Government of Canada to provide assistance to Alberta in response to ongoing wildfire situation
May 11, 2023
The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness has approved a Request for Federal Assistance from the Province of Alberta to support their efforts to combat the significant wildfire situation in the province.
Alberta is currently experiencing a wildfire season well above the seasonal average and has deployed all available provincial and local resources to respond to fires across the province, particularly in the northern and central parts of the province.
In response to this request for assistance, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, authorized the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to provide:
- personnel and resources to assist and enable fire fighting;
- airlift resources for mobility and logistical tasks, including the evacuation of isolated communities; and
- engineering support, including heavy equipment resources, as capacity allows.
CAF resources will be provided for an initial period of two weeks, with a one-week extension possible following a joint evaluation of the situation to determine if support is still required.
In addition to the CAF deployment, the federal government is also providing the following supports:
- Public Services and Procurement Canada will provide contracting support to the province for supplies or logistics.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will continue to support with response efforts and, as the contracted police of jurisdiction, support matters of law enforcement.
- Employment and Social Development Canada will support impacted Canadians with enhanced Service Canada hours, outreach to evacuees, and deployment of mobile units to evacuation centres to support applications for services, such as employment insurance.
- Indigenous Service Canada’s Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP) will support the response and recovery efforts for Alberta’s on-reserve First Nations communities currently experiencing the effects of the wildland fires. Affected communities require prompt coordination of actions to protect the health, safety or welfare of all, and limit damages to property, infrastructure, and the environment. EMAP supports impacted communities through agency response via the wildland fire and the emergency management service agreements with the Province of Alberta, resource coordination, organizational structure and evacuee supports. Once the response phase is over, the Program 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 engaged and has already shipped requested supplies and is standing by to provide more if required.
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is working with the province of Alberta and telecommunications service providers to keep people connected.
- Parks Canada is sending an 18-member Incident Command Team to support the Province of Alberta. These wildland fire management specialists are trained to manage complex fires and other incidents. This deployment is being coordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.
The Government Operations Centre is working to coordinate the federal response to the wildfire situation in Alberta and across the country. Officials are working closely with federal and provincial partners to coordinate this assistance.
“The Government of Canada will always be there to help in times of need. As the extreme wildfires in Alberta continue, we are committed to helping keep residents across the province safe. I would like to thank the emergency management officials from all orders of government and first responders, particularly the firefighting personnel on the ground and in the air, for their tireless efforts.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“Our Canadian Armed Forces have always answered the call of service to help their fellow Canadians in times of need. Whether during forest fires, floods, or other crises, our people in uniform have shown outstanding dedication to supporting their fellow citizens. I thank all personnel involved in this effort for their leadership and contributions to Canada.”
- The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
“Wildfires in northern and central Alberta have had a devastating impact on Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting First Nations in dealing with the immediate emergency situation. We are working closely with Chiefs, Councils and the Government of Alberta to ensure affected Nations have the resources they need to address this ongoing emergency and provide the necessary supports to their communities. I want to thank everyone who is working tirelessly to ensure Albertans including First Nations are safe during this immensely difficult and stressful time”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
“Albertans, including many who live in Indigenous communities, have faced devastation and evacuation due to the ongoing forest fires devastating northern and central Alberta. With this request for federal assistance, we will be able to work even more closely with our provincial counterparts to send them the resources and help they need to fight the wildfires and keep Albertans safe. To the firefighters and first responders in Alberta who are helping to save lives in this difficult time, you have my deepest thanks.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
“Parks Canada’s wildfire management specialists have a long history of stepping up to assist in emergency situations to help keep communities safe across Canada. Eighteen of these highly trained specialists are being seconded to assist in managing the wildfires occurring in Alberta. Team members will be travelling from national parks across the country – a true national effort for Albertans in time of need.”
- The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
The Province of Alberta declared a province-wide state of emergency on May 6, 2023.
The Government Operations Centre is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's response to emergency events.
In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can request assistance from the federal government.
A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and additional federal resources are needed to effectively support the impacted region.
Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.
If provincial and territorial authorities require assistance, they may ask the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for help. When the CAF responds to natural disasters in Canada, it is known as Operation LENTUS.
CAF assistance complements and enhances provincial and local resources with unique capabilities, including military personnel and equipment. The primary objective is to help provincial and local authorities stabilize the situation and to reassure Canadian residents in the affected areas.
The number of CAF members deployed across the region will vary based on tasks that are identified by the provinces.
Director of Communications
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada
and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
Department of National Defence
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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