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November 14th 2023
A year before First Nations experienced their worst wildfire season, Ottawa’s auditor general was calling on the federal government to do more to support emergency management for Indigenous communities.
An audit, released by the auditor general in 2022, criticized Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for “not adequately” supporting First Nations, by spending 3.5 times more on emergency response than on preparation and mitigation.
Similar concerns had been brought to the government’s attention in the past decade. The 2022 report noted the department had failed to address problems with emergency preparedness and mitigation identified in a 2013 auditor general report.
The department had not clearly identified all First Nations communities at risk and was swamped by a backlog of climate-mitigation projects, the report stated. Earlier recommendations that First Nations receive help in advancing mitigation projects and funding more dedicated emergency management co-ordinator positions had also not been met.