emergency response and recovery on reserves.
- Canada currently has an Emergency Management agreement in place with the Province of Alberta.
"Our Government is working to keep Canadians safe. Floods and wildfires threaten Canadians every year and being prepared in advance is absolutely crucial. That's why we took action to ensure that First Nations in British Columbia are ready with the information and skills necessary to protect the lives and property of their residents."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
First Nation Profiles:
- Alexis Creek Indian Band
- Esdilagh First Nation
- Esk'etemc First Nation
- Lower Kootenay Indian Band
- St. Mary's Indian Band
- Toosey First Nation
- Tl'etinqox Government
- Xatśūll First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band)
- Xeni Gwet'in First Nations Government
- Yunesit'in Government
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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