Roles and Responsibilities During Emergencies
Although emergency management is a provincial/territorial responsibility, AANDC has accepted responsibility for supporting emergency management in First Nation communities.
AANDC's role is to support the efforts of the primary provincial/territorial emergency management organization to address an emergency situation, and to manage the consequences arising from the emergency such as disruptions to community-level critical services delivered in the First Nation.
First Nation Community Members' Responsibilities
Community members should take efforts to protect personal property from the effects of emergencies. Furthermore, national guidelines for emergency preparedness suggest that individuals should be prepared to look after themselves and their families for a minimum of 72-hours during an emergency if they are able to remain in their home. In the case of emergencies such as fires, floods, earthquakes and power outages in a First Nation community, community members should be prepared to maintain their needs for 72-hours even in cases where a determination of the need to evacuate has been made.
First Nation Communities' Responsibilities
Since effective emergency management starts at the local level, First Nation communities are responsible for developing and implementing emergency management plans. AANDC supports the development, testing and updating of emergency management plans in First Nation communities.
When an emergency occurs or is imminent and it poses a threat to life, property or the environment within a First Nation community, it is the responsibility of the Chief and Council of the First Nation to utilize all available local resources to respond to the situation. The Chief and Council are responsible for notifying AANDC and provincial or territorial emergency management officials if a threat beyond the First Nation's capacity to respond exists.
How AANDC Supports First Nation Communities during Emergencies
AANDC is in regular contact with provincial and territorial emergency management officials and remains engaged with all aspects of emergency management to ensure the assistance needed by First Nations is coordinated within the broader provincial or territorial system for emergency management.
During an emergency, AANDC provides advice and support, within its mandate and authorities, as requested by the affected province or territory. After the emergency, the Government of Canada reimburses the province or territory for eligible costs associated with the response and recovery to an emergency.
In the event of property or critical infrastructure damage in a community, AANDC works with the Chief and Council to assess the situation, determine the most effective way to repair damage and ensure delivery of programs and services to the community. AANDC remains in contact with the First Nation until the situation has been assessed completely.
AANDC continues to work closely with provinces, territories and First Nations to ensure that First Nation communities have emergency management services comparable to those of other Canadians in similar circumstances. There are various funding arrangements or agreements between AANDC and the provinces for the delivery of emergency management services to First Nation communities. These agreements also provide an assurance to the province that AANDC will provide funding to cover costs related to emergency assistance in First Nation communities so that responses can be implemented without unnecessary delay.
Since the enactment of the Emergency Management Act in 2007 and An Emergency Management Framework for Canada, AANDC has been working diligently to establish an all-hazards approach for responding to emergencies that impact First Nation communities. The term ‘all hazards' incorporates natural and man-made hazards and threats including traditional emergency management events such as flooding and forest fires; as well as national security events.
For additional information on emergency management, please contact:
Phone: (toll-free) 1-800-567-9604
TTY: (toll-free) 1-866-553-0554
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