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Major funding secured for B.C. disaster preparedness

Major funding secured for B.C. disaster preparedness
B.C. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION - An aerial photo shows damage done to B.C.’s highways during a major rainstorm last year. New funding aims to help repair the damage and prepare for future events.

VICTORIA – After brutal floods and wildfires severely damaged B.C.’s infrastructure, the Government of Canada is making major investments to help the province cope with these disasters and become more resilient for the future.

Following the fifth and final meeting of the Committee of British Columbia and Federal Ministers on Disaster Response and Climate Resilience, officials announced advance payments of over $870 million to the province through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) to support flood, landslide and storm recovery efforts in the province. This is in addition to the $207 million in support for wildfire recovery efforts that was announced in June.

The committee discussed the progress that has been made to date and recognized the disproportionate impact that natural disasters have on Indigenous communities.

Its work was bolstered by the contributions of the First Nations Leadership Council. Officials said their knowledge is critical to Canada’s emergency response and readiness framework and will continue to be central to informing this work moving forward.

In addition to the DFAA payments, the governments of Canada and B.C. and the First Nations Leadership Council are working to build a trilateral agreement on emergency management.

Officials say this agreement will strengthen First Nations’ capacity to respond to and recover from future climate-related disasters.

“Climate change is threatening communities across Canada, and we need to keep our partnerships strong as we prepare for and work to prevent natural disasters and extreme weather events,” said Bill Blair, minister of emergency preparedness, in a statement. “The progress this committee has made and the collaboration between federal and provincial ministers and Indigenous leaders has resulted in a coordinated recovery and rebuilding effort in communities across British Columbia.”

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