Funding cuts hurt RDN emergency prep

Mandate of federal program has been met, says official

In the event of an emergency, you want your local government to be ready to spring into action.

That jump could soon prove more difficult to do in the Regional District of Nanaimo however, said RDN emergency co-ordinator Jani Drew.

Drew’s comments came in light of the board of Public Safety Canada’s recent decision to eliminate the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP), which she said will significantly affect the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Emergency Preparedness Program, both in terms of training staff and in purchasing key equipment and supplies.

“The RDN applies for JEPP funding annually to assist with purchasing emergency operations centre equipment, and with conducting training and emergency preparedness exercises,” Drew said. “The RDN will need to look at other options for funding these important purchases when the JEPP program is eliminated in 2013.”

Public Safety Canada established the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program in October of 1980 as a cost-sharing arrangement with the provinces and territories.

The funding offered through the program encouraged governments to undertake emergency preparedness projects. As part of its Economic Action Plan 2012, the federal government ended the program to help reduce the deficit.

According to Public Safety Canada, “The original objectives of this program, namely, to enhance local emergency preparedness and response capacity, have been met.”

The RDN Emergency Program has used JEPP funding annually to assist with the purchase of emergency supplies and equipment, and to provide training opportunities to enhance the RDN’s capacity for response and recovery in the event of a major emergency.

Since 2004, the RDN’s 50 per cent funding reimbursement from JEPP totaled approximately $49,000.

In announcing the cuts in April, Gina Wilson, assistant deputy minister for Emergency Management and Regional Operations said the changes are expected to result in a leaner, more efficient and effective federal government engaged in the delivery of its core business areas

“Public Safety Canada remains committed to ensuring a safe and resilient Canada and to the security of Canadians and their communities,” she added.

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue spokespersn Ken Neden said the cut shouldn’t impact his group.

 

“We never got a JEPP grant,” he said. “They were harder to get. We applied a couple of times but didn’t meet the qualifications. The situation had to have a more far reaching impact than just local. Provincial organizations would feel it more.”

 

 

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