AMC: Provincial Cuts to Emergency Funding Ill-Advised

April 11, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is demanding the province rethink its recent budgetary cuts to emergency management funds in light of yesterday’s announcement by the federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Harji Sajjan. During a press conference, the minister cautioned Canadians about an increased risk of forest fires across the country. As climate change accelerates, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events present significant threats to First Nations across Manitoba.

“Emergency preparedness measures for First Nations in Manitoba already fall short of acceptable,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, “To cut emergency funding in half is an extremely dangerous and ill-advised decision that has serious implications for rural First Nations.” 

In Manitoba, 80 percent of First Nations are located in wildfire-prone areas. Last year, there were 93 evacuations in 82 First Nations nationwide. According to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), there were 70,824 evacuees from First Nations between 2013 and 2023, including 4,743 individuals on long-term evacuations lasting over three months.

The AMC stresses that the broad impact of these disasters, particularly felt by First Nations, necessitates their complete informed consent and involvement in all discussions and decisions concerning emergency preparedness and response management.

“In any case where First Nations’ rights are impacted – as they are in this case and many others – the impacted First Nations must be involved. This is not a matter of courtesy; this is quite literally the law as identified in the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The AMC stands ready to collaborate with all levels of government, emergency management partners, and member First Nations to mitigate risks and ensure the safety and resilience of our Nations.

“First Nations are living firsthand the impacts of climate change. We need the cooperation of all levels of government to work with First Nations Leadership here in Manitoba to ensure First Nations are protected during what is projected to be one of the worst wildfire seasons yet,” concluded Grand Chief Merrick.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.