Investment of $288,500 to help prepare Quebec First Nations to protect their communities from floods and wildfires
OTTAWA, May 5, 2015 The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced that Canada has provided training to help ensure Quebec First Nations are prepared in case of wildfires, floods and other natural disasters.
The Government of Canada provided $288,500 toward several different emergency management initiatives, including:
- Canadian Red Cross training programs in French and English on evacuations and services to those affected by emergencies;
- training on the Incident Command System and running an Emergency Operations Centre;
- Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (CESAM) training on risk management and emergency planning for First Nations;
- forest fire risk assessment and forest fire suppression training from Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU); and,
- development by Campus Notre-Dame de Foy of a basic course on emergency operations centres and an exercise plan for those in charge of community emergency management.
This investment is funded 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 projects such as emergency management training and planning.
- 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.
- Canada currently has an Emergency Management agreement in place with the Province of Alberta.
"Our Government is working to keep Canadians safe; that's why we took action to ensure that Quebec First Nations can reduce risks and are better prepared to act when lives and property are at risk. We are pleased to work toward this end with our First Nation partners as well as with the Canadian Red Cross, Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"The training provided has enabled us to strengthen our capacity to adequately respond to potential emergencies and to improve services and responses for the benefit of the population in the event of a disaster. Above all, our emergency preparedness efforts have helped us to clearly define and establish the responsibilities of the various organizations that are essential to the maintenance of safety and integrity for all residents of the community."
Chief François Neashit
Atikamekw Council of Wemotaci
"SOPFEU is delighted to be associated with this emergency preparedness initiative to better respond to forest fires. The program includes a forest fire vulnerability assessment and proposals for specific risk mitigation measures for participating First Nations communities in Quebec. Firefighter training is also offered to provide for first response to fires near communities."
Director General, SOPFEU
"Many First Nations communities living in remote northern regions have to cope with risks such as forest fires and floods each year. We know that community members are better able to handle emergencies when they are prepared, and this helps their communities rebound from catastrophes. With its expertise and experience in prevention and emergency preparation, the Red Cross offers First Nations civil defence training so that they are ready to intervene before, during and after a disaster."
Director General, Canadian Red Cross – Quebec Division
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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