The quiet cuts

Federal funding for emergency preparedness teams will be cut.

Federal funding for emergency preparedness teams will be cut.

A federal government cut is expected to hit the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team leading efforts at a collapsed mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. Urban search and rescue units across the country are facing smaller budgets as part of federal efforts to cut costs.

A federal government memo posted to the website of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs in April says Public Safety Canada is going to cut the program that helps fund the search and rescue teams. “Federal contributions for emergency preparedness projects under [the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program] will end in 2013 as will federal funding provided under JEPP for urban search and rescue and for critical infrastructure initiatives,” Gina Wilson, assistant deputy minister of regional operations at Public Safety Canada, wrote in the memo.

Senator Colin Kenny blasts the Harper government.

If the federal government does find a way to help in Elliot Lake, God bless it. Alternately, God may wish to damn the government for shutting down its contribution to a co-operative federal-provincial-territorial program meant to ensure that Canadians across the country have access to competent, timely assistance at times like this.

The Joint Emergency Preparedness Program was established in 1980 to create infrastructure and provide equipment for front-line emergency workers. The five HUSAR units, located in large cities across the country, are meant to ensure that help gets to communities like Elliot Lake in a hurry. The Canadian Emergency Management College in Ottawa offers invaluable classroom and field training to emergency workers. Federal funding is being withdrawn from all of them.

See previously: The quiet cuts