Minister Blair visits flood-impacted areas in B.C., including Abbotsford and Merritt, to reaffirm commitment to help the province prepare, respond and recover from emergencies

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VANCOUVER, BC, March 14, 2022 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada continues to be there for British Columbians as they recover from the flooding and extreme weather events that devastated the province last November.

The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, just concluded a visit to flood-impacted areas in British Columbia, including Abbotsford and Merritt, to discuss disaster recovery efforts and see some of the work being done to enhance preparedness for future weather related emergencies. This included discussions with local mayors, Indigenous leadership, and emergency responders impacted by last year’s unprecedented flooding. This marks Minister Blair’s second trip to the province since being named Canada’s first standalone minister for emergency preparedness.

The Minister surveyed the Barrowtown pump station, a critical piece of infrastructure that empties water from the Sumas Prairie area into the Fraser River, alongside Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, the Honourable Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and Pam Alexis, MLA for AbbotsfordMission. He also visited the city of Merritt where he was briefed by Mayor Linda Brown, councillors, and city officials, and surveyed homes and residential areas that sustained significant damage.

Recognizing the importance of traditional knowledge and local governance in informing emergency management, Minister Blair met with Chief Alice McKay of Matsqui First Nation and Chief Dalton Silver of Sumas First Nation. Together, they committed to strengthening their partnership and increasing the participation of First Nation communities in the response and recovery efforts.

During his meetings, Minister Blair discussed the Committee of British Columbia and Federal Ministers on Disaster Response and Climate Resilience’s (the Committee) work to build back from these extreme weather events in a way that better protects British Columbians from future climate events, creates cleaner and healthier communities, and supports Canada’s efforts in reaching our climate goals and net-zero emissions targets.

Minister Blair also highlighted his upcoming meeting with provincial and territorial counterparts responsible for emergency management on March 17, where Ministers will discuss shared priorities to prepare for future emergencies, including extreme weather events caused by climate change, while ensuring strong response and recovery capabilities.

Quote

“The Government of Canada continues to stand with those individuals, families, and communities in British Columbia impacted by November’s flooding as they recover and rebuild. Over the past two days, as part of this commitment, I visited residential areas, homes and businesses of those affected, to hear their stories and to see the damage that remains first-hand. I have reaffirmed our support to help them get through this, every step of the way.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Quick Facts

  • Emergency management responsibility in Canada is shared by federal, provincial and territorial governments and their partners, including First Nations and treaty nations.
  • The Committee is building on the work of local emergency management and taking action on several fronts, including emergency housing and support for farmers, to make sure affected communities recover from this disaster as quickly as possible.
  • The Government of British Columbia will leverage the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), administered by Public Safety Canada, which provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments, at their request, when response and recovery costs following an extreme weather event exceed what individual provinces or territories can reasonably be expected to bear on their own. The federal government has provisioned for $5 billion in 2021-22 for its share of recovery costs under the DFAA as well as other costs related to the recent extreme weather events in British Columbia.
  • Following last year’s devastating floods, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia committed to matching donations made to the Red Cross. Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, the Red Cross received more than $30 million in donations for a total of more than $90 million raised.

Associated Links

  • Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements
  • Federal and British Columbia ministers and First Nations hold meeting on disaster recovery and climate resilience

SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

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