Keeping Canadians safe from wildfires

Keeping Canadians safe from wildfires
Keeping Canadians safe from wildfires

Last year, Canada’s wildfire season was the most destructive on record. Communities across the country thousands were devastated, with Canadians being forced to flee their homes and leave everything behind. But first responders answered the call. They selflessly risked their lives to save others, and thousands of volunteers across Canada stepped up to provide help to their neighbors and communities in need.

Budget 2024 is about restoring fairness for every generation. That means taking climate action, protecting our communities, supporting our brave firefighters, and ensuring future generations don’t foot the bill for the costs of inaction.

Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, highlighted measures included in Budget 2024 to support volunteer firefighters, bolster Canada’s wildfire preparedness, and help Indigenous communities respond to emergencies.

Here’s what we’re doing:

  • Doubling the Volunteer Firefighter and Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Creditswhich will increase from $3,000 to $6,000 for 2024, saving volunteer firefighters up to an additional $450 per year.
  • Investing $800,000 more to expand firefighting capacity. This funding will help the International Association of Fire Fighters expand their training program for structural firefighters to respond to wildfires that impact urban areas. This builds on existing funding to support the federal government’s commitment to train 1,000 wildland firefighters.

Indigenous communities are often located in remote areas, where there is a higher risk of natural disasters. Budget 2024 announces investments in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to save lives and better protect communities against wildfires. We are:

  • Investing over $145 million to help First Nations communities prepare for emergencies. This includes developing community-specific plans to respond to natural disasters and builds on the $260 million announced in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement to support wildfire response activities on First Nations communities.
  • Providing $20.9 million for fire prevention in First Nations communities. This funding will support the First Nations Fire Protection Strategy, 2023 to 2028 by distributing fire alarms and fire extinguishers to home and community facilities on reserve, as well as assisting fire-related education programs.
  • Committing $9 million to help support Indigenous governments directly affected by the 2023 wildfires in the Northwest Territories. This funding will help Indigenous partners reimburse expenses incurred when they were providing cultural supports to community members during the 2023 wildfire season.

The investments highlighted today will be critical in building a safer, more resilient Canada. We’re taking bold climate action, protecting our communities, and making sure that Canada’s volunteer firefighters get the support they deserve – and these are just some of the things included in Budget 2024. Alongside these measures, we’re growing our economy, building more homes, investing in health care, and creating good-paying jobs so that every generation can get ahead.

Quotes

“Climate change is here, and we’re making sure our communities are ready. With Budget 2024, we’re investing in emergency management, supporting our dedicated volunteer firefighters, and making sure Canadians have what they need to stay safe. We will remain resilient; we will stay united; and we will get through this, together.”

“Last year was the worst wildfire season in Canadian history, and climate change is only causing more frequent and more extreme wildfires. That’s why in Budget 2024, we are investing in the first responders who keep us safe, and in the tools communities, including Indigenous communities, need to protect Canadians from wildfires.”

“As we prepare for another potentially severe wildfire season, it’s more important than ever that we support those who are on the frontlines. With the increased tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers, and the commitment to increase firefighting capacity and support at-risk Indigenous communities, we are adapting to the new reality of climate change.”

Quick Facts

  • Canada’s 2023 wildfire season resulted in over 235,000 people being evacuated from their homes. By September 2023, 297 evacuation orders had been issued nationally. This included those for more than 95 Indigenous communities – more than the four previous years combined.
  • On May 9, 2024, Government of Canada officials provided an updated seasonal outlook for the 2024 wildfire season. Higher-than-normal temperatures are expected nationwide for the spring and summer, setting the stage for the possibility of another active wildfire season and other incidents of extreme weather. The warmer than normal temperatures last winter and drier than usual conditions may result in some regions – particularly British Columbia and the Prairies – experiencing early, above normal, fire activity.
  • Since 2019, the Government of Canada has invested over $800 million for initiatives that support wildland fire response, prevention, and mitigation.
  • The Government of Canada’s Budget 2024 was tabled in the House of Commons by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on April 16, 2024.

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