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Blair announces another $82M for humanitarian workforce program

July 11, 2023
By Avert staff


Canada’s Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair has announced an additional $82 million for the federal government’s humanitarian workforce program.

The program – Supporting a Humanitarian Workforce to Respond to COVID-19 and Other Large-Scale Emergencies (HWF) – was established in 2021 to fund short-notice deployment of the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, The Salvation Army and Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC).

The new funding brings the total investment in the humanitarian workforce program to $166.9 million.

Blair said in a news release today the growing impacts of increasingly severe and frequent disasters are being felt across the country.

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“Non-governmental organizations are often among the first on the scene and provide crucial supports when disasters strike. That is why the Government of Canada is making this important investment, to help build and maintain their capacity so that they can continue to respond to large-scale emergencies across the country and be there when Canadians need them,” he said.

Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, said the funding will increase their capacity to respond. “This year’s wildfire season in Canada is hitting hard and fast and we continue to work closely with governments, Indigenous leadership, and communities to help people who have been impacted,” he said.

“Support from the Government of Canada plays a significant role in SARVAC’s ability to respond to communities in need of support across Canada,” SARVAC president Janelle Coultes said. “Our members are ready at a moment’s notice to respond to emergencies, and through the Humanitarian Workforce Program we are able to substantially increase our response capabilities in the event of any natural disasters.”

The funding supports the organizations maintaining their volunteer emergency responders and emergency management professionals, as well as recruitment and training, equipment and supplies purchases, governance straightening, and protocols and procedures adaptation.

“This critical support from the Humanitarian Workforce Program will help to ensure our network of 12,000 qualified volunteers, in more than 300 communities, is prepared to rapidly mobilize and respond to large-scale emergencies across the country,” said Martin Gangnier, CEO of St. John Ambulance – National Office.

Floyd J. Tidd, territorial commander for The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda, said the funding empowers them to strengthen their response capacity. “This partnership exemplifies the power of collective action and reinforces our shared commitment to service amid suffering,” Tidd said.


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