Looking Ahead: Fairness in a changing climate
As the province responds to the increasing impacts of climate change, the experiences of evacuees must be at the centre of that work. Supporting evacuees in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and in the weeks that follow is critical to individual, family and community wellbeing. Putting people at the centre of emergency response means understanding and responding to their different and changing needs over time. From a fairness perspective this calls for government programs to be accessible, equitable and adaptive to our changing climate.
WHAT WE FOUND:
The province does not have a strategy to support people through long-term displacement and rebuilding. This leaves too many people behind, compounds trauma, and expands the long-term human and financial costs of extreme weather events. First Nations, local authorities and Métis communities have expertise and knowledge to lead emergency management in and for their communities.
ESS and DFA are not designed to – and do not – address the complexities of long-term, climate-related displacement. People need ESS supports beyond 72 hours at a time, and DFA should provide greater flexibility in assistance to reduce the likelihood of repeat events. Insurance has an important role in supporting people who have been displaced by disaster, but as the impacts of climate change increase, the affordability and availability of insurance may change. The ministry does not currently consider affordability in its assessment of whether insurance is reasonably and readily available for extreme weather events.
Evacuee experiences should be at the centre of modernizing emergency management. A person-centred approach means people would get information, assistance, and culturally appropriate supports to navigate the systems they need. Recovery support programs should help individual and community adaptation and resilience.