Emergency management responsibilities in Canada are shared by federal, provincial, territorial and First Nation governments and their partners, including individual citizens who have a responsibility to be prepared for disasters and contribute to community resiliency.
In an emergency, the first response is almost always by the First Nation or local authorities or at the provincial or territorial level because disasters occur most often locally. Should a provincial or territorial government require resources beyond their capacity to cope in an emergency or disaster, the federal government responds rapidly to requests for assistance by a provincial or territorial government.
- Roles and responsibilities during emergencies
- Fire protection in First Nation communities
- Wildfires in First Nation communities
- Flooding in First Nation communities
What is an emergency?
An Emergency Management Framework for Canada defines an emergency as a present or imminent event that requires prompt coordination of actions concerning persons or property to protect the health, safety or welfare of people, or to limit damage to property or the environment.
Emergency Management Assistance Program
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) supports all four pillars of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, as well as forest fire suppression activities.
Under ISC’s Emergency Management Assistance Program, the department works with provincial and territorial governments and non-government organizations to support First Nations and ensure they have access to comparable emergency assistance services available to other residents in their respective jurisdiction.
The objectives of the program are to:
- protect the health and safety of First Nations individuals and their infrastructure from natural or accidental hazards
- assist in the remediation of critical infrastructure and community assets affected by emergency events
This is done through timely assessment of emergency management needs and facilitation of an appropriate emergency response from emergency management partners and stakeholders or other areas within ISC or the Government of Canada.
Emergency management funding
ISC assumes responsibility for costs for on-reserve emergency events. This single window provides First Nations, provinces and territories with access to emergency funding when needed.
ISC’s Emergency Management Assistance Program reimburses provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and non-government organizations for eligible costs incurred in the delivery of emergency management services to First Nations.
The Emergency Management Assistance Program manages all of the department’s emergency management funding with the exception of the structural mitigation component, which is delivered through ISC’s Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program.
ISC is working with provincial and territorial governments to update or put in place agreements related to the delivery of emergency management services to First Nations. These agreements will ensure First Nations have access to comparable emergency assistance and will also provide certainty regarding eligible First Nation emergency management costs so that responses can be implemented rapidly and without unnecessary delay.
Eligibility for the Emergency Management Assistance Program
To be eligible for funding under the Emergency Management Assistance Program, an emergency event must take place on, or affect a First Nation located on:
- a reserve, as defined in s. 2 (1) of the Indian Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I 5
- lands set apart as defined in s. 36 of the Indian Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I 5
- lands formerly defined as a reserve which now form part of modern treaty settlement lands
ISC National Emergency Management Plan
ISC’s National On-reserve Emergency Management Plan describes the roles and responsibilities of the department and its partners in emergency management as well as the concept of operations for responding to and managing an emergency affecting First Nations.
ISC Public Enquiries Contact Centre
Indigenous Services Canada
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4
Phone: (toll-free) 1-800-567-9604
TTY: (toll-free) 1-866-553-0554
- From Displacement to Hope: First Nations Stories (videos)
- Indigenous knowledge key to strengthening disaster risk reduction
- Interview with Dr. Brenda Murphy about Indigenous experiences in evacuations
- Manitoba Floods 2011: First Nations Recovery Needs Assessment
- Manitoba 2011 Flood Recovery
- National On-reserve Emergency Management Plan
- Public Safety Canada—Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund
- Preparing our Home: Indigenous youth leadership in emergency management