TORONTO, May 6, 2016 —Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for emergency management met today in Toronto to discuss national priorities. The meeting was timely, falling during Emergency Preparedness Week 2016, which consists of a number of public education activities across the country.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services, Newfoundland and Labrador. Ministers were hosted at the Ontario Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
Ministers acknowledged the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and expressed heartfelt thanks to the first responders, emergency managers, military personnel, and volunteers working together to keep Albertans safe. Ministers pledged continued support to Alberta during the wildfire response and recovery.
Recognizing the increasing frequency and magnitude of climate or weather-related emergencies, Ministers agreed on the need to modernize emergency management in Canada. Ministers expressed support to work collaboratively to update the National Emergency Management Framework and develop a supporting Emergency Management Plan. Ministers agreed to undertake efforts to leverage mitigation measures to reduce costs of disasters.
Ministers discussed the challenges surrounding emergency management on First Nation reserves and committed to continued engagement and collaboration with all Indigenous communities and leadership on emergency management.
In addition, Ministers discussed the Government of Canada's commitment to restore funding to Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) teams across Canada. In support of this commitment, Ministers agreed to continued collaboration in assessing the current state of HUSAR capabilities and to determine next steps to bolster this critical emergency response capacity. Ministers also discussed the importance of strengthening search and rescue capacity across the country.
Ministers discussed progress on the implementation of the National Public Alerting System (NPAS) as well as key priority areas for the coming year. Ministers also expressed interest in contributing to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission's ongoing consultation on the participation of wireless services providers in the NPAS. This consultation will inform next steps in the integration of digital media and mobile platforms in public alerting.
Ministers discussed the status of the joint FPT work to advance a Public Safety Broadband Network. Ministers agreed on the creation of a public-private advisory group to inform the way forward on this important, yet complex initiative.
In conclusion, Ministers agreed on the importance of formally recognizing the valour and service of search and rescue volunteers across Canada. The extraordinary service of these volunteers saves the lives of Canadians every year.
"It is my privilege to participate in my first federal, provincial and territorial meeting on emergency management. My colleagues and I have made significant progress today in identifying key areas for action and committing to ongoing engagement on these issues. This commitment reflects our shared desire to develop a whole-of-society emergency management approach through inclusivity, collaboration and shared responsibility."
"An effective working relationship between the federal government and the provinces and territories is of critical importance to the safety and well-being of all Canadians. We are committed to updating the emergency management framework for Canada and working with our federal partners to develop the Emergency Management Plan. I look forward to hosting the next meeting in Newfoundland and Labrador."
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Media Relations Office
Public Safety Canada
Media Relations Manager
Fire and Emergency Services-NL