Conférence de 2016 des premiers ministres de l’Ouest canadien

COMMUNIQUÉ – Western Premiers Support Joint Action on Wildland Fires, Floods and Drought

Vancouver, May 5, 2016 - Western  Premiers acknowledged  progress, as directed by Canada's Premiers last year, on creating a national  inventory of firefighting resources and ensuring that training is provided to  Canadian Forces personnel in wildfire firefighting techniques. Western Premiers  appreciate the effort of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre in  pursuing these initiatives.

 Western Premiers agreed that the federal  government must work collaboratively with provinces and territories to better  predict, prepare for, and respond to weather-related emergencies and natural  disasters.  They reiterated their call  for the federal government to reverse changes to the Disaster Financial  Assistance Arrangements which offload additional emergency support and recovery  costs onto individuals, provinces and territories.  They also expressed concern about long delays  in disbursement of funds under these arrangements.

 Western Premiers also  discussed the importance of investing in disaster mitigation infrastructure in  order to reduce the scale and cost of natural disasters.  They agreed that the $200 million over five  years available for priority projects across the country through the National  Disaster Mitigation Program is insufficient, and reasserted their call for the  federal government to significantly increase dedicated disaster mitigation  infrastructure funding.  They also agreed  that an enhanced National Disaster Mitigation Program should include wildland  fires among the natural hazards identified in its national risk profile.

 Western Premiers called on  the federal government to provide funding support for a national program to  increase support for public education and mitigation activities related to wildland  fires (including the Firesmart program) and for wildland fire research.  They also called on the federal government to  increase emergency management capacity.  This  includes measures to improve fire preparedness and suppression capacity, such  as improvements to aging infrastructure, providing equipment, and enhancing Aboriginal  firefighting capacity and increasing protection of Aboriginal and  other rural communities from wildland fires.

 Western Premiers also  discussed the importance of provinces and territories working cooperatively on  watershed management, particularly as more extreme cycles of drought and  flooding are expected. Premiers committed to further collaboration on issues  related to drainage, drought, flooding and water quality in shared watersheds.

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Media  Contact:

Stephen Smart
 Press Secretary
 Office of the Premier
 Province of British Columbia