The main responsibility for emergency management rests with provincial and territorial governments. However, under the Emergency Management Act (EMA), each federal minister is responsible for identifying risks that are within or related to their area of responsibility and developing appropriate emergency management plans in respect of those risks. In AANDC's case, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has accepted responsibility for supporting on-reserve First Nation communities in the four pillars of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
The AANDC National Emergency Management Plan applies to emergencies that have the potential to threaten the health and safety of First Nation communities and individuals and that exceed the capacity of the local community to address on their own. The plan is designed to present the necessary framework for providing assistance and support to the regions, provinces and territories as applicable. This plan does not replace any event specific or regional plans.
AANDC enters into collaborative agreements with provincial governments to ensure that First Nation communities have access to comparable emergency assistance services available to other residents in their respective province. Through these agreements, AANDC provides funding to cover eligible costs related to emergency assistance in First Nation communities while the provincial or territorial government provides the service. In the Territories, AANDC collaborates with territorial emergency management organizations and other government departments to manage emergencies that have the potential to affect communities, lands, waters and the environment generally.
The most common emergencies affecting First Nation communities are floods, fires, search and rescue, or failure of community infrastructure (i.e. critical roads, bridges, etc.) due to a natural disaster or accident.
Public health issues (e.g. H1N1) are supported by Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.