The Government of Canada Is Supporting Canadians Through the 2023 Wildfire Season
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians as all orders of government work together during the 2023 wildfire season. Across Canada, several provinces and territories are experiencing a severe wildfire season, and the effects are already widespread. The Government Operations Centre is working to coordinate the federal response to the wildfire situation across the country. Officials are working closely with federal and provincial partners to coordinate this assistance.
Federal support for communities affected by wildfires this year includes:
- The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are coordinating a donation matching program with the Canadian Red Cross 2023 Alberta Fires Appeal; as a result, every dollar donated will become $3 in support to those affected by wildfire. Approximately $20 million has already been raised.
- Canadian Armed Forces are providing:
- personnel and resources to aid in basic firefighting roles;
- airlift resources for mobility and logistical tasks, including the evacuation of isolated communities;
- engineering support, including heavy equipment resources, as capacity allows; and
- non-technical ground reconnaissance in areas where CAF personnel are operating.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada is providing contracting support to impacted provinces for supplies or logistics.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is providing support to response efforts and, as the contracted police of jurisdiction, supporting matters of law enforcement.
- Employment and Social Development Canada is supporting affected Canadians with enhanced Service Canada delivery, outreach to evacuees, and deployment of mobile units to evacuation centres to assist clients by offering support in submitting applications for benefits, such as employment insurance.
- Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) reimburses First Nations, provinces and territories and third-party emergency management providers 100 percent of eligible response and recovery costs, including evacuation costs, through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP).
- EMAP supports the response and recovery efforts for on-reserve First Nations communities currently experiencing the effects of the wildland fires through resource coordination, organizational structure and evacuee support.
- ISC has so far provided more than $40 million for the current 2023 wildfire season. Once the response phase is over, EMAP will provide recovery support for repairs to on-reserve community infrastructure to restore to pre-event conditions, mitigation measures to infrastructure to minimize future impacts and personal losses.
- Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile is providing requested supplies to regions.
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments and telecommunications service providers to keep people connected.
- Parks Canada has sent Incident Management Teams to support the Province of Alberta at the Paskwa fire in northern Alberta. These wildland fire management specialists are trained to manage complex fires and other incidents. Ignition specialists and Initial Attack Crews have also been deployed to Alberta to support fire suppression efforts, and in Northwest Territories support with high volume sprinkler equipment was sent. These deployments are being coordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.
Ongoing federal support for communities includes:
- The WildFireSat satellite mission, a $169.9-million collaboration between Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada, will be the world’s first purpose-built, public satellite system for monitoring fires that responds directly to the needs of fire managers in Canada. It will provide unprecedented, daily, near–real-time intelligence on all active wildfires, when the fire management agencies at the provinces and territories need to make critical decisions. Additionally, the mission will support smoke and air quality monitoring and forecasting, and downstream carbon emission monitoring. WildFireSat will also improve our ability to defend Canadian communities, especially the more vulnerable remote northern communities located in forested areas and enable more effective decisions about evacuations.
- ISC invests in wildfire management services and provides funding to support First Nations wildfire prevention and mitigation activities across the country. Additional funding has also been provided in annual federal budgets to enhance First Nations wildfire resiliency:
- Budget 2019 announced $47.7 million over five years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, to expand the on-reserve FireSmart programs and support First Nations capacity around wildfire management; and
- Budget 2022 announced $39.2 million over five years, starting in 2022 to 2023, to support wildland–urban fire fighting equipment and training in First Nations communities. This funding is prioritized for communities at highest risk of wildfire.
- The newly introduced 2023–2028 Fire Protection Strategy co-developed by the Assembly of First Nations and ISC sets out the following objectives to address increased fire threats due to climate change:
- all First Nations communities do a wildfire risk assessment by 2024; and
- high-risk First Nations communities implement a FireSmart program by 2026 and moderate risk First Nations by 2027 to enhance community resilience to wildfires.
- As part of the priorities identified by the National Adaptation Strategy, the Government of Canada is also advancing a Wildfire Resilient Futures Initiative, with a proposed investment of $284 million, to:
- enhance the FireSmart Canada program;
- increase Canadians’ resilience to wildfire while building wildland fire knowledge through research and pilot projects on fire risk reduction measures; and
- create a Centre of Excellence for Wildland Fire Innovation and Resilience to help transform wildland fire management in Canada and internationally through innovation, knowledge exchange and supporting Indigenous fire stewardship.
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
Public Safety Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Indigenous Services Canada
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services
Parks Canada Agency
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