The federal government is being scrutinized by the auditor general for not doing enough to prepare First Nations Reserves for emergencies.
Michael Ferguson says not enough money has been earmarked for the country’s emergency management program on reserve.
Ferguson cites fires and floods as the main threats but also looked at preparations made after the H1N1 pandemic of a few years ago.
In particular, he notes “the safety and well-being of First Nations communities on reserve are being adversely affected in significant ways because of their vulnerability to emergencies.”
Ferguson also says some First Nations require long-term solutions to address their vulnerabilities to disasters.
But he also pointed out the Aboriginal Affairs department has only spent $4 million on prevention-based activities and the rest on response.
Aboriginal Affairs does not know if First Nations communities are receiving emergency services comparable to those available elsewhere in Canada.
Just days ago, Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt was in Winnipeg to announce changes were being made to the emergency disaster assistance program on reserves.
From now on, bands will only have to tap one source for funding and an additional $19 million is being pumped into the system.
Ottawa also will establish agreements with provinces and territories to ensure everyone is on the same page.