The federal government is adding almost C$1.4 billion to its disaster mitigation and adaptation fund this year to help communities across Canada facing climate change and environmental disasters.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said the funding will support community projects to address the risks of wildfires and floods, rehabilitate stormwater systems, and restore wetlands and shorelines, The Canadian Press reports.
In a release, Infrastructure Canada said the funding includes $670 million dedicated to small-scale projects between $1 and $20 million, with the rest allocated to large-scale projects above $20 million.
McKenna said at least 10% of the funding will go to Indigenous recipients. “Climate change is having a devastating impact on Indigenous communities and a disproportionate impact,” she told media Tuesday.
British Columbia’s government has said accommodations for wildfire evacuees are filling up as the flames and smoke from numerous blazes spread, forcing more people from their homes and contributing to an acrid haze that’s blanketing cities in neighbouring Alberta and beyond.
The disaster mitigation and adaptation fund started in 2018 as a 10-year, $2-billion program to help communities establish the infrastructure they need to better handle natural disasters including floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts, CP says.
The new $1.4-billion infusion will be spent over 12 years, the department says.
McKenna said dealing with climate change should be through the same approach that the government has been taking with COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to listen to science and scientists. We need to work with partners from municipalities to provinces to the private sector,” she says.
“We all need to work together because, really, we have no choice.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.