OTTAWA, January 24, 2005 — Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for emergency management met today and announced a number of measures to improve Canada’s emergency preparedness.
In the past few years, governments and Canadians have realized more than ever that Canada is not immune to natural disasters. The challenges of ice storms, blackouts, floods, forest fires and medical emergencies such as SARS have demonstrated the need for quick and appropriate response mechanisms at the local, provincial and federal level.
Governments have learned important lessons from these incidents, and commit to continue close cooperation to increase the current level of preparedness in all communities. They reaffirmed their collective commitment to better assess, manage and mitigate risks to Canadians, and ensure better emergency preparedness from coast to coast to coast.
The meeting in Ottawa was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan and Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter. It was attended by Ministers and emergency management officials from Canada’s provinces and territories.
Recognizing the importance of regular discussions among federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for emergency management, Ministers agreed to establish a permanent forum and meet annually to collaborate on improving emergency management.
At the meeting, Ministers agreed to an eight-point forward work plan that includes:
Emergency response framework
Governments will work together to improve and enhance the emergency response framework in order to harmonize the federal system so that it complements each provincial and territorial system by fall 2005. At their next meeting, officials will report back to Ministers on the progress made.
Officials will continue discussions aimed at reinforcing the current disaster financial assistance arrangements, and develop options for disaster financial assistance options outside of the existing Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) for review by FPT Deputy Ministers in summer 2005.
Inventory of disaster assistance programs
Ministers agreed to continue work aimed at creating an inventory of disaster financial assistance programs, and invited provinces and territories to link their programs to the existing federal inventory. The inventory will help applicants with the process of claiming for assistance. Ontario will be the first province to link its listing of provincial programs with the federal inventory.
Officials will prepare options for the development of a National Disaster Mitigation Strategy and submit them for review by F/P/T Deputy Ministers in summer 2005. Such a strategy would aim to reduce the risks, impacts and costs associated with natural disasters such as hurricanes, ice storms and floods.
Ministers tasked officials with reviewing and updating the Training Strategy Action Plan for 2005-2010 to ensure progressive and sustainable emergency management training in Canada. FPT Deputy Ministers will consider options in summer 2005.
Officials will develop a calendar of joint FPT emergency response exercises, for review by FPT Deputy Ministers in late spring or early summer 2005.
Ministers agreed to expedite the development and implementation of the National Public Alerting Strategy led by Industry Canada, with a report to FPT Deputy Ministers in summer 2005.
Critical Infrastructure Protection Strategy
Ministers agreed to develop the work plan for a national Critical Infrastructure Protection Strategy by summer 2005.
Following the meeting, FPT Emergency Management Ministers will meet in a joint session with FPT Ministers responsible for Justice – in advance of the FPT Justice Ministers’ meeting – to discuss issues such as the current threat environment and parliamentary review of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
For more information, please see the backgrounders or visit the website www.psepc-sppcc.gc.ca.
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Communications Advisor to
The Honourable Monte Kwinter
Ontario Minister of Community Safety and
(416) 325-4973 / (416) 559-0259
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