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Harper Government Announces New Measures to Strengthen Emergency Management on Reserve

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WINNIPEG, MB, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today at the meeting of provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Leaders of the National Aboriginal Organizations, announced that the Government of Canada is taking action to strengthen emergency management support to First Nation communities.

"The health and safety of First Nation communities is a priority for our Government, including timely, effective and efficient support in times of emergency," said Minister Valcourt. "That is why we are taking action to ensure that all residents of First Nation communities receive emergency services comparable to those that protect every other Canadian. We will work with provinces and territories to support stronger and more resilient First Nation communities."

This new approach will allow the Government of Canada to build on successful agreements already in place, such as the formal agreement that the federal government has with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency. This agreement facilitated successful response and quick recovery efforts for the First Nation communities affected by the major flooding event in Alberta earlier this year. The Government intends to work towards similar agreements with all provinces and territories.

"Our Government is ensuring First Nation communities are supported during emergency events," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.  "A comprehensive single window will make it easier for provinces and territories and First Nations to access federal funding for on-reserve emergency management costs and is a positive improvement for the Emergency Management Assistance Program."

"The Alberta Government was able to respond quickly to the needs of First Nations when the floods hit due to the relationships we have with the individual communities and the agreement we have in place through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.  I'm encouraged to see the Federal government make changes that will support First Nations in emergency situations and provide a quicker response," said the Honourable Robin Campbell, Alberta Minister of Aboriginal Relations.

"The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to providing the same level of emergency management services to First Nations as we provide to non-First Nation communities. We look forward to working with the federal government and First Nation emergency management partners so we can continue to improve the level of emergency preparedness across Saskatchewan," said the Honourable Jim Reiter, Saskatchewan's Minister Responsible First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs.

The Government of Canada will:

  • create a new single-window for First Nations to secure funding for emergency costs, including those previously funded under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, which will eliminate overlap and provide First Nations and provinces and territories improved access to emergency funding when needed;
  • provide $19.1 million from within the Government's resources to facilitate negotiation and implementation of new or renewed agreements with provinces and territories and support emergency preparedness activities including  the development of emergency management plans for First Nation communities;
  • commit stable funding for response and recovery activities, which in turn would provide greater certainty to First Nations, provinces and territories and confirm our commitment to address their needs; and
  • revise the Emergency Management Assistance Program to provide greater clarity about expense eligibility and strengthen program management.

As bilateral agreements for emergency management on-reserve are improved or negotiated with provinces and territories, the federal government will continue to work in partnership with First Nations. This important work will begin with outreach to the provinces and territories today.

The Government of Canada is taking action across all four pillars of emergency management: response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation, to help ensure that First Nation communities have access to robust and effective emergency management regimes.

SOURCE Government of Canada



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