Government of Canada to assist British Columbia with response to extreme flooding

Press Release

From: Public Safety Canada

November 17, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, confirmed that the Government of Canada has approved a Request for Federal Assistance from the Province of British Columbia to help with their response to extreme flooding in the province.

The impact of the flooding is widespread, including in multiple Indigenous communities, and the emergency response is complex, requiring cooperation across all layers of government.

In recognition of the significant, immediate challenges in the southwest and central areas of the province resulting in major impacts on individuals, communities and critical infrastructure, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will provide both air assets and a land component to assist with the whole-of-government relief effort. Tasks for the CAF include, but are not limited to:

  • Air support to assist evacuations, as well as general assistance to vulnerable and stranded people;
  • Air support to support critical provincial supply chains;
  • Reconnaissance and investigation of flooding impacts in support of relief effort planning; and.
  • Assistance with flood mitigation efforts, including protection of critical infrastructure, access roads, and properties, as designated by local authorities.

As part of the whole-of-government response, the CAF is immediately deploying additional air assets with a view to be positioned to deliver effect within 24 hours. The CAF will be deploying an Immediate Response Unit reconnaissance team today. The CAF will provide logistical planning expertise to support analysis of the supply chain, including fuel, communications, and other strategic resources, as well as liaison officers to the Provincial Emergency Management Office.

The federal government, through the Government Operations Centre, continues to engage and work with provincial partners to coordinate the federal response effort to ensure that the province has the resources it needs to support the people of British Columbia.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada will always be there to help Canadians in need. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the flooding in British Columbia. I’d like to thank all of the first responders, search and rescue volunteers, and emergency managers working hard to keep people safe during this time.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness

“We must meet this unprecedented situation in British Columbia with resolve and assistance. Canadian Armed Forces members are on the ground in British Columbia helping out and we are sending more members to assist the communities that are most impacted, and support repair and mitigation efforts. We will be there for British Columbians to keep them safe and to recover from this tragedy.”

– The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • Operation LENTUS 21-06 is the sixth mission of the Canadian Armed Forces this year to assist provincial or territorial partners with the mitigation of natural disasters.
  • The Government Operations Centre is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada’s response to emergency events.
  • In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.
  • A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and federal government help is needed to effectively support the impacted region.
  • Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.

Associated links

Contacts

James Cudmore
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
613-407-8515
james.cudmore@ps-sp.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
psmediarelations@ps-sp.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
613-904-3333
mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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