Government of Canada Announces More Funding to Build Wildfire Fighting Capacity and Enhance Training Best Practices

News release

April 15, 2024

Ottawa, ON  

Natural Resources Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes that as the threat of wildfires increases due to climate change, we must increase our capacity to respond to fires, keep Canadians safe, and protect our communities. The Government of Canada has undertaken significant steps in recent years and has invested close to $800 million in initiatives directly related to improving wildfire management, including to support provinces and territories to purchase additional firefighting equipment and to train 1,000 firefighters across the country. As we approach the summer wildfire seasons, the Government of Canada is focused on keeping people safe while strengthening its capacity to support Canadians.

That is why today in Ottawa, at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Canadian Legislative Conference, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced up to $800,000 in funding for the IAFF to deliver training and increase the capacity of structural firefighters across the country. Structural firefighters refers to those trained to combat fires within enclosed spaces, such as residential homes, commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and public infrastructure. Funding will also support Canada’s wildfire preparedness and response efforts to wildland urban interface fires, those that occur in areas where urban or developed areas meet with wildland or natural environments. Fires in these areas are particularly worrisome in that they pose substantial threats to lives and livelihoods, and the spread of thick smoke and evacuations can cause immense stress and disruption for communities. Addressing wildfires in interface areas is especially critical due to the high concentration of people living in these regions. With approximately 10 percent of the Canadian population residing in interface areas spanning 32 million hectares, the scope of the interface presents a significant challenge in wildfire management.

Funding announced today builds upon last year’s investment of $400,000 in the IAFF’s Responding to the Interface (RTI) program, which provides specialized training to structural firefighters and help train 25 instructors. to deliver consistent and effective wildfire response training in Kamloops, British Columbia. Today’s investment will help the IAFF work toward its goal of training up to 325 structural firefighting personnel and will advance progress towards the Government of Canada’s commitment to train 1,000 wildland firefighters.

Prioritizing efforts to mitigate risks and enhance resilience in WUI areas is paramount in the ongoing fight against wildfires. Collaboration is crucial in addressing the challenges posed by wildfires. By joining forces with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, and international allies, the Government of Canada continues to demonstrate its commitment to protecting Canadians and their communities from the devastating impacts of wildfires.


“Last year’s wildfire season was historic, with more intense fires in more parts of Canada than ever before. With the acceleration of climate change and this year’s wildfire season already upon us, the health and safety of Canadians remains the top priority of the government. The need for more firefighters and high-quality training opportunities across Canada is crucial to keeping Canadians safe and that is why we are continuing to partner with the IAFF to deliver what is needed to protect and preserve Canadian lives and livelihoods. I want to acknowledge and thank the firefighters across Canada who put their lives on the line every day to protect Canadians. Their bravery and work are crucial in keeping Canadians safe and protected and we are proud to support Canada’s firefighters through investments like the one announced today.”  

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Ensuring that firefighters have the training and equipment they need is essential for their safety and that of the communities they fight to protect. As climate change increases the severity and frequency of disasters, this funding is an important step forward in preparing for this year's wildfire season.”

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan
President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“Wildfires pose a serious threat across Canada and it’s critical we prepare structural fire fighters with the training needed to operate safely and effectively in such a dangerous environment. When fire fighters are safe, the communities we took an oath to protect are safe. That’s our top priority. The IAFF is committed to continuing its work with the Government of Canada to ensure fire fighters - and those we serve - are better protected in the face of this new reality. ”
Edward A. Kelly
International Association of Fire Fighters General President

Quick facts

  • The Government Operations Centre (GOC), on behalf of the Government of Canada, is the lead for federal response coordination for emergency events affecting the national interest and works in close collaboration with federal organizations, non-governmental organizations and provincial emergency management partners.

  • On April 10, Government of Canada officials provided the first forecast for the 2024 wildfire season. The latest seasonal weather outlook indicates that higher-than-normal temperatures are expected for the spring and summer, boosted by El Niño weather conditions. This sets the stage for the possibility of another active wildfire season and other incidents of extreme weather. The warmer than normal winter temperatures and drier than usual conditions may result in some regions – in particular western Canada, eastern Ontario, and southern Quebec - experiencing early, above normal, fire activity this April and May.

  • Under NRCan’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate program Training Fund, a two-year Training Pilot was implemented with a focus on providing support to Indigenous communities and organizations to train firefighters and to better understand the needs and barriers in the sector. 

  • As part of this fund, the IAFF received $400,000 in funding from NRCan last year to support their pilot project last year with the goal of training 25 instructors on how to deliver their Response to the Interface training through a train the trainer course in Kamloops, British Columbia. In addition, this funding was provided to support IAFF in delivering one-day courses in British Columbia and Alberta – with the goal of training up to 325 structural firefighting personnel on urban interface wildfire training.

  • On December 8, 2023, the Government of Canada launched the 2023 Wildfire Training Fund Call for Applications. Funding is available for projects in the following three streams: Wildland Firefighters Training at the type I, II, III level, Community Wildfire Protection Training to develop and implement community-based wildfire prevention and fire management activities, and Youth Wildfire Training to build the future cohort of wildland firefighters and professionals. These proposals are currently being assessed by NRCan.

  • Under NRCan’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate program’s Equipment Fund, provinces and territories can cost-share investments for equipment, such as vehicles, mobile units, avionics upgrades (parts), hoses, pumps, enhanced communications equipment, repair of aging equipment and training.

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Carolyn Svonkin

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada


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