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Government of Canada launches targeted engagement on advancing a civilian response capacity in Canada

Press Release

From: Public Safety Canada

February 1, 2024

Communities across Canada are more and more often facing the realities of extreme weather events and natural disasters – like wildfires, flood and hurricanes. Large-scale emergencies, including non-weather related threats like pandemics, have devastating impacts on communities and can quickly overwhelm emergency response resources. The Government of Canada is committed to taking action to keep Canadians safe and improve our overall resiliency.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced the launch of targeted engagement with a broad range of emergency management partners and stakeholders to help inform options on what a pan-Canadian civilian response capacity model could look like in Canada. Key partners and stakeholders will include provinces and territories, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous leaders, voluntary and youth organizations, private sector, academia, and other key emergency management stakeholders.

Through this engagement, the government is looking to understand current capacities, gaps and limitations on key topics relating to emergency response and gather insights and views on ways to more efficiently leverage these capacities following large-scale emergency events in Canada. Engaging with partners and stakeholders across the country is critical to ensure views and expertise are reflective of the unique needs of each jurisdiction. Anyone working in the emergency management field in Canada can share their views online. Online submissions will be accepted until March 31, 2024.

Emergency management in Canada is a shared responsibility across all sectors of society. Together, we can help communities and Canadians recover more quickly after an emergency and continue providing critical support in times of need.


“The effects of climate change are having a significant impact across Canada and it’s necessary to explore options to bolster our national readiness posture in a collaborative way. The Government of Canada looks forward to working with partners and stakeholders in the coming weeks to better understand how we can collectively improve our approach to emergency management to effectively respond to emergencies across the country.”

– The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Quick facts

  • In addition to online submissions, the government will also seek the input of provinces and territories, Indigenous leadership, academia, and other key emergency management stakeholders through in-person and virtual roundtable discussions in the coming weeks.
  • In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if assistance is needed, the municipality requests it from the province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces and territories can request assistance from the federal government to help coordinate support when and where it’s needed.
  • In 2022, the Government of Canada established the Supporting a Humanitarian Workforce to Respond to COVID-19 and Other Large-Scale Emergencies (HWF) program to support both capacity building and domestic response resources to four of Canada’s top emergency management non-governmental organizations.
  • Since its inception, the Government of Canada has provided more than $166.9 million to the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, The Salvation Army, and SARVAC through the HWF program, that has allowed these organizations to develop capacity to mobilize more quickly in response to past events and deploy critical on-the-ground support to provincial, territorial and local governments.
  • While the HWF program represents an important step in building readiness and response capacity of NGOs, the Government of Canada recognizes that a sustainable whole-of-society, pan-Canadian approach for civilian response capacity is needed to keep pace with the evolving threat environment and help strengthen Canada’s preparedness for future all-hazard emergency events.
  • The HWF program and engagement on advancing a pan-Canadian civilian response capacity supports the priorities of the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada which seek to strengthen the resilience of Canadian society by 2030. This investment contributes to enhancing disaster response capacity and coordination and fosters the development of new capabilities.
  • Additionally, these initiatives support the National Adaptation Strategy’s objectives to build resilient communities and to reduce the risk of climate-related disasters.

Associated links


Joanna Kanga
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada


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