Canada's Indigenous Services agency is failing
As climate disasters intensify, poor emergency management puts Indigenous peoples at higher risk
November 29, 2022
Earlier this week, Canada’s auditor general reported that Indigenous Services Canada, the federal department responsible for coordinating emergency management services to First Nations, failed to provide Indigenous communities with adequate resources to deal with climate disasters. According to the report, it’s likely that ISC is incurring “significant costs” to respond to climate emergencies that could have been mitigated or avoided.
The report details how various shortcomings in the department have led to underfunding and understaffing, ambiguity around jurisdictional responsibility, and a lack of disaster preparedness that puts First Nations communities at greater risk of harm from climate disasters. Notably, the audit found the department spent nearly 4 times more on emergency recovery than emergency preparedness: for every $1 invested in mitigation, $6 could be saved in emergency response and recovery costs.