Emergency management ministers share update on preparedness, response measures
By Public Safety Canada
Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for emergency management met virtually yesterday to discuss progress made on shared emergency management priorities.
The meeting was co-chaired by Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, and Doyle Piwniuk, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, minister responsible for emergency management for Manitoba.
The meeting occurred at a time when unprecedented wildfires have devastated some regions. The ministers shared information on preparedness and response measures and emphasized the critical need for all emergency management partners in Canada to collaborate and improve disaster resilience. They recognized the extraordinary work of emergency responders, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, volunteers, non-governmental organizations, and emergency managers in Indigenous communities, municipalities and from both orders of government in the response to the wildfires.
Review of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements
During the meeting, provincial and territorial ministers were able to share their views on the recent DFAA [Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements] review process, particularly in light of the significant increase in climate-related and other disasters that provinces and territories are facing. They also discussed the planning for the modernization process and how the Government of Canada will continue to engage provinces and territories on updating the program, including through regional workshops, collaborative group work and open dialogue.
Ministers were also briefed on the findings of the DFAA Advisory Panel and the outcomes of the broader DFAA review, both of which call for a modernized program that can continue to support provinces and territories and build greater resilience to future disaster risk.
Ministers discussed the progress and issues on the development of a low-cost flood insurance program. Such a program would provide homeowners with greater protection in a changing risk environment. The program could transfer financial risk from households to insurers, backstopped through a public reinsurance program with potential roles for provincial, territorial and federal partners.
National Public Alerting System
Ministers reviewed the progress on strengthening the overall use, sustainability, and governance of the National Public Alerting System and to explore alternative funding models in collaboration with provinces and territories. Ministers also reviewed the public alerting recommendations of the recent Mass Casualty Commission final report, Turning the Tide Together.
Ministers instructed their respective teams to continue this work, and to consider the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission report related to public alerting, including its call for an alerting framework.
Public Safety Broadband Network
Ministers discussed the continued work on the development of a public safety broadband network in Canada with a coordinated pan-Canadian approach and a focus on the next steps to establish a governance framework. Ministers re-iterated the importance of interoperable communications as well as addressing the different needs in regions across Canada.
Emergency Management Strategy for Canada Action Plan
Ministers discussed the major progress made on emergency management initiatives detailed in the federal, provincial, territorial 2021-22 Emergency Management Strategy Interim Action Plan, including shared priorities, across all four pillars of emergency management: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Ministers agreed to extend the 2021-22 Interim Action Plan to December 2023 to continue advancing work supporting its five strategic actions, including continued FPT engagement to ensure strong cohesion for emergency management; improving pan-Canadian understanding of disaster risk; and reducing flood risk across Canada. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments will continue their work to bring forward a new version of a comprehensive action plan.
Ministers agreed to meet again in December 2023. At that time, they will also meet with National Indigenous Organizations in a dedicated meeting.
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