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Fire Prevention of First Nations

May 2, 2017
  • At least 173 people have died in house fires in First Nations communities since the government stopped tracking the death toll in 2010. At least 25 of the dead are children. (Toronto Star, May 2, 2017)
  • Only two of 18 northern communities the Ontario Firefighters association visited last winter had any organized fire protection services at all.

The Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada has recommended that:

  • The federal government create a fire marshal’s office
  • Enact new legislation that applies the national fire and building codes on reserves, which currently do not apply

The words “fire protection,” “fire prevention,” and “fire services” do not appear once in the 2017 federal budget, which does include $3.4 billion in new spending for indigenous people. Despite “unprecedented” spending for indigenous issues, the new federal budget doesn’t promise a penny more for fire prevention in First Nations communities.

May 2017 – Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations, Carolyn Bennett committed to the creation of a First Nation Fire Marshal and the improvement of tracking fire data on- reserve. This commitment came after Budget 2017 made no mention of funding designated for fire protection in First Nation communities.