PR Newswire
Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 12:07am UTC


Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 21, 2024 /CNW/ - Today, ministers moved Canada's resilience to emergencies forward. The future may hold increasingly difficult emergencies, particularly in light of the significant increase in climate-related and other disasters that provinces and territories are facing. The federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers are confident that we can and will manage emergencies in a coordinated and collaborative way; it is our shared commitment to Canadians.

Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for emergency management met in Ottawa today to discuss progress on the work to build further resilience from coast to coast to coast for future emergencies, focusing on prevention and mitigation initiatives as well as robust response and recovery capabilities.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, President of the King's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and the Honourable Lisa Naylor, Manitoba Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Emergency Management. This meeting was preceded by one on February 20, between FPT ministers and National Indigenous Organizations on shared priorities and strengthening Indigenous emergency management.

After the record-setting and widespread impact of wildfires, flooding and other climate-related disasters in 2023, ministers shared lessons learned and discussed how best to put those lessons to work to prepare for potential emergencies in 2024 and build stronger resilience for all Canadians.

Ministers discussed the importance of public awareness and understanding disaster risks within their respective jurisdictions and noted Emergency Preparedness Week will take place from May 5-11, 2024. The theme for this week is Be Prepared. Know Your Risks.

Emergency Management Strategy: Areas for Action

Ministers approved the release of the Advancing the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Emergency Management Strategy: Areas for Action. This new, evergreen action plan advances work in the five priority areas of activity delineated in the Emergency Management Strategy. This strategy sets out a first-ever shared federal-provincial-territorial vision for strong, resilient communities and calls for strengthened collaboration among all partners in emergency management, in accordance with each government's respective priorities, roles and responsibilities.

Pan-Canadian Civilian Response

Disaster response relies on a broad cross-section of society, in addition to governments, including not-for-profit and volunteer organizations, that often provide critical on-the-ground support and are a key component of pan-Canadian response efforts. At today's meeting, ministers discussed initiatives to augment civilian response capacity in their respective jurisdictions and reiterated the importance of collaborative work in this area. They also discussed work to engage stakeholders and Indigenous partners to support a dialogue on longer-term approaches.

Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements

Ministers discussed the status of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements modernization and the themes that will be addressed, including climate resilience; putting people first; housing protection; and addressing inequalities. Building on the results of an independent Expert Advisory Panel, the federal government gathered input throughout 2023 from provincial and territorial governments as part of the federal process to modernize disaster financial assistance. The new program would launch in April 2025. Ministers reiterated the need for a transparent and collaborative process.

National Public Alerting System

The National Public Alerting System (NPAS) provides emergency management organizations across the country with a standard alerting capability to warn the public of imminent or unfolding hazards. Today, ministers discussed the status of FPT work in strengthening the sustainability and governance of this system, including considerations for the development of a future public alerting framework. This work would consider the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission and the long-term viability of the current system. Ministers also heard about the new Earthquake Early Warning system, which will use the NPAS starting in spring 2024 to provide seconds of warning to prevent catastrophic impacts.

Public Safety Broadband Network

A Public Safety Broadband Network is a secure, high-speed, wireless data communications network for use by first responders and public safety personnel to communicate with each other in emergency situations, planned events, and day-to-day operations. Today, ministers discussed next steps to advance this file, including upcoming federally-led engagement that could inform a national governance framework for a Public Safety Broadband Network.

Flood Resilience

Flooding is the most frequent and costly natural disaster. Ministers discussed their respective work and opportunities for collaboration on the integrated flood risk management approach. This includes reconstituting the FPT Task Force on Flood Insurance to advance the work on a low-cost flood insurance program. Ministers also discussed how they collaborate with their respective partners such as municipalities, Indigenous leadership and communities, and other stakeholders to develop and provide, accessible flood risk hazard information for Canada.

Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award

Ministers recognized the selfless service and incredible achievement of the emergency management and search and rescue community across Canada. To honour their contributions, ministers launched the next call for nominations for the Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award; a partnership between provincial, territorial and federal governments. The nomination period will be open from February 21, 2024, to August 1, 2024.

Ministers closed the meeting with a commitment to meet again in late 2024.

Meeting with National Indigenous Organization Leaders

On February 20, FPT ministers met with leaders of National Indigenous Organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council. Together, they shared their priorities and views on important emergency management issues, including prevention and preparedness activities, emergency response, and strengthening First Nations, Inuit and Métis emergency management capacity and collaboration.


"Climate change knows no borders, and in Canada, we are seeing its effects constantly. Today, we moved Canada's resilience to emergencies forward. Our emergency management system is complex but when we work as closely as we did during this meeting of ministers, we achieve progress. Our future may hold increasingly difficult emergencies, whether they are climate related or linked to other potential threats. As we strengthen our relationships, we are confident that we can and will manage them in a coordinated and collaborative way; it is our shared commitment to Canadians."

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan
President of the King's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

"Resilience in the face of emergencies and disasters is a critical part of keeping our country safe. We are committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government, including Indigenous Peoples and our federal, provincial and territorial partners, to build a robust emergency management system that focuses on mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery."

The Honourable Lisa Naylor
Manitoba Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Emergency Management.


SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada